Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • April-May 2024 • Circulation 5000


Becoming an Advocate

“As one we are a voice, as two we are a concern, as a group we become an action.” – Ian Young

When I wrote this quote which I often deliver at functions, I reflected on my journey to where I am now: an advocate for human rights, with a big focus on the disability sector, as I am a man living with a disability.

Becoming an advocate is actually pretty simple. You can start small, and ask yourself, “what concerns me? What do I think is important to the community and my friends? What issues do I care about?”

Then, do a quick online search of keywords (for example, “animal rights”) and add the name of your city or area (like, “Edmonton”). You will get search results with links to newsletters, events, and meetings. Go at your own pace and ask for information. Choose a level of involvement in which you feel comfortable. You can soon meet people with similar concerns and interests.

In this age of technology, a lot can be done remotely from your home, library, or other locations where you feel comfortable. Many meetings are online, or have an option to take part remotely if you can’t be there in person.

As well, many non-profit and charitable organizations are seeking volunteers. This is something you may want to consider depending on your time and skills.

It is a glorious feeling when I feel someone has benefitted from something with which I was involved. I have met influential people and built relationships with politicians at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels who have helped and informed me. Becoming part of this community newspaper was one of my favourite accomplishments, leading me to meet wonderful people who I admire.

In the end, everyone benefits from advocacy. If this is something that interests you, and you feel comfortable in taking the first steps, getting involved is like an education because of how much you get to learn.

Ian is a columnist with the paper. He lives in the area.

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