Finding ways to contribute
By Jerry Laidlaw
My name is Jerry Laidlaw. I have always had the feeling that I wanted to help the community, mainly self advocates.
I went to Douglas College where I was asked to run in the school election to represent students with disabilities. I got it.
After that, a girl that I was on the Union with asked me if I would like to volunteer at the Family Support Institute. As you might have guessed, I jumped for it.
Later, I moved to Mission. I met new friends that asked me to join the self-advocate meetings in Mission. After going for a year I became a member of the Mission Association for Community Living board, and after a few more years I become interested in the Self Advocate Caucus at the BC Association for Community Living (BCACL). I was chairman after a few years, then I tried to get onto the BCACL board. I was successful.
I was there for three years. Now I am on the BC Self-Advocacy Foundation (BCSAF) board and the Centre for Inclusive Citizenship (CIC) board. I helped develop a course for people with challenges called the Canadian Inclusive Lives Learning Initiative (CILLI). I helped make the course accessible. My wife and I are taking that course.
I also worked on CLBC’s Quality of Life interviews. After they were done, a job that I put in a proposal for two years ago came up: the Self-Advocate Peer Advisor. I am excited and proud of my accomplishments, especially this new job.
I love having a job that helps the community. It involves interviewing individuals in day supports, meaning we will be able to know if they are satisfied in their day supports. My hope for the future is that everybody is able to do what they want.
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