Shala Nicely, our 2013 keynote speaker, recently published a two-part blog about her experience at this year’s Conference. In these blogs she shared her thoughts on advocacy, a key theme of this year’s event. In one of the entries, Shala described her interaction with another attendee while participating in this year’s Virtual Camping outing, a popular evening activity held each year at the Conference:
She reminded me of the power of everyday advocacy. How advocacy is not always about doing big deeds. How it can be about reaching out to share something of yourself with one other person who is struggling. How it can be a simple act. How it can happen in the span of minutes. And how by helping another person, you almost always end up helping yourself as well.
Shala’s blog comes just in time with the launch of our new OCDvocate program, an initiative we introduced at the 22nd Annual OCD Conference in Boston this July. The program represents a collaboration between our office staff and our Foundation spokespeople — Jeff Bell, Liz McIngvale, Ro Vitale, and Ethan Smith.
A need for the OCDvocate program was quickly becoming apparent after reading and reviewing the increasing number of comments and requests we receive each week from members of the OCD and related disorders community wanting to know how they can help, whether that’s through volunteering, fundraising, participating in an IOCDF program like the 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walks, working with a local affiliate to raise awareness, blogging, or expressing their experiences through other creative means.
As the OCDvocate program grows and develops, we hope it will serve as a way to unite the many voices, interests, and talents of everyone interested in or already working hard to make a difference in their lives and those around them. Our spokespeople will soon begin reaching out to those interesting in identifying as OCDvocates with fun (and hopefully inspiring!) challenges, projects, campaigns, and more to engage with and participate in to help find unique ways to raise awareness of OCD and related disorders and fight the stigma surrounding mental health.
So now for the important part: How can you join, and how can you get involved?
If you’re ready to be an advocate, please visit our new OCDvocate page to learn more about the program, then take the official OCDvocate pledge to begin receiving emails from the IOCDF with updates related specifically to advocacy.
If you’re interested in visibly showing off your new OCDvocate status, you can also indicate when signing the pledge that you’d like our snazzy new #OCDvocate
wristbands with the official campaign hashtag and IOCDF logo. Just make sure to click “yes” on the pledge form where it asks if you would like to receive an OCDvocate wristband, and give us your correct mailing address so we can send you one!
We hope you’re as excited and inspired about becoming an OCDvocate as we are! Make sure to share any advocacy activities with us by tagging the IOCDF on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and by using the hashtag, #OCDvocate. Meanwhile, stay tuned for exciting updates and, on Friday, check back on the blog for a very special guest post from Conference blogger Alison Dotson about what advocacy means to her!