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.