One thing I learned during my time in DC is that, for as much crap and red tape as there is, A LOT of individual people just want to help - especially the more local - or specific - you get.
As I'm putting together the resource page for the site, I'm going through things and wanted to mention that each state has an office for developmental disabilities (it looks like some are all disabilities, but many are just for developmental disabilities).
This may be well known to many, but I actually wasn't aware of separate office for developmental disabilities. Why do I bring this up? Circling back to what I initially said, my time working in most levels of government taught me that most people do want to help but other things tend to get in the way... like that red tape and... overwhelm. I've found that the more specialized, local, or niche you can get, it usually leads to more personalized and compassionate help.
A recent example: when I was getting my haircut recently, my stylist mentioned that she needed to get her passport renewed - QUICKLY - and I told her to contact the local (district) office for her Member of Congress, and ask for help. Expediting passports for constituents is something they routinely do, but you have to know to ask. It's that way with a lot of stuff... unfortunately.
Back to this. When I see this list, I don't see one contact... I see a starting point. Let me give an example of what I may do...
I may look up the individual person at that office and then start looking for their assistant's contact information - or someone else who isn't routinely fielding calls as the primary contact. Same with email addresses. Formatting is usually the same. If you have one person's email address, then you can usually guess anyone else's if you have their name. Sooooo maybe I find an assistant's name in a press release and then guess the email address and reach out for help. When I've done this, I've found that I'm often routed to someone/somewhere else entirely anyway, and I was able to get around waiting for that same answer from the main contact.
To be clear, um, I'm not advocating for harassment or anything... just some good ol' internet research combined with pattern recognition.
Also, if you need help with this, please reach out. I realize this isn't like "oh, just do this!"... this is a lot of work, too and there's absolutely no shame in not having the capacity for this right now. I love doing investigative work and have no problem getting on the phone for someone else - it's advocating for myself that's the issue.
Trying to keep this brief so until next time....