The mission of Person to Person: Citizen Advocacy (PPCA) is to promote the protection of and advocacy for people who are devalued, usually due to a mental or physical disability. PPCA programs bring the needs of an individual at risk of social isolation to the attention of a citizen who, with support staff, will respond to those needs through a freely given advocacy relationship.
What is Citizen Advocacy?
Citizen Advocacy is a means to promote, protect, and defend the welfare and interest of those who have a developmental disability through one on one voluntary commitments. Too often we find that a person with a disability is on their own, with no family, only interacting with staff who are paid to be there, leaving them socially and culturally isolated. When this occurs, they need someone in their life who will view the world through their eyes and stand with them; that is when an advocate steps in. Citizen Advocates strive to represent the interest of a person as if they were the advocates own.
What We Do
The PPCA staff recruit’s community volunteer advocates for people of all ages who have a developmental disability and some form of unmet need. People with developmental disabilities live in every neighborhood. We are neighbors helping neighbors. Most importantly, the community volunteer advocate is the protégé’s friend who shows and shares the world around them. With support from the PPCA staff, matches between advocates and persons with developmental disabilities are created to often form long-lasting friendships that can make all the difference in the world to an individual.
Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger originated the concept of Citizen Advocacy in 1967. He believed that people who were more advantaged in life should advocate on behalf of those who were less advantaged, focusing mainly on those with a developmental disability. The first program modeled on his concept began in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1970. The ideas soon spread across this country, Canada, Great Britain and Australia.
A group of local residents in the Syracuse area began meeting in 1978 to establish a Citizen Advocacy office within Onondaga County. With the assistance of Syracuse University’s Center on Human Policy, a program began in August 1980. By late 1981, PPCA received it’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. In 1994 the organization expanded to include Cortland and Oswego counties. The Board of Directors have consistently included citizens from all sectors of the community. Historically, Person to Person: Citizen Advocacy has received financial support from a variety of sources, including public grants and individual donations.