One to One: Citizen Advocacy
Who are we?
One to One: Citizen Advocacy, Inc. is a tax exempt, non-profit organization that has promoted the protection of, and advocacy for, individual people with disabilities of all ages, from newborn to elderly nursing home residents for over twenty years. Ten local people form the governing Board of Directors. Two full-time staff members recruit, match and offer support, when needed, to the more than 60 citizen advocates who voluntarily make a personal commitment to an individual person with a disability and continuously recruit protege's and advocates for new matches.
Citizen Advocacy...An Opportunity
Citizen Advocacy is an opportunity for local people to become directly and personally involved in the life of a person with a disability. Citizen Advocacy is built on individual, freely given personal relationships between a local citizen and a person with a disability who has often been excluded from typical community life.
Why is Citizen Advocacy Important?
Citizen Advocacy is one way to hold on to some of the values our community was built upon...and to reshape other values for the better. People with disabilities spend much of their lives separated from the larger community. This separation, or segregation, begins in childhood, and often intensifies through adult years. Much of this separation is a n unfortunate by-product of "providing appropriate services" by schools, rehabilitation agencies, and other organizations. The amount of money being spent on services continues to grow. The inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in typical community life does not grow.
Second-class status as citizens in the community continues to hinder people with disabilities. Many myths about people's lack of ability remain. Many of these myths are carried by the same professional people who are paid to help. This can be challenged on a person-by-person basis.
By helping to change this history of separation and segregation and by challenging this old myths and attitudes, we have the opportunity to put our own citizenship to use. The acts of speaking out, extending friendship, offering opportunities to participate in real community life and sticking together as neighbors, brings the best out in people through creating opportunities to promote a more just world, and to make a difference in someone's life.
What Do We Ask Advocates To Do?
We ask citizen advocates to take three steps in their individual relationships:
- get to know the person with a disability as a person, not a client,
- become acquainted with the person's interests, hopes and dreams,
- begin to work together toward those interests, hopes and dreams.
For more information contact:Rosanna Weissert, Coordinator One to One:
Citizen Advocacy Suite 302, 650 Corporation Street Beaver, PA 15009