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Why Invest Common Sense, Passion, and Persistence in 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?

North Platte Giving Day — May 3rd, 2016

Givingday-logoNorth Platte Giving Day is a 24-hour online fundraising event on May 3 during which people can help their favorite community causes in North Platte and Lincoln County, Nebraska. It is a day for charitable people to help provide needed funding for local nonprofits.

Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation is partnering with nonprofits to give donors from the North Platte area and all across America and the world a chance to give funds for local needs.

Why You Should Never Use The Term ‘The Mentally Ill’


Why You Should Never Use The Term ‘The Mentally Ill’

By Jeff Grabmeier January 26, 2016

Even subtle differences in how you refer to people with mental illness can affect levels of tolerance, a new study has found.

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers found that participants showed less tolerance toward people who were referred to as “the mentally ill” when compared to those referred to as “people with mental illness.”

For example, participants were more likely to agree with the statement “the mentally ill should be isolated from the community” than the almost identical statement “people with mental illnesses should be isolated from the community.”

These results were found among college students and non-student adults – and even professional counselors who took part in the study.

The findings suggest that language choice should not be viewed just as an issue of “political correctness,” said Darcy Haag Granello, co-author of the study and professor of educational studies at The Ohio State University.

“This isn’t just about saying the right thing for appearances,” she said. “The language we use has real effects on our levels of tolerance for people with mental illness.”

Granello conducted the study with Todd Gibbs, a graduate student in educational studies at Ohio State. Their results appear in the January 2016 issue of The Journal of Counseling and Development.

Continue reading Why You Should Never Use The Term ‘The Mentally Ill’

Advocates lend a helping hand, caring heart

By Ralph Chapoco | Posted: Saturday, November 28, 2015 3:00 am

Everyone needs an advocate — people who will provide support in the challenging moments and celebrate during the joyful ones. This is especially true for the most vulnerable in society — those with special needs.

Fortunately, North Platte Citizen Advocacy has been providing advocates for people with developmental disabilities for 20 years. Volunteers assist with conflicts in their lives or simply spend time with them when they need a companion.

“The person who began this organization realized people with developmental disabilities are devalued in our culture, and we needed to find ways to bring them into the main flow of life,” coordinator Don Kurre said.

The process begins with a referral. Anyone, be it the individual, loved one or concerned citizen, can contact the office to discuss the issue. Kurre will interview the individual to determine if he or she is a good match for the program.

He creates a profile of the person and begins recruiting potential advocates to pair with the protégé, oftentimes using mutual interests as a guide to find the best match.

“For example, if someone is interested in writing, then I would also find someone who likes to write so they have something in common,” Kurre said.
After a match is found, Kurre becomes a bystander and allows the advocate and the protégé to establish the guidelines in the relationship.

The advocate represents the protégé when dealing with potential conflicts. Suppose that a furnace breaks and needs to be fixed. The advocate will accompany the person to the store and be there as store employees explain the process to repair the appliance. The advocate may ask questions for clarification and ensure the individual is understanding the process.

There is a range of possible scenarios. For some, an advocate could be present to play a game for a few hours, while others may have the medical power of attorney and make decisions for a person. It depends on the relationship.

Anyone can be an advocate, so long as someone displays a genuine interest in the other person’s well-being.

People interested in the service can call 532-0670.

Volunteers provide companionship and support for those with special needs or developmental disabilities

North Platte Telegraph.


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.

 “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.