KAMLOOPS – Krystian Shaw is being recognized with a Widening Our World (WOW) award from Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) for his leadership in championing inclusion in his community of Kamloops and beyond.
Krystian is the owner and founder of The Kamloops Self Advocate Newsletter, and in September 2019 he celebrated the sixth anniversary of his newsletter. Krystian has used his newsletter as a platform to raise awareness about mental health, diverse abilities and leadership in the self-advocate movement.
Krystian is now launching a new program called the Ability Friendly Accessible Business Program that aims to improve relationships between businesses and people with unique mental and physical challenges in the Kamloops area by recognizing businesses that are accepting and supportive of people with diverse backgrounds, whether they are customers or employees.
Krystian was nominated by his best friend, Ben Johnson. Krystian will be presented with a WOW Award after he performs at the ‘Stand Up for Mental Health’ comedy show in Kamloops on October 10.
Krystian is one of five WOW award winners who are making inclusion a reality for people with developmental disabilities. The other winners are:
- Vernon – Katie Moore, self advocate. Katie created the Okanagan Accessibility group when she needed to regularly start using a wheelchair and found there were many barriers to her accessing her community. Katie has met with municipalities throughout the Okanagan to talk to them about accessibility and to encourage them to make recreational areas, like parks, more easily accessed by people with diverse abilities.
- 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.
- 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.
Krystian Shaw, WOW Award Winner
“I am so excited that I won a WOW Award. Being a part of the community is very important to me. My goal is to stomp out stigma and discrimination and to empower people to have a strong voice. Inclusion for people with all abilities makes our community better, giving people a sense of belonging and acceptance. I love living in Kamloops, I feel included and as a community, we all look out for one another and want everyone to succeed.”
Ben Johnson, WOW Award Nominator
“I am so happy that Krystian won a WOW Award. He deserves it. Krystian works hard to make more people aware of what inclusion is and what it should look like. Krystian never gives up and is a loud voice for people with diverse abilities. He is my best friend and I am proud of him.”
Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson
“I would like to congratulate Krystian on his WOW award. Krystian’s work on The Kamloops Self Advocate Newsletter and the Ability Friendly Accessible Business Program is helping to make Kamloops a more inclusive place for everyone. Advocacy like Krystian’s demonstrates that together we can create a province that’s barrier free and 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. Krystian truly exemplifies leadership in showing what inclusion looks like and I thank him for his dedication and commitment.”
Community Living BC