Self-advocacy is not only for individuals but also for communities. Catulpa envisions a future where the people we serve are recognized and valued as contributing members of their community and fully integrated into their community’s activities.
We know this is a vision shared by many children, youth, adults, and families with developmental or mental disabilities. As individuals, agencies, and governments, we must work together to face the growing need for inclusive supports and services within our communities.
By advocating for better resources and funding for each child and family, we can make a difference.
No matter how you choose to advocate it’s important to follow some simple guidelines:
Be polite and reasonable
Be consistent when speaking about your issue. Keep it as simple as possible
Stay informed about changes to your issue
Be clear about your objectives and the need for a commitment, as well as desired next steps
Connect with others interested in your issue. Not only does this provide you support, but together you can be more effective
Follow up regularly with decision-makers so they know you are engaged and committed
There are several different ways you can choose to raise awareness about your issue. Some of them are:
A personal letter from you, your support group, or a larger community network to local, provincial, or federal politicians detailing your story and how the issue(s) affects you can be very impactful
Talk with local, provincial, or federal politicians. Phoning or meeting can have an impact, especially if they are not familiar with your issue
Start an online petition and present it to decision-makers, showing the issue is a concern to many
Post your story online. Social media sharing can reach a large number of people
Tell your story to community groups so they become engaged with your issue
Contact the media and provide them with your personal story and how the issue affects you or your family. Include facts and statistics they can use as background