Individual and systems advocacy are central to UVdN’s mission. Individual advocacy is delivered through direct services as described in a client’s Independent Living Plan or in self-directed goals; systems advocacy is provided through the staff, volunteers and board of directors of UVdN.
Individual advocacy can be assisting a person who feels they have been discriminated against with identifying action steps to follow to resolve the issue, training on self-empowerment and responsibility, or requesting an accommodation that enhances participation and independence. An example of individual advocacy would be providing training that would empower an individual with a hearing-impairment to request a listening device — reasonable accommodation — at a movie theater.
Systems advocacy issues include, but are not limited to, equal opportunities for housing, transportation, employment, access to community activities and public services. Systems advocacy is attempting to ensure that law, regulations, programs and services protect the civil and human rights of all individuals.