On a recent tour to the communities of Abbotsford and Langley, members of CLBC’s Board of Directors and its CEO heard first-hand from individuals, families, service providers and CLBC staff about efforts to improve the lives of those CLBC serves.
Board members Onkar Biring, Kathy Bright and Marnie Larson, and CEO Ross Chilton, began the day visiting the MSA Society’s day program in Abbotsford. Each day, individuals meet at the centre before they head out to various activities in the community. MSA Society’s programs focus on building skills and confidence in the community.
Next, the Board members and Ross attended presentations in Abbotsford about local initiatives and were joined by members of CLBC’s Upper Fraser Community Council. CLBC staff, an individual and a family member who deliver CLBC Welcome Workshops spoke about the impact they’ve been seeing in the first year of the workshops. These workshops provide information about adulthood, local community resources, planning options and CLBC services.
They heard the workshops are helping families meet and share information about how to build a natural support network for their loved ones. One CLBC staff member spoke about how much she has learned from the individual and family member she co-presents with in the workshops, which has helped to enrich her role as a facilitator.
“It was encouraging to hear that families who at first thought their family member wouldn’t be able to accomplish some goals or activities, were able to really see the possibilities by the end of the Welcome Workshops,” said Marnie.
The Self Advocate Conference Planning Committee, which is supported by CLBC, also presented and discussed how the conference brings self advocates together in the region to create friendships, share ideas and build confidence. The Self Advocates Conference has empowered self advocates to lead and teach each other about self advocacy in their communities.
They also heard a presentation over lunch from CLBC staff about their local partnership with the Fraser Health Authority.
The afternoon took them to Langley, where they heard a presentation from Inclusion Langley about its pilot of CLBC’s new L.I.F.E.-based service. Individuals and families participating in the pilot spoke about the difference the service has already made in their lives. They felt supports have helped them land new jobs, travel more independently by bus and make new friends.
“The new L.I.F.E.-based service that is being piloted is a great example of where we want to be heading as an organization to provide new options for people,” said Kathy. “As one presenter put it, her daughter is in the driver’s seat of her own life now.”