May 3, 2012: Local Charity is Powered By Friendship.
Local Charity is Powered By Friendship.
By Meghan Maack and Neena Kushwaha.
Citizen Advocacy, a Kitchissippi charity, is located on Parkdale Ave, just north of the Carleton Tavern and the Parkdale Market. The office looks small from the outside but inside, big things are happening— one-on-one matches between a volunteer advocate and a child, youth, adult or senior with a disability are being made through the Everyday Champions program. There are close to 300 advocate- protégé matches currently made and new ones in the works every day.
These long lasting relationships are key to the happiness of many Ottawa residents with an intellectual, physical or mental disability. Kitchissippi resident Debby Applebaum counts herself as lucky to have been matched almost seven years ago to her volunteer advocate Neena Kushwaha.
Debby and Neena spoke at the annual Citizen Advocacy fundraiser Evening in the Maritimes in 2010 and the audience of close to 800 people was moved to tears. Below, Neena provides an update on her and Debby’s relationship status:
It has almost been two years since Debby and I last spoke of our experiences as an advocate-protégé match at Evening in the Maritimes. To celebrate our seventh anniversary we are planning a trip to La Ronde in Montreal! Other favorite activities include: shopping for pretty outfits, going to movies as well as going for dinner. We also love taking walks in Gatineau Park, having coffee at Tim Hortons, and constantly having conversations about anything and everything!
We have recently started attending the popular Dovercourt Dances because, as you can probably already tell, we love to dance! Debby tells me time and time again that participating in activities such as these are very important to her because it makes her feel like she is needed and listened to and like she matters.
I cannot express how much Debby matters to me. Through Citizen Advocacy I have met an energetic, capable, empathetic and insightful woman who I am blessed to call a friend. We would like to thank Citizen Advocacy for bringing us together and to those who support our organization to bring others like us together to form meaningful and lasting relationships. It really makes a difference!
For more information about Citizen Advocacy please visit http://www.citizenadvocacy.com or call 613-761-9522. For information about the 18th annual fundraising gala Evening in the Maritimes taking place on May 31, please visit http://www.eveninginthemaritimes.com