The mission of Citizen Advocacy is to promote the protection of and advocacy for, people who are devalued, usually due to a mental and or physical disability.
Citizen Advocacy programs bring the needs and interests of an individual who is at risk of social isolation to the attention of a citizen who, with support of the Citizen Advocacy office, will respond to those needs through a freely given, usually long-lasting advocacy relationship.
“Citizen Advocacy occurs when an ordinary citizen voluntarily represents the interests and concerns of another person who has a developmental disability as if they were his or her own.”
Why Citizen Advocacy?
We know that all people benefit physically, spiritually and emotionally from meaningful, personal relationships.
Citizen Advocacy is important because people with disabilities sometimes experience abuse, neglect and are excluded from the circles of everyday life.
Why Build Social Capital? by Al Condeluci, Ph.D.
The notion of friendship is a critical one to the human condition. In fact, friendship is often a concept that is thought to be so simple that it hardly merits any deep study or discussion. All of us know that friendships are important, but rarely do we ever think we must work at the concept. However, the notion of friendship is a critical one to ponder, and in a way, we should not be pushed by sentiment to become more conscious of our need for friendship.
Sociologists refer to friendship as “Social Capital.” To the academics, the term “capital” is one that speaks to resources that can advance or promote a profit. They talk about physical capital which refers to things like land or machinery. Economic capital might refer to goods, or services that drive an economy. “Human capital” is often thought to be the people needed to do the work to create the goods or services.
Continue reading Why Build Social Capital?
We celebrated the opening of our new office on Thursday, May 18, 2017 with a Ribbon Cutting and Open House. We enjoyed the celebration and thank all those who came out to help us celebrate. Pictured from left to right are Anne Ireland, Vice Chairperson; Susan Morton, Board Member; Don Kurre, Coordinator; Rebecca Nordquist, Chairperson, and Liz Evans Board Member. Our new office is located at 315 N Dewey, Suite 211 North Platte, NE.
Citizen Advocacy initiates and supports one-to-one matches involving vulnerable people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with valued citizens who are unpaid and independent of the human service system. The matches are independent of the human service system and the Citizen Advocacy office. Once the match is made, the role of the office is to provide support.
The following vignette illustrates the process and impact of our work.
Wayne and Ken: Ken, disabled at birth was in the Beatrice home until the age for 42. He had limited speech and physical abilities and was eventually moved to a Group Home in North Platte. Wayne was recruited by the Citizen Advocacy office to advocate for Ken. Wayne began to form a personal connection with Ken and to become an important part of his life. As a Citizen Advocate, Wayne made a freely given, long-term commitment to protect Ken’s rights and interests as if they were his own. He has been a faithful and dedicated presence in Ken’s life for over twelve years and Ken is safer as a result. Wayne, eventually, was appointed Ken’s Guardian and has played a key role in making decisions on his behalf ever since. One of those important decisions involved moving Ken to a better place to live. Although it has taken some time, Ken has learned to trust and to rely on Wayne. As Wayne puts it, ‘the door has been opened.’ The relationship has also evolved and strengthened and continues today.
“I choose to identify with the poor. I choose to give my life for the hungry. I choose to give my life for those who have been left out of the sunlight of opportunity.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Chicago 1966
Holly Andrews is a member of the North Platte Citizen Advocacy’s Board. She has served on the board since September of 2014. Holly, who is on the staff at Mid-Plains Community College, is the owner of Nestle Andrews who was recently honored with the Spirit Award from the college for her contribution to campus life. Nestle Andrews is a source of comfort for those in need at Mid-Plains Community College. Nestle’s story was recently featured on NTV.
We want to thank all the people who supported and donated to North Platte Citizen Advocacy during the first North Platte Giving Day. We appreciate your contribution and support.
We believe every body matters — a whole lot!
In the simplest, most profound, most intimate terms, citizen advocacy is a principled engagement in another’s life.
As Wolf Woflensberg said, “What would keep people with disabilities safest? Answer: presence of ordinary citizens.” We thank your for joining us in keeping people with disabilities safe.