Our matching program is a one-on-one match with a child, youth, adult or senior with a disability.
Through our matching program we see profound differences in the lives of people with a disability. The benefits for those who are matched with a volunteer Advocate may include: reduced loneliness and isolation, help to achieve hopes and dreams, assistance to develop personal networks and relationships, decreased vulnerability, increased self-confidence and improved mental and physical health
We support all types of disability: those with physical, intellectual, developmental, age-related disabilities or mental health challenges.
People need people. We recognize the importance of friends and networks in our lives. Every day, we see evidence of how personal relationships and networks help support and resolve personal and professional matters. We use our networks to help others – whether it’s related to getting a job, finding a professional resource or for social and recreational purposes. We rely on these rich personal networks and relationships. Many people with disabilities don’t have the benefit of these relationships.
Fiaz Hashmi and Drew Charkavi have been matched since July 2017.
Drew was looking for a volunteer opportunity to help a member of the community by sharing his time and friendship. Fiaz and his family were hoping he would find someone with whom to develop a long-lasting friendship outside of his family. They were introduced to each other through Citizen Advocacy’s Everyday Champions program. Their social worker thought they would be a good match because they enjoyed the same things. From that simple beginning a firm friendship has developed.
They get together each week. As well as enjoying each other’s company, they do activities together – walks, bowling and watching TV, especially cooking shows. But what they enjoy best is to prepare food together and then to eat their creations.
Fiaz’s family say “In the last year, we’ve seen Fiaz go from being shy and reluctant to someone who has more confidence, someone who takes the initiative and makes decisions about what activities he wants to do. He really enjoys Drew’s company. There is no pressure on him so he can take things at his own pace. He and Drew like the same things and we know that it means so much to Fiaz to have someone he can truly call his friend.”
Drew also values his relationship with Fiaz. He says “Life is busy, and it is nice to know that once a week Fiaz and I just have to worry about each other. I try my best to leave the stresses of work, school, and personal relationships at the door and enjoy the couple of hours with just the two of us.”
Volunteer to make a real difference in your community as we work to reduce loneliness and isolation one person at a time.
She makes my day”.
Five years ago, Grace Daigle was a newcomer to Ottawa and she was feeling lonely as she had left her friends in Toronto. She heard about Citizen Advocacy’s Chance for Choice matching program and decided it would be a good way for her to get to know someone.
Maryse Cote-Singer volunteers in her community. She knew Citizen Advocacy through her work and made the decision to join the matching program when she read about the need for volunteer Advocates on the organization’s Facebook page.
When Grace and Maryse were first matched it was just a visit over a cup of coffee. As time went on Maryse saw more ways she could help Grace and she had the time. Maryse provided lots of practical help to Grace as she navigated a new city such as helping her get to doctor’s appointments. Now, they both say their visits are all about having fun.
Each week Maryse starts off her visit at Grace’s home, they then move on to the local Tim Horton’s for coffee and donuts before hitting the local stores. Grace decides which stores she needs to visit. They always start at the grocery store. After that it could be Dollarama, Wal-Mart, Value Village, or the local gardening centre.
They always make sure to celebrate milestones, birthdays and holidays. Baking cookies, looking at the Christmas lights, attending Citizen Advocacy’s Holiday Dinner and Dance or a meal at Grace’s favourite restaurants are some of the ways they celebrate. For them both, spending time together and talking about their week means the world to them.
When asked what her friendship with Grace means to her Maryse said “I love Grace so much. She is part of my life, part of my Ottawa family. I share everything with her. It is a great friendship”. And when Grace was asked about Maryse she just smiled and said, “she makes my day”.
If you would like to be matched with a volunteer Advocate please call and speak with one of our Social Workers.