This guest blog is provided by the Hunger-Free Leadership Institute (H-FLI) through Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, an organization that raises awareness about hunger, gives people access to food, and advocates for systemic change to end hunger. H-FLI is an eight-month leadership development opportunity for emerging community leaders in grassroots advocacy and anti-hunger systems change.

Allenisha “Nisha” Byrd is a fellow in the H-FLI who lives in Portland, OR. Nisha is a single mother of three to Ray, age 12, Harmony, age 6, and Ezekiel, age 1.5 years. She enjoys spending as much time with her children as possible and her passion is to help make lasting systemic change.

I am going to share why I’m attending the conference in Washington, D.C., but I feel I need to go back a little and explain something before I continue. When the opportunity was put out there to apply for H-FLI, I was scared. But against everything.  I applied anyway. I was so excited to hear I got accepted.

Now being a part of H-FLI, it was expressed that some of our fellows had the chance to go to Washington, D.C., on behalf of H-FLI. I was considering it and again felt scared that I wouldn’t be accepted so I chose to put it off until the last minute. I was freaked out to hear the words, “Sorry you have not been chosen.” Once again I was given a nudge and again, against everything I know, I did it anyway. I was accepted!

I am overjoyed by my team’s decision. I will be forever grateful. Since being with H-FLI it has become easier to show who I am. I really love that about my H-FLI team!

I am very excited to be bringing my son, Ray, along with me on this trip. We have been through so much together and now, with him becoming a preteen, a lot has changed within him. I also chose to take him with me for a new learning experience. I am looking forward to some much needed mother-and-son bonding time. I am so proud to share my H-FLI experience with him.

I am most looking forward to attending the conference, learning more about anti- hunger policies, and visiting Capitol Hill to see where national policy is made. Often, it seems things are planned but never go very far. I would like to help in some of the planning, help make a decision that is going to make a change that is going to help. I know it doesn’t happen overnight. I know it takes time.

My biggest passion is anti-hunger policy for children. I want to help make a difference! I believe participating in the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference is the perfect place for me to start.

Join Nisha at #hungerpc18. Register today.