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Change Two Lives - Michele and Aisha


EiTM 2018
Ottawa Race Weekend 2018
Advocate and Friend enjoying the picnic


We recognize the importance of friends and networks in our lives.  Every day, we see evidence of how personal relationships and networks creating positive change for people with disabilities.

Birthday Party for a Lifetime Network member


Family members are a crucial part of the life of a person with a disability. Parents and siblings are important too and may find great value in meeting and learning from others with a shared experience.

Go Karting


People with disabilities have the right to be included in the community and to participate in decisions that affect their lives. Life planning creates a safe and secure future for individuals and their families.

Making Pizza at Gabriel's Pizza


Citizen Advocacy Ottawa is a strong community leader supporting people of all ages across the disability spectrum. Learn about the ways in which you can support our programs.

Celebration of People Finalists


Whether you are someone with a disability, a supporter, sponsor or donor we host an event for you – monthly dances, annual social events, fundraising galas, renowned award dinner and many more.

Supporters enjoying the Holiday Dinner and Dance


About Citizen Advocacy
Staff, Board & Committee Lists
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Marilyn and Laurena have been matched for a year and have created a wonderful reminder of the joy their match has brought to each of them: a quilt.

As the experienced quilter Laurena took the lead deciding on the quilt pattern and teaching Marilyn how to make the quilt. Marilyn decided on the colours and fabric and added the purple wool ties that attach the backing and are the final finishing touch. The quilt has pride of place in Marilyn and her husband Roy’s bedroom.

Another significant accomplishment is that Marilyn and Laurena are starting to travel together around the city by bus. This is an important step towards one of the goals Marilyn identified in her initial conversations with the Citizen Advocacy team.

Citizen Advocacy was suggested to Marilyn by both her doctor and a social worker in 2010 and after several years on the waiting list the Citizen Advocacy team found just the right person to be her volunteer Advocate, Laurena. Marilyn wanted someone who shared her love of crafting, who was talkative, a good keeper of secrets and who would encourage her to take an interest in the outside world. During her discussions with Citizen Advocacy Laurena shared that after many years of moving around she “wanted to put down roots and to make meaningful connections”.

Laurena and Marilyn have many other things in common besides a love of crafting – talking, relaxing, an appreciation of the spiritual side of life, enjoying each other’s company, a love of cats and husbands who are both proud to be called “nerds”.

A year later, after weekly quilting sessions, trips to craft fairs and the Byward Market both agree that they are really happy to have each other in their lives and are certain their friendship will continue well into the future.

Everyday Champions

“A few years ago, our family decided to start building a network of support for our daughter, Julie. Extended family members live far away and our daughter, now 28 years old, only has one sibling. Making sure she has a supportive circle is particularly important as we plan for her future. Our family has been paired with Emmanuelle, a wonderfully patient and caring facilitator from the Lifetime Networks program.

Julie is passionate about country music and loves to have friends and to socialize, but her quiet and shy personality makes it challenging for her to make new friends. In the process of building her network, various happy coincidences have presented themselves. We have reconnected with a very special person, Catherine. When she was a student she worked with Julie, and Julie loved her. Through Facebook, Julie has also reconnected with Angela, a friend from elementary school.

 With Emmanuelle’s support, Julie presented at the In the Spotlight event last fall. Her presentation resulted in a few young women expressing an interest to join her circle of support. One of them, Hatav, who had not recognized Julie from her seat in the audience, was one of Julie’s counsellors at Camp Misquah the previous summer. Hatav has now joined Julie’s network.

Even though Julie doesn’t worry about her future, and doesn’t mind spending time on her own, she would suffer from social isolation if her parents were not around. With the gradual building of her network, we have noticed an improvement in her self-confidence and a generally happier disposition. We certainly hope and pray for more happy coincidences in building this important circle of support.”

Lifetime Networks Family

“I want to get married to my boyfriend”, she said.  This was loud and clear.

The work of independent facilitation and person-directed planning at Citizen Advocacy – is quite unique.  We are in a privileged position of being immersed into people’s lives, meeting them wherever they are along the way, and as a result, we are fortunate to journey alongside people across some of life’s major milestones.  Sometimes people and their support networks are stuck, they need help, guidance, encouragement, and/or a chance to see things a little differently.  While other times people know exactly what they want, and simply need support moving forward.

Chelsea Stanley is one of those people who knows what she wants.

When I first met Chelsea, we immediately bonded over a couple of things.  The first being our mutual love of art.  She showed me a photo of one of her paintings, and was noticeably proud when I commented on its bold choice of colour and the interesting application technique she used.  Chelsea said she wanted to paint more, so we eventually ended up taking a tour of H’Art of Ottawa, and she immediately decided she was interested in joining this wonderful local organization.  Now she is painting every week.

Our love of family was our other bonding thing.  She always asks about my wife and kids, and is sure to tell me about her growing family- she is now an Aunt to a beautiful niece and wonderful nephew.  During our first meeting, after being asked what she wanted in life, she said, “I want to get married to my boyfriend – Graham”.  This was the start of many conversations about relationships, marriage, and family.  Then on Valentine’s Day, I received an enthusiastic text from Chelsea “Got Engaged!”.

At our next visit we spoke about all the exciting things that come along with getting engaged- how he proposed, the ring, and about what’s next… an engagement party of course.  Chelsea loved the idea of hosting a party, and as we started talking about who she wanted to invite, her list grew and grew.  We talked about options of where to have this party and came up with a few places.  But none really seemed to be ‘just right’, until Chelsea said, “We should have the party at my work”.  What a great idea, I thought.  Chelsea works at Swiss Chalet as a hostess. There, all of her and Graham’s friends and family could be accommodated and fed, plus we don’t have the set-up or clean-up work involved in a big party.  It would also be an opportunity for Chelsea’s co-workers to see her in another light.

Chelsea really ran with the ‘Engagement Party’ idea from there.  She, along with Caitlyn, her ‘Life Coach & Community Connector’, from LiveWorkPlay, another incredible local organization, sent out invitations.  People responded positively, and when the date finally arrived for Chelsea & Graham’s Engagement Party, around 40 people showed up.  That evening she was beaming from start to finish.  Chelsea, wearing a tiara and veil, was surrounded by family and friends.  She had balloons and other whimsically themed décor to celebrate this momentous occasion. I got to witness and be a part of it all. And that is why, I think, we as Facilitators for person-directed planning are privileged & fortunate.  Next, Chelsea & Graham, along with those closest to them, will discuss, think, and plan for what makes for a successful marriage, and how that relationship will work

Independent Facilitation & Person-Directed Planning


Caring for a person with a disability? Planning for their future can be complex. Follow this link to discover creative ways to plan.

Citizen Advocacy Ottawa

Citizen Advocacy Ottawa
312 Parkdale Ave,
Ottawa, ON K1Y 4X5


14 + 6 =

Tel/Tel. 613-761-9522
TTY/ATS: 613-725-6175

Toll Free/Sans Frais: 1-866-222-2138
Fax/Télécopie: 613-761-9525


312 av. Parkdale Ave.,
Ottawa, ON, K1Y 4X5


Charitable Registration Number/Numéro d’enregistrement d’organisme de bienfaisance
13036 2817 RR0001