What is Citizen Advocacy?
Citizen Advocacy program builds long lasting relationships between volunteers (Citizen Advocates) and people with intellectual disabilities (Participant). Being a Citizen Advocate for someone enriches their life in ways that most of us take for granted – the simple gesture of a phone call, an outing or visit and cup of tea, creates a world of inclusion, acceptance and hope to the participant. The impact is truly life changing to both involved.
The level of citizen advocacy varies in each relationship depending on the participant’s needs, their current situation and goals/dreams for the future. The Citizen Advocate’s availability and capabilities are also taken in to account, and the match created will be based on these factors.
Every one of us has the potential to make a difference to someone’s life. No particular skills are necessary to become a Citizen Advocate, just the desire and commitment to make a positive difference to the life of a person who is isolated or at risk.
Advocates come from a variety of backgrounds and no prior experience with people with disability is required. Advocates are provided with orientation/training, based on advocacy principles, and are provided with on-going support.
Why do we need Citizen Advocacy?
People with intellectual disabilities are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups within our community. They have often experienced rejection and isolation from a young age and have had no one in their lives except those who are paid to be there. They can become disconnected and isolated from the community. This alone has a huge impact on their quality of life and Citizen Advocacy is there to prevent this from happening.
Vulnerable persons with a disability who are without family or friends are especially in need of at least one loyal long-term ally who represents their interests as if they were their own. Citizen Advocacy is simple, it nurtures a freely given one-to one relationship which promotes acceptance, security and justice for the participant. It really does change their life and it will change yours too.
If you are interested in volunteering, please visit our Volunteer page for more information
See how Citizen Advocacy changes lives