CITIZEN ADVOCACY OTTAWA
Citizen Advocacy Ottawa is a small but powerful registered charity and is one of the few organizations that supports people of all ages across disabilities spectrum and their families – those living with physical, developmental, intellectual, mental health, age-related and multiple diagnoses challenges.
Right now in our community, there are people with disabilities who feel alone and isolated. There are people with disabilities whose hopes, dreams, and, sometimes, basic needs are not being taken seriously. What they’d really like is to feel included. What they’d really like is someone who will talk with them, listen to them, support and encourage them, do things, go places, and help them in any way that a good neighbour or friend naturally would.
There are also ordinary citizens who intentionally want to give their time to make a positive difference to the life of a person with a disability. They voluntarily represent and protect the rights and interests of other people. They help them face challenges and encourage them to participate in the community life of Ottawa.
Citizen Advocacy Ottawa, founded in 1974, is one of the few agencies supporting people of all ages across the disability spectrum. We are a place where people with disabilities and their families feel welcomed, safe, not judged, able to speak their minds and where they receive the recognition, guidance and support they are seeking. At Citizen Advocacy Ottawa we recognize the resilience of individuals with disabilities and their families as they struggle for access to support and services. We look for innovative and creative ways to build healthy, safe and inclusive futures in our community.
Our vision is of a community that welcomes and values the participation and contribution of all its citizens, including those who live with disabilities.
To enhance personal choice and community participation for persons living with disabilities through advocacy support.
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Lifetime Networks works with families to create a personal support network for their loved one with a disability. We know that for someone with a disability, a good life grows from a genuine circle of support that evolves and changes as life does.
We believe in a future where people with disabilities:
- have the safety and security of strong personal relationships
- are part of a caring and vibrant community that encourages them to contribute
- experience a great quality of life surrounded by strong circle of support
- enjoy financial security
Julie is passionate about country music and loves to have friends and to socialize, but her quiet and shy personality makes it challenging for her to make new friends. In the process of building a network, various happy coincidences have presented themselves. We have re-connected with a very special person, Catherine, who, in her spare time as a student, used to work with Julie, and who Julie always loved! Julie has also re-connected, through Facebook, with a friend from elementary school years, Angela.
With the support of Emmanuelle, a wonderfully patient and caring community connector from the Life Time Networks program, Julie presented at the In the Spotlight even last Fall. Her presentation led to a few young women expressing interest in joining Julie’s circle of support. One of them, Hatav, who had not recognized Julie from her seat in the audience, happened to be one of Julie’s counsellors at Camp Misquah the previous summer. They have since re-connected and Hatav has joined the small group.
Even though Julie doesn’t worry about her future and doesn’t mind spending time on her own, she would suffer from social isolation if her parents were not around. With the gradual building of a small network, we have noticed an improvement in her self-confidence and a generally happier disposition. We certainly hope and pray for more happy coincidences in building this important circle of support.