By Sarah Shinkman

Learning how to advocate is an important life skill at any age. Whether you are practicing personal, peer, or group advocacy, you have the power to influence decisions that may affect you and others. HFA鈥檚 final Young Adult Hangout of 2016 featured two community advocates and a health insurance overview by Erin Hamlin of Young Invincibles, a national organization focused on engaging young adults on issues including health care, higher education, and jobs. Here鈥檚 what our panelists shared about why they advocate and tips on how to get involved:

WilliamandLandonWilliam, Tennessee

鈥淚 advocate for the bleeding disorders community to provide help for our families, education for people who do not know about bleeding disorders, and for my son to have a better life while dealing with his severe hemophilia type A.

A tip on how to get involved in advocacy would be to contact your local chapter to see what they offer. My advocacy effort was kick-started by HFA and my chapter, the Tennessee Hemophilia and Bleeding Disorders Foundation. Another tip is not to be scared or nervous to get involved in advocacy. Let your voice and opinions be known on the issues that impact you. Talking or writing to your elected officials is just like talking to anyone else. Treat them with respect. Tell your story and explain the importance for their constituents.鈥

Eric, VirginiaEricB_WM

鈥淚 advocate for the community and myself because I know with the ever-changing world, being engaged and tuned-in is more important than ever. The excellent thing about getting involved as a young adult is that it is incredibly easy to do in this community.

Find a project or event (advocating on Capitol Hill, or writing a letter to your congressman) that interests you, take the plunge, sign up, and go!鈥

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