While corporate and organizational partnerships provide opportunities for outreach, you can also be successful at reaching families by distributing materials at community events with large number of eligible families.
Attending both traditional and non-traditional community events that attract parents, grandparents and other guardians who make health care decisions is an effective, low-cost way of getting the message out.
Examples of community events to attend include powwows, tribal council meetings, tribal community college events, parent nights and other school-related events, job fairs, health fairs, sporting events, high school basketball and football games, and camps. Following are suggestions for identifying and attending community events where you can reach out to potential community partners and conduct outreach:
• Make sure it is appropriate to attend the event. Check with event organizers to make sure it is appropriate to attend the event. Events with a more ceremonial focus may not be the best place to speak to people about health care coverage. Typically, any event that includes "intertribal" in the title or description means that it is open to the public.
• Be clear about the purpose of the events and meetings you organize. If you are planning your own event, be upfront about the nature of the meeting. Do not bill the event as having a traditional Native focus when you will actually be discussing health care for children. Some non-Native people mistakenly use the term "powwow" to describe any type of gathering. Powwows are distinct Native celebrations, and the term powwow should never be co-opted to encourage turnout at an event. "Talking Circles" also have ceremonial protocols, and are therefore not likely to be an appropriate place for you to introduce your issue.
• Publicize your event in many locations. Publicize your event through newspapers, radio stations, schools, school bus stops, day care centers, libraries, grocery stores, general stores, gas stations, post offices and fast-food restaurants. Use the template fliers to advertise events and provide contact information for the local Medicaid or SCHIP office.
• Be prepared for atypical events. Native events are often atypical and draw large crowds. In many AI/AN communities, crowds gather to cut huge trees when they fall, people congregate to get hunting and fishing licenses, and day laborers assemble at "pick up" sites.
• Sponsor an aspect of an event. If possible, offer to sponsor a specific aspect of an event, such as providing food, transportation or entertainment. This will demonstrate a dedication to the community and show that you are willing to contribute. Typically, these types of sponsors are expected to disseminate information about their programs.