Citizen Advocacy of South-Central Indiana, Inc. (CASCI) facilitates and supports one-on-one matches between citizens with disabilities and other members of our community for the purpose of friendship and advocacy.
What is Citizen Advocacy?
Citizen Advocates are passionate and compassionate individuals all over the United States who help people with disabilities interact with their communities through freely-given relationships. In the 1960s, advocates for people with disabilities realized that, too often, people with disabilities have almost all of their interactions with paid healthcare workers and human services professionals. Today, citizen advocacy efforts in 22 states help people with disabilities integrate more fully into their community.
CASCI President Jo Gilbertson and Past President Dixie Patterson
Organizations like Citizen Advocacy of South-Central Indiana, Inc. (CASCI) initiate and support long-term, volunteer relationships between people with disabilities (“Partners”) and other members of the community (“Advocates”). Advocates bring Partners into the heart of their communities, making sure the Partners’ gifts are recognized and their voices are heard. Advocates also help Partners navigate the human services and healthcare systems to improve their quality of life.
Like most citizen advocacy organizations, we are not sponsored by any service-providing agency. We act independently of the service system and are supported in a way that allows for independent action.
How is CASCI Making a Difference?
Even with a small amount of funding, CASCI can transform the community. CASCI matches people with disabilities with Advocates who possess interests and talents that “fit” the needs and interests of their Partners. These partnerships have a significant impact on people with disabilities, improving the quality of their lives and of the services they receive. Rewards from these partnerships grow like encircling ripples from one small stone. A community that embraces all of its members is a stronger, more diverse, and welcoming place for all.
What Does It Mean To Be An Advocate?
There are a variety of roles that a citizen advocate may adopt in order to understand and represent a vulnerable person’s interests as if they were his or her own. A friend is someone with whom you can talk, share joys and sorrows, exchange personal support, and count on being there. A mentor takes a personal interest in helping another person discover and develop skills and talents. An assistant chooses to help out with practical things. An ally stands with a person to help him or her get what is necessary for a decent life. A protector stands up for a person who is vulnerable to abuse or incompetent treatment. Without good relationships, provided by citizen advocates, many people in our community will continue to feel lonely and vulnerable.
How Can I Help?
Go to our How Can I Help? page to find out how you can assist our cause either through volunteering or giving a donation.