Oct 03, 2017
Tom Kohler and George Seaborough
Chatham-Savannah Citizen Advocacy

Chatham-Savannah Citizen Advocacy is a 36-year-old community based non-profit organization that recruits, matches and offers support to over 110 local citizens in voluntary citizen advocacy relationships. Fourteen local people form the board and govern the work of staff.

Citizen advocacy is built on one-to-one, freely given personal relationships between two people. One is a person with a developmental disability who has often been excluded from typical community life, and the other is a person who is living a good, ordinary life here in our community.


Citizen advocacy coordinators and board members work under a guiding set of principles in order to make the strongest possible match between people. Here are 4 key principles that guide our work.


1. Each citizen advocacy relationship is freely given.


2. Each citizen advocate is independent of human services, the citizen advocacy office, and, if necessary, his/her advocacy partner’s family. Loyalty to the individual person allows the advocate to speak out and act with freedom and clarity.


3. Most citizen advocacy matches are established with the hope of developing a long-lasting relationship, some of which may be life-long.


4. Each citizen advocate looks for ways to bring his/her protégé’s interests, gifts and needs to the larger community in ways that are dignified and enhancing to the person.