Getting Involved

Becoming a Citizen Advocate

What will I need to do?
The preferable initial step is to arrange a face to face meeting with the Sunbury Citizen Advocate coordinator. Through it the coordinator will brief you about the program and answer any of your questions such as:-

  • The structure and aims of the organisation
  • The matching process between protégé and the advocates
  • What are the organisation expectations when you are matched to a protégé
  • What are the rewards, experiences and challenges of being an advocate
  • If you would like to be considered as an advocate, the coordinator will explain the process in detail and provide the associated paperwork for you to go through.
  • The coordinator will consider all aspects of your application and decide accordingly
  • You can also leave a message in the Contact Us section.

What will it involve?

Based on your attributes such as skills, life experience and networks etc., the coordinator will endeavour to match you with a suitable protégé to achieve a good fit between the needs of the protégé and the skills and time available of the advocate. For example, this may include:-

  • Companionship and friendship
  • Dealing with organisations such as Centrelink, government departments
  • Provide support in advising on such things as transport, decision making, shopping etc.
  • Assist in the protégé being able to participate in opportunities such as training, work, education etc.

After being accepted as a suitable advocate candidate for a particular protégé, you will undergo advocate orientation to prepare you for your specific involvement with the person you will be introduced to.

What skills do I need?

In today’s society, it is commonly assumed that paid professionals are needed to address people’s needs. Citizen Advocacy, in contrast, asks ordinary citizens to become involved in the lives of people with intellectual disability. Many people possess a variety of talents through their experience in family, work, church and community associations. This experience often makes a real difference in the life of a person with a disability.

Becoming an Advocate Associates

Advocate associates are volunteers to the advocacy office who possess skills and knowledge useful to advocates and protégés. From time to time, an advocate associate can offer advice and perspective on such matters as the technical dimensions of the services which a protégé receives or seeks to receive, strategy development for management of a demanding situation, or advise on technical matters that have relevant to the relationship.

(e.g., advise on managing an issue related to guardianship of property). A sufficient number of active advocate associates provide a safeguard against staff being drawn into individual advocacy activities, and provides a major support to advocates and their protégés who choose to avail themselves of their council. Advocate associates should be respectful of the advocate’s role in the relationship, and should avoid supplanting efforts the advocate is willing to make

Becoming A Member

Who is eligible to be a member?
Any person who supports the purposes of the Association is eligible for membership.

To apply to become a member of the Sunbury Citizen Advocate, a person must submit a written application (link) to a committee member stating that the person:-
(a) wishes to become a member of the Association
(b) supports the purposes of the Association
(c) agrees to comply with the association rules.