What is Citizen Advocacy?
Everyone needs others in order to live a life of quality. Too often a person who has a disability has limited resources of people who are in their lives on a voluntary basis. Family members may have died or abandoned the person. Some individuals may be unable to speak for themselves. They may need help retaining their rights or assuring a fair and honest outcome. People with disabilities are often 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. This is where the Citizen Advocacy program and community works with the proteges.
A Citizen Advocate is a volunteer member of the community who becomes involved in a personal, enduring relationship with an individual with a developmental disability. A Citizen Advocate takes on the interests of this individual as if they were they advocates' own.
The Person to Person program staff recruits advocates for people of all ages who have a developmental disability and some form of unmet need. A Citizen Advocate voluntarily chooses to become involved in the life of such a person. The Citizen Advocate may become a spokesperson, friend, ally, such as that of guardian, representative payee, or adoptive parent. The Citizen Advocate may agree to hold power of attorney for the person. By providing resources, advise and fellowship, Person to Person: Citizen Advocacy personnel support the advocate role.
Most importantly the community volunteer advocate is the proteges friend who shows and shares the world around them.