Community Living BC Board members Jane Holland, Diane Friedman and Eileen Stewart helped celebrate Community Living Month in Kelowna with visits to inclusive employers, an arts program and open house. They met with self-advocates and service providers as part of the Board’s efforts to go to communities around the province.
“These regional tours have been valuable to us as Board members,” said Eileen. “We appreciate hearing from people in their own community and see first hand what is working and what is not. We are able to meet people who are doing wonderful things to make our province more inclusive for everyone.”
The first visit of the day was a tour of inclusive employer, Spider Agile Technology, to meet employee and self-advocate, Bret Boychuk who showed off his high tech and impressive workplace. After visiting Spider, Board members visited Dale Froese for a formal coffee tasting at his inclusive workplace, Starbucks. Dale has been working at Starbucks for almost 10 years and will be celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary later this year.
“Visiting Bret and Dale and seeing what they do in their workplace was a great opportunity for us,” said Diane. “Both of these workplaces are making a positive difference by always finding ways to make sure their staff are excelling and are part of the team.”
Board members also hosted an open house and Community Living Month celebration where they met with self-advocates, service providers, staff and families. Stories and ideas were shared, inclusion and diversity were celebrated providing many ideas to bring back to the rest of the Board.
After lunch a quick visit was paid to tour the inclusive art program, ‘Cool Arts,’ where Jane, Diane and Eileen were able to enjoy the artwork and sit down with Executive Director, Rena Warren, to hear about inclusion in Kelowna’s art community.
“I really enjoyed meeting with Rena and hearing about the various art programs that Cool Arts organizes,” said Jane. “Their universal classes allow for creative expression, independence and community integration. There is no shortage of amazing things going on with this program that I think other communities could really adopt and benefit from.”
This is the second year where small groups of CLBC’s Board members are visiting local communities across the province to connect directly with service providers, individuals, families and CLBC staff to learn about regional diversity and service delivery.