Grand Island Citizen Advocacy
Building advocacy relationships between ordinary citizens and people with disabilities
~This quilt was the first thing LeAnn and Betty did together when they were matched.
What is a Citizen Advocate?
A valued citizen - unpaid and independent of human services - who creates a relationship with a person who is at risk of social exclusion. Advocates choose several of many ways to understand, respond to, and represent their partner's interests as if they were the advocate's own thus bringing their partner's gifts and concerns into the circles of ordinary community life.
What is Citizen Advocacy?
Citizen advocacy is a relationship-based form of protection and advocacy of people with disabilities who are at risk of abuse, neglect, or social isolation. Citizen Advocacy offices initiate and support independent, one-to-one matches between ordinary citizens and vulnerable people with disabilities in their communities. Citizen Advocates are asked to look out for the rights and interests of the person with a disability as if they were their own.
To initiate and support a variety of long-term, one-to-one personal advocacy relationships between private citizens and people who have intellectual, developmental disabilities or mental health issues.
Our Office Activities
Recruit people with developmental or intellectual disabilities or mental illness for whom an advocate will be found.
Introduce people with disabilities to potential advocates.
Ask individual citizens to become an advocate for a person with a disability and develop a one-to-one relationship.
Orient advocates about typical life experiences of people who have disabilities.
Offer ongoing advocate support, thus supporting the relationship
In 1967, the Governor of Nebraska, appalled at the conditions in state institutions for persons with mental retardation, convened a Citizen’s Study Committee on Mental Retardation. The world’s first citizen advocacy program was subsequently started in Lincoln in 1970, as conceptualized by Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger.
Grand Island Citizen Advocacy, Inc., was incorporated in January 1975. Citizen Advocacy programs exist today throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.