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 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.
This video was made for the Macon Bib citizen Advocacy office. These stories are typical of Citizen Advocacy work.
Will you join us at North Platte Citizen Advocacy?
Why Invest Common Sense, Passion, and Persistence in Citizen Advocacy?
· The images created about people with disabilities by the media, human service efforts, and in literature often create and support negative, stereotypical attitudes. From these attitudes comes our conscious or unconscious action or our choice not to act. Personal relationships between people allow us to reassess our stereotypes.
· Many people who are seen and treated as negatively different will need to be protected from conscious and unconscious prejudice and discrimination.
· Abuse and neglect exist in all human services effort. The involvement of ordinary citizens in relationships with people who have disabilities is one way to monitor and decrease this reality.
· The most predictable outcome of current human services spending and practice is organized segregation, which has kept people apart and unknown to one another. Personal relationships between people help to overcome fear, myth, and discomfort that comes from people not knowing one another. Continue reading Why Invest Common Sense, Passion, and Persistence in Citizen Advocacy?