When I applied to be a part of the MASFAP Leadership Development program I knew that a trip to Washington was part of the program. However, I did not realize how much this trip would change my passion for financial aid advocacy. The “Fab Five” (as Amy calls us) planned the trip for months. We did research on the legislators, we learned from each other, we met to discuss how the trip would go, and then it was here.
On Sunday, June 10, we boarded a plane, and we were off for a whirlwind 3 days. As the plane took off, the excitement set in… and so did the nerves. The first day, Sunday, was packed full with sightseeing (such as taking in the amazement of Arlington National Cemetery) and planning for the next day. Then, Monday was the day that we would put all of our hard work into action!
On Monday, as I got ready the nerves were in full swing, and it was amazing an adrenalin rush… and I did not even have to actually lead the meeting. We sat with Jordan Cox of Representative Hartzler office and he listened, he was engaged, asked questions, and paid attention to what our group had to say. It was an amazing experience and honestly in that moment I realized I could make a difference. Collectively we can make an even bigger difference.
On Tuesday, it was my turn to lead the last meeting of the day. We met with Emma Kay from Senator McCaskill’s office. I gave the presentation on the MASFAP legislative priorities, talked about all the items that we needed to touch on, and we walked out of the office with a new contact. We are making contacts in D.C. and it is exciting!
It was a remarkable three days that flew by and I learned so much. I learned I can make a difference, that our voices matter, and that all of us should #Fight4FinAid. I would recommend that if you have ever even had a tiny thought to sign up for MASFAP’s Leadership Development Program that you should do it! And you should leap at the chance. You will find your voice and place in the fight for your students.
Kayla Klein is MASFAP’s Early Awareness Committee Chair