Conference brings community together
From May 30 to June 2, 2012, the British Columbia Association for Community Living (BCACL) hosted its 2012 conference and AGM, “Moving Forward: Steadfast and Strong” in Penticton.
Co-hosted by the Penticton and District Association for Community Living and the Penticton and District Community Resources Society, the conference featured keynote speakers Cathy Anthony, Ujjal Dosanjh, Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift. The conference organizing committee put together over 50 workshops and sessions. CLBC was one of the conference sponsors.
One of the sessions featured an introduction to CLBC’s new include Me! quality of life initiative, presented by Brian Salisbury (Director of Strategic Planning), Andrea Baker (Manager of Operational Development) and Tricia Lins (Self-Advocate Project Assistant). The include Me! initiative provides adults with developmental disabilities with a way to think and talk about their quality of life with their families and the people who support them. (You can learn more at www.communitylivingbc.ca/include-me.)
Another CLBC initiative on display at the conference was www.icanbesafeonline.com. This website is dedicated to educating adults with developmental disabilities and their families on how to use the internet safely. Katrina Griffin, who appears on the website, joined Jule Hopkins (Manager of Service Accountability and Safeguards), to share tips and information that will help self-advocates stay safe while using the internet and social networks.
“We had a booth set up where we shared information about online safety with a lot of people who stopped by. I must have run through all of the tips and information at least seven times while talking to different people.” she says.
Katrina also attended some of the sessions taking place and says her favourite was called “How The Walls Came Down” and was about the closure of Woodlands.
Jessica Humphrey (CLBC Self-Advocate Advisor), and Sylvie Zebroff, (CLBC Family Partnership Advisor), helped to facilitate a session for self-advocates to build and develop their storytelling abilities.
“Self-advocates were proud and ready to share their stories and expertise. I met a woman who found the space and confidence to use her voice for the first time. She taught me that self-advocacy is about that feeling inside when the world stops to listen to you and you only,” says Jessica.
Sylvie also shared information about a new and exciting project called incommon.tv: “It will be a central hub for people to share stories and find information. It will also be an archive of the Community Living movement over the past 50 years. We held a booth there and people could tell their stories on video.”
Katrina sums up the conference experience: “I met some great people. I got to hear their amazing stories. I even reconnected with someone I’ve known for years but hadn’t seen for a long time. It was really a lot of fun.”