One to One Citizen Advocacy
Who are we?
For more than 20 years, One to One: Citizen Advocacy, Inc. has promoted the protection of, and advocacy for, individuals with disabilities of all ages, from newborns to nursing home residents. It is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization, and ten people comprise the governing Board of Directors. Two full-time staff members recruit, match, and offer support to more than 60 citizen advocates who voluntarily make a personal commitment to an individual with a disability and continue to recruit proteges 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 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 promotes many of the values upon which our community was built and works to reshape and improve other values as well. People with disabilities spend much of their lives separated from the larger community. This segregation usually begins in childhood and often intensifies throughout the adult years. Much of this separation is an unfortunate by-product of the "appropriate services" provided by schools, rehabilitation agencies, and other organizations. The amount of money being spent on these services can continue to grow, but the inclusion and participation of people with disabilities doesn't grow, at least not in most typical communities.
Many people with disabilities are considered "second-class citizens," which continues to hinder progress and integration. Although frequently unintentional, the myths about lack of ability among the disabled continues. In fact, many of these myths are perpetuated by the same professional people who are paid to help the individuals with challenges. This always depends on the one-on-one relationship between the person and his/her advocate.
By helping to change this history of separation and segregation and by challenging old myths and attitudes, we have the opportunity to put our own citizenship to use very effectively. Speaking out, extending friendship, offering opportunities to participate in real community life, and sticking together as neighbors brings out the best in people by creating opportunities to promote a more just world and 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 individual with a disability as a person, not a client.
- Become acquainted with the person's interests, hopes, and dreams.
- Work together toward those interests, hopes, and dreams.
For more information about how you can contribute to your community, please contact:
One to One: Citizen Advocacy
650 Corporation Street, Suite 302
Beaver, PA 15009