The Right and Wrong Reasons to Advocate

I have a message to send loud and clear.

A true, honest advocate fights for the child, adolescent or adult whom they are representing.

They will position themselves to partner with all parties involved – the parents and/or other caregivers, school personnel, aides, the therapists, the case managers – and will not set out to make enemies of any of the aforementioned parties or convince caregivers that this is an ideal strategy.

Sending a message that insinuates that the majority of teachers and therapists are out to make someone’s life miserable, are abusive, and/or are targeting their child is dangerous and careless.

I am not asleep, nor was I born yesterday, and I am WELL AWARE about devastating situations that occur in our world today.

Stories are rampant every day across social media that demonstrate terror, harm and bullying, and those scenarios will still happen despite our strongest efforts. We can’t stop it all — but we can do better, together, as partners.

More often, the case is that people don’t know what they don’t know. They weren’t educated.

Maybe they never met someone with ASD, let alone taught them. They don’t have the resources. They lack skills to best support someone with challenges or are differently-abled.

There may be some really good folks who want to do the right thing, but who may not have the support or buy in from everyone in their district or organization.

People don’t know … what they don’t know.

I guarantee you, 9 times out of 10, people WANT to learn from YOU as to how to ensure someone’s success and abundance.

A dear friend and longtime advocate in my community taught me long ago that we as advocates attend meetings first and foremost for the person whose voice we are trying to amplify until they may do so on their own.

I’m so grateful for that perspective and I will carry that with me forever.

I’m watching a small handful of folks out there claiming to be advocates who are charging ridiculous amounts of money and whose tactics are to pounce, attack, and charge full speed ahead like a bull in a china shop.

That’s not advocacy.

That’s not coaching.

That’s not empowerment.

It’s bullshit. Knock it off.

Don’t advocate because it’s a sexy, Instagrammable 2020 money-making entrepreneurial gig, boss babe.

I’m not against charging money for a service or product (I mean, I am an author for heaven’s sake).

However, there’s a difference between charging for a service and taking obvious advantage of someone’s vulnerability. Hundreds of dollars to write an email?!?! GTHOHWTBS (Google this for definition, kids might be watching my post) … I’ll write that email for you myself in 15 minutes flat.

Advocate because you want to change this world for the better and help someone to live their best life. THAT, is advocacy.

throws down the mic

Caff-Adv O-U-T.

This post was shared on Finding Cooper’s Voice on January 22, 2020.

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Author: Catherine Hughes

Passionate Advocate. Innovative Storyteller. Engaging Strategist. Author. Editor. Blogger.

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