VERNON – Katie Moore is being recognized with a Widening Our World (WOW) award from Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) for her work to make Vernon more accessible through her creation of the Okanagan Accessibility Group.
Katie is a passionate and committed leader in Vernon and beyond. She created the Okanagan Accessibility Group in 2016 when she started regularly using a wheelchair and found there were many barriers to her fully accessing her community. The group provides recognition to local businesses that are accessible by awarding them a decal to let other people know the business has accommodations for mobility, hearing or vision challenges. Katie has met with municipalities throughout the Okanagan encouraging them to make recreational areas, like parks, more easily accessed by people with diverse abilities.
Katie was nominated by Julie Armitage from Vernon Music Therapy. Katie will be presented with a WOW Award surrounded by her friends and family in October during Community Inclusion Month.
Katie is one of five WOW award winners who are making inclusion a reality for people with developmental disabilities. The other winners are:
- Princeton – Gloria Gagnon, service provider. Gloria was nominated for empowering people who are living with diverse abilities for over 16 years. Gloria is a strong advocate for inclusive employment and making her community more diverse and accepting of everyone.
- Kamloops – Krystian Shaw, self advocate. Krystian is a strong voice for inclusion in Kamloops and beyond. Krystian is owner and founder of The Kamloops Self Advocate Newsletter and has recently started his own podcast showcasing success stories to help reduce stigma and discrimination of all people.
- Surrey – Tara Roberts, community member. Tara has worked with the City of Surrey’s Accessibility and Inclusion department for over 10 years and has been championing inclusion for over 15 years by helping to build more inclusive hiring practices throughout Surrey.
- Salt Spring Island – Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue, community members. Spring Island Fire Rescue has set an example of inclusion by welcoming a CLBC supported individual, CJ, into the “fire hall family” for the past 16 years. Staff and volunteers fully involve CJ in a variety of duties at the fire hall, as well as activities, fundraisers and celebrations in community.
CLBC has presented WOW awards since 2009 to recognize inclusion champions who are helping to build communities where everyone is valued, respected and has opportunities to contribute. CLBC received over 60 nominations and winners were chosen by an evaluation committee of community members, CLBC Community Council members, CLBC staff and people served by CLBC.
Katie Moore, WOW Award Winner
“I am excited and happy to be a WOW Award winner. I believe that everyone should be able to go into their local store or park no matter what their abilities are. To be a part of a community means you have full access to your community. The Okanagan Accessibility Group works hard to make sure that communities in B.C. are more accessible for everyone, giving people the ability to fully participate in their community. I am proud of what we have been able to do as a group and honoured to be recognized.”
Julie Armitage, WOW Award Nominator
“Nominating Katie for a WOW Award was an honour. She is truly a leader and champion of accessibility and inclusivity. Katie and the Okanagan Accessibility Group have done so much to help make our community a better place for everyone and I am thrilled she is being recognized with a provincial award for her hard work and dedication.”
Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson
“I would like to congratulate Katie on her WOW award. Through the creation of the Okanagan Accessibility Group, Katie has been helping to break down barriers for people with disabilities in her community. Her advocacy for people living with disabilities is helping to create an accessible B.C. that doesn’t limit people’s participation in their lives and in their communities.”
Ross Chilton, CLBC CEO
“I want to congratulate the Award winners and all of the people who were nominated this year. There are a wealth of innovative initiatives taking place across the province to make our communities more inclusive. Katie has been a strong voice for accessibility, independence and inclusion I am proud of her achievements and the work of the Okanagan Accessibility Group.”
Community Living BC