What is Citizen Advocacy?
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.
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.
NORTH PLATTE CITIZEN ADVOCACY IN PRACTICE
Recruiting a Person with Disability: North Platte Citizen Advocacy, Inc. is
active and personal in its approach to recruiting people with disabilities. The
coordinator visits each person with a disability, gets to know his or her
personality, and makes a summary describing the person’s situations, interests,
Recruiting a Citizen Advocate: The coordinator identifies potential citizen
advocates on the basis of the situation, interest, and desires of the person with a
disability. The search for a citizen advocate begins with the personal networks of
the coordinator and the board. The coordinator approaches possible advocates
and clearly identifies the needs of the person with disability and specifically why
she/he is approaching the potential advocate.
Assisting People to learn About Citizen Advocacy: The coordinator
combines information and discussions specific to the particular people
considering a relationship with an orientation to citizen advocacy principle,
options for action, the role of the citizen advocacy program in supporting the
relationship, and the social situation of the people with disabilities.
Bringing people Together: The coordinator talks with both parties to clarify
expectations for the first meeting before and during the meeting. Once both
people have had the chance to get to know one another, the coordinator asks
for a “YES” from both parties and clarifies the initial focus of the relationship and
the responsibilities both people have to each other.
Keeping in Touch: The citizen advocacy program regularly contacts the
citizen advocate to find out what is happening in the relationship and to offer
support as needed. Occasionally the program remembers the citizen advocate
with a copy of an article of interest, or a personal note.
Supporting the Relationship: As requested, the coordinator offers
assistance, information, encouragement, and contacts. The citizen advocacy
program remembers and celebrates important events such as anniversaries,
milestones in a relationship, significant changes for each person arising from the
relationships who share similar concerns to meet together to clarify situations and
support action. The coordinator also offers information and encouragement to
people in relationships to join associates and organizations, which support
constructive action with people with disabilities.