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Advocate for Relative Caregivers and Children at The GrandRally

Opportunity: The national GrandRally provides an excellent opportunity for grandfamilies and their supporters to raise awareness about the need for policies that support relative caregivers and the children in their care.  

Building on Past Success: Past GrandRallies created momentum for additional help for grandparents and other relatives raising children.

Advocacy Focus: This year's GrandRally will focus on the important role of Social Security in supporting grandparents and other relatives raising children, preventing cuts to critical supports, improving data and services for grandfamilies.

How Can I Help?: Meet with your congressperson while you’re here at the GrandRally!

Why? This a fantastic opportunity to;

SHARE: Tell your Congressmen(women) about your personal experience– after all, you’re the expert!

EDUCATE: lawmakers about programs and services which assist grandparents and other relatives raising children (we will provide you with additional information to assist you in discussing this topic).

RECOMMEND: improvements to current policies to provide increased support for these children and families (we will provide you with additional information to assist you in discussing this topic).


GrandRally Legislative Visits Overview

After the rally, participants are encouraged to visit with their Senators and Representatives to speak about the needs of children and grandfamilies. 

* Senate Visits:

State Contacts will schedule visits with Senators for all GrandRally attendees. Let your State Contact know that you would like to attend.

To identify your State Contact and get informationa about your state's Senate meetings, visit the State Contacts page.

* House Visits:

GrandRally attendees should schedule their own meetings with their district's Representative. For more information on the process of scheduling a meeting, download our “Meeting With Your Members of Congress” packet.

You can also review slides from out August 29 webinar that explain the process of scheduling and conducting meetings with members of Congress

* Timing:

Please call as soon as possible to schedule your visit, ideally before September 7th. If possible, schedule your appointment between the hours of 2:30pm and 5:00pm on Thursday, September 15th.  

How to Schedule a Visit with Your Member of Congress

* Step 1: Identify Your Member of Congress:

     1. Visit

     2. Enter your zip code in the “Find your Lawmakers” box

     3. View names and contact information for your Members of Congress

     4. Be sure to visit your member’s webpage for an update on issues he/she is working on when planning your visit.

Step 2: Make an Appointment:

      1. Call the number for the Washington office of your member, listed at

      2. Once connected, share your name with the staffer and ask to speak with the scheduler to make a scheduling request with your Member of Congress.

Step 3: Speaking to the Scheduler:

       1. If this is the first time you call your Senator to arrange an appointment, don't be nervous. It is the scheduler's job to assist constituents.

      2. If you can’t get an appointment for Hill Day, schedule an appointment in your home state when you return. Be persistent!

Meetings with Staff Are Good Too!

If you cannot see the Senator; ask to meet with the staff person who handles children’s or older adult issues in the office. Staff members play a very important role in identifying and following policy issues for Members of Congress.


Worried About What To Say? No Problem. We Will Train You!

To prepare for your hill visits with members of Congress, there will be two opportunities to attend an advocacy training. (These two trainings sessions will be identical, so feel free to pick the training that is at the time most convenient for you. During the registration process, it will prompt you to select which training session you prefer to attend)  

* What is a typical training like?

Caregivers and advocates will learn more about policy issues affecting grandparents and other relatives raising children, find out how to effectively educate members of Congress, and receive materials to help prepare them and feel comfortable for their visits with Senators and Representatives the day of the rally.

* When will the trainings take place? 

Advocacy Training #1: 09/14/2011 4:00– 5:30pm. Location: Hilton Hotel, 8727 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

Advocacy Training #2: 09/15/2011 10:00- 11:30am. Location: Children's Defense Fund, 15 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

How Can I Help If I Can't Attend the GrandRally?

You can still play an important role, even if you can't attend the GrandRally in person.

* Schedule a visit with your member’s District Office, Aug.-Sept.

Visit your policymaker close to home in their districe office. Our tips and suggestions still apply.

* Coordinate activities in your state to Celebrate, Aug.-Sept.

To bring attention to the needs of children and grandfamilies nationwide, organize activities in your home state. Show your support by asking folks in your area to send emails to your legislators at the state and national level or write op-eds for your local paper. 

* If you missed the National Call-In Day webinar shown on September 12th at 2 pm, you can view a slideshow containing the information presented in the webinar.

* Join us in our National Call-In Day, September 15, 2011. You can help the day of the GrandRally by calling your Members of Congress and expressing your support for the many grandparents and other relatives raising children who have gathered on Capitol Hill. This is an exciting opportunity to make your voice heard on Capitol Hill and speak directly to your Members of Congress and key Congressional staff about public policies that are important to grandfamilies. To participate, dial 1-800-928-8084 and follow these easy step-by-step directions to make a difference for grandfamilies.


Navigating Capitol Hill

The GrandRally will involve lots of walking activities. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

Please give yourself adequate time to get from office to office, particularly if you are going from a Senate office to a House office since the offices are several blocks away and will take approximately 30 minutes.  Moving from an office on the same side of Congress will take approximately 15 minutes.

 * Traveling Within DC

All GrandRally activities are metro accessible. Please review a map of the metro system before you arrive and review the locations of these events to best prepare for your trip.

Taxi services are readily available in Washington, DC. Taxis operate on a meter system. Most rides within the District are between $5.00 - $14.00. For more information, call the DC Taxicab Commission or (202) 645-6005.

    1. Advocacy Training and Celebration Dinner

The Hilton Hotel is located a few blocks from the Silver Spring stop on the Red Line. The hotel provides a small van for those with mobility issues; space is limited. If you require this services, please email as soon as possible.

    2. GrandRally

The GrandRally will take place a few blocks walk from the union station stop on the Red Line.