Citizen advocacy celebrated

YORK – The York community’s Citizen Advocacy group celebrated the holidays and the end of the year with a special banquet this past week.

The intent of this program is to build advocacy relationships “between ordinary citizens and people with disabilities.”

A citizen advocate is a person – unpaid and independent of human services – who creates a relationship with a person “with disabilities who may be at risk of social exclusion,” according to the organization. “Advocates chose several of many ways to understand, respond to and represent their partner’s interests as if they were the advocate’s own, thereby bringing their partner’s gifts and concerns into the circles of ordinary community life.”

Citizen Advocacy offices initiate and support independent, one-to-one matches in their communities. And those advocates are asked to look out for the rights and interests of their partners.

This program was started in 1967 in Nebraska when the conditions inside state institutions were revealed. Interestingly enough, the world’s first citizen advocacy program was started in Lincoln in 1970. Today, citizen advocacy programs exist throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.

This past week in York, dozens of people attended the special banquet, not only to celebrate all things December but also the relationships that have been created.



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