One Person at a Time


One Person at a Time: Citizen Advocacy for People with Disabilities

Adam (A.J.) Hildebrand

ISBN 1-57129-093-1 2004 paper $22.95

Citizen Advocacy is a community enterprise that arranges and supports relationships between valued, competent individual citizens and individuals who are socially disvalued in our culture, usually because of a mental or physical impairment. Citizen advocacy organizations bring a devalued person to the attention of a citizen who will respond to that person’s interest and needs through a freely given relationship.

A citizen advocate is not one thing but many things. She or he may help a child get into and stay in school, protect someone who lives in a nursing home, find someone a home or a job, go to court on someone’s behalf, or simply befriend someone who needs a friend. Each advocate’s role  grows from the interests and  needs of each specific person with a disability.

The full length stories Adam Hildebrand has gathered in this book are accounts of Citizen Advocacy relationships as told by advocates. They describe the ups and downs of their relationships, revealing their uniqueness and diversity, as well as giving the reader a sound understanding of how these relationships develop.

Hildebrand also includes a history of the Citizen Advocacy movement, a presentation of its principles, advice for practitioners, and a useful directory of resources for those interested in participating.

Adam (A.J.) Hildebrand was a founding member of One to One: Citizen Advocacy in Beaver, PA, where he worked for 16 years as Citizen Advocacy coordinator. He is the past editor of the Citizen Advocacy Forum, an international journal of the Citizen Advocacy movement. Mr. Hildebrand has been an associate of the Training Institute for Human Services Planning, Leadership, and Change Agentry, and he has consulted with many Citizen Advocacy and other advocacy organizations throughout the United States, Australia and Canada. He is a doctoral candidate at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where he is focusing on the heightened vulnerability of people with disabilities in health care settings. He is currently a consultant for Shriver Clinical Services in Massachusetts.

“As you will read in this book, Citizen Advocacy has built bridges, changed attitudes, opened minds and hearts, and even saved many lives -sometimes the same life many times over. I am deeply gratified that this has turned out to be one of the fruits of Citizen Advocacy.” -Wolf Wolfensberger, Syracuse University

“Because of people like Adam Hildebrand, I will always be a conscious, practicing, in-the-trenches advocate. I am thrilled that this gentle, caring man has wrapped up some of what he has learned and put it into this definitive book. Why? Because if and when certain advocacy schemes and funding sources collapse, the noble art of Citizen Advocacy will continue to thrive.”    -Robert Perske, author of Unequal Justice, Deadly Compassion, and Circle of Friends

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