Inclusion in Powell River: A community that supports each other

CLBC Board members and staff visited Powell River to meet people and families CLBC supports, along with community partners and service providers Strive Living Society and Inclusion Powell River.

Members of CLBC’s Board of Directors recently visited picturesque Powell River during Community Inclusion Month.

They visited the Jean Pike Centre, named after a parent and early advocate for inclusion, where Inclusion Powell River runs a CLBC-funded community inclusion program. Board Chair Michael Prince and directors David Everett, Diane Friedman and Eileen Stewart were greeted by the smiling faces of supported individuals and staff doing a morning exercise routine – Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ to the Oldies workout video. Down the hall, they checked out individuals’ art work and the art room where it’s all created.

Later they visited Strive Living Society’s community inclusion program, where they joined individuals and staff for coffee and an opportunity to chat.

“The community in Powell River impressed me as very tightly-knit with a long history of inclusion,” said Diane Friedman. “The people we met with are all clearly very proud of their accomplishments, rightfully so, and the beautiful area in which they live.”

Board members also visited two staffed residential homes – one run by Strive Living where the two CLBC-supported men who have lived together for 10 years showed how they communicate with each other and their support staff using images on an electronic tablet and a laminated booklet.

The other staffed residential home they visited is owned by BC Housing with staffed support by service provider Inclusion Powell River. Four individuals moved there in June and the new home better meets their accessibility needs and will allow them to age in place. Three use wheelchairs, and have special equipment installed to assist them with getting in and out of bed and the bathtub. The staff noted the individuals love to get out into Powell River’s great outdoors at a nearby lake, which has accessible paths.

Back at the Jean Pike Centre, there is a centre within it called Arc Community Event Centre. Board members met self advocates, families and service providers for a lunch and presentation on the history of the community living movement in Powell River.  The former church space builds inclusion by bringing community members in for various events such as luncheons, yoga classes and art shows. Along the walls of the centre are framed historical photos of people with developmental disabilities who lived in Powell River.

“Each community is unique, and I was very interested to learn more about the history of the community living movement in Powell River and the people who paved a path forward to make it the more inclusive place it is today,” said Board Chair Michael Prince.

This visit to Powell River was part of an ongoing series of provincial visits and service tours made by CLBC board members. The tours are part of the Board’s commitment to listen and learn in order to assist them in guiding the Crown corporation. In 2018, Board members have also visited Castlegar, Courtenay/Campbell River, and are planning to visit Surrey in October.

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