Learning and connecting
On March 17, 2011, the first Fraser Self-Advocate Conference took place at Surrey’s Newton Cultural Centre. The conference was organized and hosted by the Fraser Self-Advocates to educate each other and gather information in areas such as employment, housing, transportation, finances and creating community connections.
Tricia Lins, who works in CLBC’s Langley office, worked with 11 other self-advocates on the steering committee to help coordinate the event. In the morning, Tricia, who also served as the MC for the event, welcomed close to 100 attendees from across the Fraser Region.
Following Tricia’s introduction, Shelley Nessman, CLBC’s Self-Advocate Advisor, facilitated a story telling workshop to help people learn how to share their experiences.
In the afternoon, a series of “topic tables” were set up. Each table featured a self-advocate leader who was also supported by a CLBC staff member. Discussion topics included Housing, Independence, Community Connections, Recreation, Disaster Planning, Finances, Employment, Transportation, Families, Lifeskills and Learning.
To ensure that information was presented in a clean manner, there were symbols corresponding to the topic of each workshop to help self-advocates with their selection. Each table hosted about nine or ten guests and participants had a chance to sign up to sit at three different tables over the course of the afternoon.
“We wanted self-advocates to get something out of the events. Everyone learned in their own different ways,” says Tricia. “I really loved the experience, and was happy to see that the people who attended did as well. I hope to do it again in the future.”