Our Mission is to create and support relationships between community volunteers and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities so that all are heard, empowered and fully included in the community. We strive to engage all members in opportunities that enhance quality of life.
What is Citizen Advocacy?
Where we have been and where we are going
OCCA has traditionally focused on developing and supporting one to one relationships between community volunteers and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities since its inception in 1988. Over that time period we have matched over one hundred individuals with disabilities (which we refer to as "Partners") and volunteers (whom we refer to as an "Advocates"). The Advocates and Partners form a relationship that involves friendship, mentoring and advocacy. In many cases this relationship has lasted for decades. While we still continue to recruit volunteers for these partnerships, we are facing challenges. It has become extremely difficult to find volunteers and the number s of matches has decreased steadily over the last decade. We are addressing these challenges and the changing needs and interests of the individuals we serve. Going forward, we will be introducing a new model of operation and a new name. We have chosen "The Abilities Connection" to reflect our desire to connect people of differing abilities for the purpose of friendship, participating in a wide variety of activities that match the interests and needs of our members.
Our goal is to bring people out of isolation and provide the connections and friendships everyone needs in order to live a healthy life. OCCA has very low overhead. We do not have an office. We only have a part-time executive director (who works remotely) and a volunteer board. Our budget is small. We get funding from towns in Orleans County, donations and small grants. We depend on the generosity of the people of Orleans County to keep us going. Our new approach will cost money. There is no way around it. Please consider making a donation or volunteering your time and talents!