by Gerald Oesch (originally published on SelfAdvocateNet.com)
Hello, my name is Gerald Oesch from Chilliwack B.C. I am the newest member of the CLBC Editorial Board. I’m very happy to be joining this board. I am also the new Vice President of BC People First where we work to make sure that people with a developmental disabilities are respected and included in communities as full citizens. You can learn more about BC People First here: www.bcpeoplefirst.com. I’m a proud Mount Cheam Lion member too.
Here’s a little bit about my life.
I was born on October 8, 1966 in Chilliwack General Hospital. I went to little Mountain Elementary School. I was in a special class for slow learners and then later on I got a lot older and went to Chilliwack Junior High. I was bullied a lot then. Later, I attended Chilliwack Senior High. It was better in high school. The odd student would call me names. In the winter I was hit by snow balls a lot. There was one person at school that stood up to one of the bullies and told him to stop. He did, and after that I wasn’t bullied again.
In 1985, I graduated from grade 12 vocational basic class. Later on I got a job in the laundry business. I ran washing machines for at least 10 years. Later on I gave up that job and I now work at the Chilliwack Society for Community Living as a maintenance assistant for almost six years now. I love my job and the staff that I work with. I also work at the City of Chilliwack as a contractor sweeping parking lots and recycling.
I live in an apartment building called Fair View Apartments. I have a support worker and she helps me a lot with shopping and paying bills. I am married but now separated. We still see each other at times, but we don’t live together now.
I know that people are still bullied and sometimes don’t feel safe in their own communities, but I do think things have changed for the better over the years for people with diverse abilities. For me, I have jobs that I love and my own apartment, and I enjoy being a self advocate.