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Citizen Advocacy is a way for a dedicated person to make a positive difference in the life of a person with a disability. If you are interested in becoming involved in Citizen Advocacy Launceston Region you could:
For more information please call 03 63 312 177
People become citizen advocates for many reasons. Some because they have a desire to help people with disabilities achieve their personal aspirations, or because they feel a need to do something meaningful and relevant, and others because they identify with the basic injustices people with disabilities face every day.
Whatever the reason, it is very important that citizen advocates have an initial sense of understanding and competence to be able to respond in an effective way.
Orientation is a process where many potential advocates come to understand and gain some insight into the life of a person who is devalued by the community. The orientation can also show how strongly we are shaped and influenced by myths, stereotypes and societal values. For others, the orientation process will enhance their awareness of these issues and strengthen their resolve to ensure people with disabilities are treated as having the same worth and value, and with the same dignity and respect, we have come to expect as human beings.
Orientations are never the same for any two people. Each is tailored to meet the needs of the advocate and will focus on the issues and needs specific to the person the advocate is to be matched with. However, all orientations will cover the common life experiences of people with disabilities and how citizen advocacy can and does respond to them.
Following the orientation process, the citizen advocate and the protégé are introduced. In the initial stages of the relationship between the citizen advocate and the protégé, the Citizen Advocacy Program maintains regular contact. This is to ensure that the relationship is ‘working’, as well as to provide support to the citizen advocate.
Throughout the relationship, the Citizen Advocacy Program will maintain on-going contact with citizen advocates, just as citizen advocates are encouraged to maintain on-going contact with the Citizen Advocacy Program. The staff of the program also provide support to each relationship in the form of information, resources and contacts. The Citizen Advocacy Program is always on hand to offer guidance and advice to citizen advocates when this is sought. The Citizen Advocacy Program can provide assistance in clarifying situations from the perspective of the person with disability and encouragement for advocates to persevere when situations facing the advocates become difficult.
As well as this direct support, citizen advocates are encouraged and supported to develop their understanding of their role and the person’s needs throughout their relationship, and to develop their own support networks. The Citizen Advocacy Program assists by providing opportunities for advocates to meet together to hear about, and talk over, important relevant issues. Citizen advocates are regularly informed of external workshops, seminars and training events which could be beneficial to them in their role as citizen advocates.
Advocate Associates are volunteers to the advocacy office who possess skills and knowledge useful to Advocates and Protégé's. From time to time, an Advocate Associate can offer advice and a different perspective on many important matters relevant to the relationship and can be a great support in many demanding situations.
The advocacy office recruits, orients and actively utilises a number of Advocate Associates who represent a variety of technical skills.