Frontline Initiative State Chapter Development
State chapters are the heart of NADSP. Like many national organizations, the national level provides the guiding principles, the mission, and a structure for local organizations. Without this framework it would be difficult for state chapters to thrive. Yet without state chapters, NADSP would not reflect the values of many DSPs driving this grassroots organization. Local and state chapters inform the activities of the national organization, channel the voices of their DSP members, and drive the activities at the national level.
Each NADSP state chapter looks and acts differently. The unique identities of state chapters are defined by the specific needs of their local DSP communities. These diverse voices enrich the organization. At the same time, consistent goals strengthen NADSP’s mission.
When DSPs lobby their state representatives on workforce issues, is it more meaningful to be associated with a state and national organization? When NADSP works to influence national policy, is it necessary to have the numbers and voices of the DSP membership behind its statements? Experience tells us it is. The state chapters are the movement’s community roots and NADSP is its national voice: These two aspects of NADSP rely on each other and thrive together.
In this issue, you will find strategies to build and grow a state chapter. You will hear from one state chapter that is new and another that has been in existence for many years. There is much to be learned. Developing a state chapter is not quick or easy but it is worth the time and effort. It is the future of the DSP workforce. It is the voice of DSPs across the country and it reflects the commitment of DSPs to the work they do and the lives of the people they support.
If you have thought about gathering with other DSPs and people interested in DSP workforce issues, now is the time. As Margaret Meade said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” DSPs, speaking with a unified voice and acting both locally and nationally, can make a difference. Hopefully, this issue will give you the encouragement and tools to take those first steps. Good Luck!