Citizen Advocacy initiates voluntary one-to-one relationships between a person with a disability and someone else from their community who has corresponding qualities and resources. This relationship is initiated by a Citizen Advocacy coordinator, and advocates are generally asked to build a personal relationship with their partner, and also to take action on their partner’s behalf.
These ‘matches’ are a means to promote, protect and defend the welfare and interests of, and justice for, people with mental, physical and/or emotional disabilities who are impaired in competence and either diminished in status or seriously physically and socially isolated.
Citizen Advocacy is distinctive in two fundamental ways:
It is completely based on the belief in the power and competence of the ordinary citizen. It depends on the ability of individuals to care and connect to others and to make lifelong commitments to step in and sometimes work extremely hard for and with someone they would not ordinarily meet;
and, Citizen Advocacy is deeply grounded in the idea that people with disabilities are people – not with “special needs” but simply people of shared common humanity, who may, like all of us, have problems particular to themselves. Their most pressing needs – for, home, education, work, daily life with meaning, love, and relationship – are universal truths.