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How to Craft Your Story to Make an Impact


Your story is just that—yours. Your experiences raising a child with a social, emotional, behavioral, or mental health challenge is very personal to you and your family. While it can be hard to share that story, it can make a huge impact on their lives and the lives of others.

Raising your child did not happen overnight. It most likely has been a long and winding process, filled with both pain and personal triumphs, to get your child the services they deserve. It might feel overwhelming to share that story because of how intricate and emotional it is for you and your family. Being prepared with a 1–2 minute version of your story can help to ease both your nerves and your emotions and help you to get the information you want out in an efficient and impactful way.

By crafting your story into an "elevator pitch," you will always have it in your back pocket to use when the opportunity strikes for you to advocate for your child and spread awareness of issues that impact them.

Ways to Use Your Story for Good:

When advocating for your child with:

  • Their school district

  • Their service providers

Meeting with your legislators to advocate for changes and protections that would benefit your family

To make other families like yours feel less alone

To bring awareness to issues that impact your family


Tips for Crafting Your Story:

  • Fill out our "Crafting Your Story – Elevator Pitch" worksheet below. This will help you to keep your thoughts organized.

  • Create a list of talking points you'd like to address.


  • Humanize your child/family. Start out with what is great about your family, and then go on to tell the story you want to tell.

  • Keep your story and the information you share concise and easy to understand. Avoid using jargon or acronyms.


  • Think of potential questions that may arise and plan out answers to them.

  • Once you know what you plan to say, practice it a few times, maybe in front of a mirror or record yourself on your cell phone and then when you are comfortable, with a trusted family member or friend.

Tips Specifically for Crafting Your Story for Your Legislators:

  • Plan for 10 minutes total of talking time, starting with who you are, why you are there, necessary information, and your ask.

  • Have a couple of plays in your playbook in case they don't respond as expected. For example, if you are focusing on the community benefits of opening a treatment facility in their district and they don't seem to be responding well, focus on the potential for new jobs and financial benefits.

  • Prepare a document to leave with them. It can include a small picture of your child or family, the issue you are discussing, your ask, and any relevant research. Be sure it includes your name and contact info. It should be no longer than 1 page.


Crafting Your Story – Elevator Pitch

What is an Elevator Pitch?

A short (1–2 minute) version of your story that you have memorized. Imagine you find yourself in an elevator with someone who you want to share your story with. Prepare your pitch so that you could say it in the short time you are in an elevator with them and still get your entire point across.

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