What is Advocacy?
Webster’s dictionary defines "advocate" as one who argues for, recommends, or supports a cause or policy. Advocates cannot always change problems nor create outcomes that a person with a disability or his/her family may want. However, an advocate can try to ease the burdens and pressures caused by the problems.
Listed below are some of the ways that The Arc of Stanly County advocates for people with disabilities and their families.
- Witness: Simply being there is often enough. "Being there" is not about acting for people with disabilities and their families, but about lending them authority. Even this passive support empowers people and makes them feel they can succeed.
- Buffer: Someone who helps absorb some of the pressures on the family by fielding or deflecting matters that might exacerbate their troubles or stress.
- Voice: Making sure people with disabilities and their families' views are represented and their voices are heard.
- Go-between: Someone who helps facilitate and improve communication between the families and service providers.
- Interpreter: Someone who helps translate language and wording to aid in family’s understanding.
- Listener: Someone who helps people with disabilities and their families to not feel isolated by encouraging them to share feelings, worries and concerns.
- Sleuth: Someone who searches out information that will help people with disabilities and their families achieve positive outcomes.
- Problem-solver: Someone who helps people with disabilities and their families identify the choices they have and support them in their decisions.
- Confidante: Someone with whom private and confidential information can be safely shared in the sure knowledge that it will not be passed on or used against the family and/or the person supported.
- Mentor: Someone with whom private and confidential information can be safely shared in the sure knowledge that it will not be passed on or used against the family and/or the person supported.
- Ally: Someone who is unambiguously on the family's side, prepared to stand by them, and whose actions are always consistent with this stance.