The purpose of the Epilepsy Foundation’s Community Action Network (CAN) is to expand the reach of the Epilepsy Foundation by providing assistance to groups of volunteers who want to develop an activity related to epilepsy that raises funds for the Epilepsy Foundation, increases advocacy, brings services, or raises awareness about epilepsy within their own community.
The Community Action Network (CAN) functions under four specific goals established by the Epilepsy Foundation known as ASAP. ASAP, which stands for Acceptance, Support, Advancement, and Participation, was selected to illustrate that people living with epilepsy can no longer wait to receive the services and new treatments they need. Each CAN group will work under the same framework so a unified message can be spread across the country. For far too long, a cohesive, consistent story has not been heard. Speaking with one voice will transform our ability to make an impact, change the perception of epilepsy, provide valuable information to the community, and fund research that will lead to new treatments and eventually a cure.
You can lead your own group or join an existing group in your area. Some groups will focus on a few activities while others will take on many of them. Together, we CAN create meaningful change throughout the country, speak with a unified message, and build a brighter future for those living with epilepsy.
If you are a committed person who wants to join us in creating change, please contact Jon Scheinman at firstname.lastname@example.org or your local Epilepsy Foundation Executive Director and let them know you are ready to make a difference.
The CAN activities for each ASAP section are:
Acceptance - To increase acceptance through awareness and education
The goal of increasing acceptance of those with epilepsy is carried out through awareness activities and by uncovering opportunities for Foundation employees to offer educational resources to professionals and the general public. Not all acts of awareness need to be large in scale or scope. If you, your child, friend, or family member is living with epilepsy, your story and experiences are powerful vehicles for awareness.
International Epilepsy Awareness Day
Second Monday of every February
The official day is the second Monday of February each year. This day for epilepsy is a major step in improving epilepsy awareness in every region of the world and also highlights the urgent need for increased research into epilepsy. Click here to learn more.
Epilepsy Awareness Day
Yearly on March 26th
An international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy. People in countries around the world are invited to wear purple and host purple themed events in support of epilepsy awareness each year on March 26th.
National Epilepsy Awareness Month
Yearly during the month of November
The month of November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. It is a great time to spread awareness, share information, or hold an event. Click here to learn more.
Health fairs are a wonderful source of information in the community. Often, a health fair will be organized in your area where you can set up a table to educate about epilepsy, what it is and what it isn’t, what types of seizures exist, and what people should do if they are in the presence of someone having a seizure.
Purple Pumpkin Project
People all over the country host Purple Pumpkin Parties in the fall to raise awareness about epilepsy and support the Epilepsy Foundation’s mission. Click here to learn more about the Purple Pumpkin Project.
Sack Seizures is an initiative to raise awareness and bring epilepsy education to the football community.
The Epilepsy Foundation offers a variety of educational training programs to help everyone from school nurses to child care personnel and first responders. You can promote the Foundation’s educational programs and services in your community. They are taught in person by a qualified Foundation representative and many are also available online. Click here for more details about the various programs the Foundation offers.
SUPPORT - To Inform the community about the Support the Epilepsy Foundation provides through programs and services
The goal of informing the community about support is focused on expanding the reach of the Foundation to provide more programs and services to individuals and families. There are many people in our communities who are underserved simply because they don’t know the Epilepsy Foundation is operating in their neighborhood. Groups that complete activities around telling people about support help the Foundation to find those in need. Make sure to check with your local Foundation to see what programs and services they are providing.
Ideas for how to inform the community about programs and services
Place materials in a library, local school, or doctor’s office. Permission should always be granted before placing any Epilepsy Foundation materials in a public or retail space.
Encourage friends, family, and others in their community to follow the Foundation on Facebook and Twitter. Social networking is a powerful outreach tool and a fantastic way to connect people with the Foundation.
Oranize an information table at a fundraising event. While holding an event from the Advancement (fundraising) initiatives, have a table dedicated to giving out materials describing the services that the Foundation provides.
Set up a table at a community event. Find an event in your community that you think would be suitable for an informational table. Some good suggestions are sidewalk sales, farmers’ markets, holiday celebrations, and local fairs.
ADVANCEMENT - To accelerate the advancement of the Epilepsy Foundation’s mission through fundraising
Fundraising is a necessity to expand our ability to help more people through programs and services and through investing in research and new treatments.
Walk for Epilepsy
Every year, epilepsy walks are held around the country. Most local Foundations hold at least one walk in their area. Community Action Network groups can participate in several different ways including joining a walk team, creating their own walk team, holding a virtual walk, or holding their own walk. Click here to read more about the National Walk.
Athletes vs Epilepsy
Athletes vs Epilepsy is a nationwide program that brings epilepsy and seizure awareness to different sports through participation by athletes of all ages and skill levels, as well as their supportive friends, family, and fans. Participate in Signature Events, choose your own event, or create a Do It Yourself event. Click here to read more about Athletes vs Epilepsy.
Lemonade for Livy
Lemonade for Livy raises epilepsy awareness and supports the Epilepsy Foundation’s work to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives through lemonade stands and parties. The campaign brings people from around the world together to give hope to those with epilepsy and their families. The event occurs yearly and continues to grow in size and impact. Click here to read more about Lemonade for Livy.
Talk About It! @ Dinner
Ask your family, friends, and neighbors to come over for dinner and share your story about epilepsy. Consider suggesting that instead of bringing wine or food, they could bring a donation of any size to help support the Epilepsy Foundation. During Epilepsy Awareness month, people, across the country will take part in sharing their story and a meal with those in their community.
PARTICIPATION - To increase participation through public policy advocacy and Epilepsy Foundation sponsored events
Engaging in public policy advocacy will strengthen the Foundation’s position with legislative activities. Also, supporting Foundation events and bringing people together at social gatherings helps people feel involved in the mission as well as appreciated for what they are doing throughout the year
Advocate for Foundation Supported Public Policy Priorities
Ask your state and federal elected officials to support the epilepsy community’s public policy priorities by sharing your story. Click here to learn more about the Foundation's Public Poicy Priories.
Attending a pipeline conference or symposium is one of the best ways to learn about research on new epilepsy treatments, therapeutic innovations, and product developments. Click here to read more about the 2016 Epilepsy Pipeline conference.
Support major Foundation events in your community. It takes a team of committed and dedicated people to hold a big activity. Local leaders need people they can lean on to help plan and carry out tasks leading up to and on the day of the event. You are a direct connection to your community and can also help bring more people to the function.
Hold a social event that brings your CAN group together to have fun and to recognize the work they have completed. Members should also ask people from outside the group to attend to involve and engage the community.