What will I need to do
There are a number of things you need to do before you can be considered for a role as a Citizen Advocate…
- Find out as much as you can about Citizen Advocacy from this website and other CA websites listed on the “Links” page.
- Read and listen to what other Citizen Advocates say about their involvement – the challenges, the rewards, why they got involved and what their experience has been like.
- If it still sounds like something you would like to explore further, fill in the “Become a Citizen Advocate” enquiry form (link below) and send it in.
NOTE: Just because you apply, doesn’t mean you will become a Citizen Advocate.
Generally, when we find a person with disability who would benefit from having a Citizen Advocate, we firstly work out what things might need to be done in order to help them experience more of “the good life”.
Sometimes this may simply mean providing companionship, a listening ear and a friend to spend time with. In other cases, more serious advocacy might be warranted, including for example: addressing accommodation issues, sorting out finances, being a spokesperson, providing protection from the system and even taking up legal guardianship.
When we are clear on the needs and circumstances of the person with disability (i.e. gender / age / background) and initial role the potential advocate may take, we go into the community to find that person. This challenging task can take considerable time. All Citizen Advocates undergo Orientation before matching.
Sometimes we invite interested and suitable community members to undergo Advocate Orientation, even though we may not have anyone specifically in mind to match them with at the time. Individuals who choose to do this understand that they may be matched soon after their Orientation is completed, months or even years later…or never.
If you wish to be considered for Advocate Orientation and a possible role as a Citizen Advocate, this is what will happen after you submit your form:
- Our Program Committee will consider your application and either recommend or not recommend that you be considered.
- If recommended, you will have a preliminary meeting with Citizen Advocacy coordinators to chat informally about you, your past experience, your current life situation, what drew you to Citizen Advocacy and what you might hope get out of becoming involved. It is a chance to openly discuss your possible involvement in more detail and decide if this really is something for you.
- Advocate Orientation is the next step (see “What training will I receive?”) – This involves 3 x 90 minute educational sessions that provide potential advocates an in depth overview of Citizen Advocacy principles, Intellectual Disability, how the program works, the role of a Citizen Advocate and much more. It is a key part of us getting to know each other better and preparing you for your role as a Citizen Advocate.
- Once we have identified you as a suitable advocate for a particular person with disability, additional orientation will be undertaken to prepare you for your specific involvement with this person.