Empower Your Voice: Join Montgomery County’s Advocacy Training Program

Montgomery County’s Community Action Board (CAB) is now accepting applications to participate in its free, eight-month Community Advocacy Institute (CAI) training program that teaches participants how to advocate for policy change effectively.

Applications are due Friday, Aug. 18.

The board governs the Community Action Agency (CAA), Montgomery County’s Federally designated anti-poverty agency. The CAA is part of the County’s Department of Health and Human Services.

The CAI is for Montgomery County residents with combined household incomes of $64,000 or less. Monthly sessions, which begin in October, include some in-person sessions and some virtual workshops. The program is offered in English and Spanish.

Since it started in 2016, there have been more than 125 graduates of the training program.  Many graduates now serve on County advisory groups and nonprofit boards.  Others are active in important advocacy efforts.

“So many policy decisions affect people who don’t have time or access to advocate effectively; the CAI helps give them a road map to being a part of the decision-making process,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “I strongly believe that effective policies can only be created and implemented if all community members have a seat at the table and an opportunity to participate.”

“Being a graduate of the CAI was and is a very good experience for anyone looking to advocate, uplift and improve our community here in Montgomery County,” said Albert Reed, a 2021 graduate of the program and a member of the County’s Commission on Children and Youth. “The connections, friendships and opportunities I made, and continue to make as a result of participating in CAI, are priceless. For me, this program is the gift that keeps on giving.”

Workshops cover a range of topics including working with elected officials, storytelling, research, letter writing, developing testimony and key advocacy issues. Participants must attend all workshops and complete an advocacy project to graduate.

More information and a link to the application are available on the Community Action Agency website. Additional information is available by calling 240-777-1697. TTY users can call Maryland Relay at 711.