The LifeStreams program offered by the Garth Homer Society in Victoria is designed to support learning and development for adults with diverse abilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when many organizations moved to online supports, LifeStreams wanted to take it even further. They created a whole new online hub to support the people they serve, but also others with diverse abilities and the broader community. The new site is called LifeStreams Online and it aims to be an accessible one-stop hub where adults with diverse abilities can learn, find resources, stay engaged and connect virtually. Visit the site at Lifestreams.ca.
Ken Bradford, Tawnya Jones and Taylor Bigrigg are Client Consultants with the Garth Homer Society. They use their life experience and expertise to help improve services and supports and helped create LifeStreams Online. Ken, Tawnya and Taylor share advice and explain how LifeStreams Online has helped them stay resilient during the pandemic.
“LifeStreams Online is about advocacy and how to advocate for yourself or as a group. It has resources and events with different activities for different interests, like yoga with Maria, dancing with Joanne, or coffee break hang outs. There’s even karaoke bingo too.
It’s important for self advocates who might be scared to reach out to something like this. It’s important because people with disabilities are often shunned and might not know where to go for help.
My advice on staying safe and strong: If you feel alone, dial 211* and there will be somebody on the other end of the line. Reach out, don’t close yourself down. Reach out to your friends, your doctor, your neighbour and stay within your chosen group (bubble).”
*bc211 is a non-profit organization that specializes in providing free information and referrals regarding community, government and social services in B.C.
“LifeStreams Online allows people and staff to get information about things more easily and efficiently with one website instead of searching the internet for answers. It’s important for people to have a good source to go to if they have questions. And also having things to do during the day really helps me get through these days.
I started dancing every Monday afternoon and let me tell you, it feels great to dance. I also do trivia champions which makes me feel smart. Even though they are on Zoom, I’m still part of the LifeStreams family and it feels great!
My advice on staying safe and strong: I’ve had nights where I’ve cried myself to sleep. I talked to a specialist about this and he told me it’s very common to cry. It releases stress. So, my advice would have to be, cry if you have to. Because, believe me, I felt a lot better after releasing that tension. In fact, cry like no one is there.”
“LifeStreams Online is all about abilities and easy access. It’s fun and informative and it has updated information on COVID like how to stay safe and not spread the virus. I stay strong by being positive and staying six feet apart and washing my hands and wearing a mask.
My advice on staying safe and strong: Use online video calls to see your family. That will help you to feel happy.”
Jen Thorndale, Program Leader of LifeStreams
“It has been wonderful working with Tawnya, Ken and Taylor and our other fabulous consultants. They all bring so much to the table, sharing their ideas and insights, and really kept us on track as the website came together. LifeStreams Online will continue to evolve and we’re so happy to be able to work with self advocates to make the site work for everyone.”