On October 17, 2017, Community Living BC (CLBC) Board members Onkar Biring, Dan Smith and Mike Watson visited Richmond to learn about some of the supports provided in that community, and to talk to individuals, family members, service providers and community partners. Their visit is part of the Board’s direct outreach in community to support their decision-making and leadership in guiding the work of CLBC.
The visit began with a presentation by Richmond Society for Community Living (RSCL) Executive Director, Janice Barr, who briefed the Board members on their organization, and their HandyCrew and Avenues programs. HandyCrew is a co-op employment program that currently employs 43 people; Avenues is RSCL’s community inclusion program that involves a range of activities, including employment and the opportunity for people to make and sell their art.
“It is so exciting to see the passion and commitment of the people who serve individuals and families,” said Mike. “What is especially gratifying is that while CLBC serves thousands of people, each and every person we met is focused on meeting the needs and goals of the individual.”
The next stop on the tour was the Bridgeport community inclusion program run by Western Human Resources (WHR). The program is unique as people meet in the morning and then go out into community to participate in various recreation and employment activities; people involved in the program shared their employment stories with the Board members. The program is also unique as WHR has worked with their staff to schedule the program so it is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. so it is flexible for the individuals’ complex needs.
The last visit, before the Board members completed their visit by meeting with CLBC staff and the Richmond Community Council, was to Camsell House, a staffed residence run by the Developmental Disability Association (DDA). The home supports seniors with developmental disabilities who have increasing needs. Dan, Onkar and Mike had a chance to interact with the residents and also with Aether, a robot designed by JDQ Systems Inc., a robotics firm, UBC and SFU researchers, and Mitac, a non-profit organization. Aether is being piloted at Camsell to see if a robot can be developed to help people with simple tasks, such as medication reminders; the researchers are working with the staff and residents to test and design the robot. You can read more about Aether, by clicking here.
“We need to pool our resources and our creativity to help improve people’s quality of life,” said Dan. “It’s about collaboration and teamwork. Everyone has something to contribute.”