Community Living BC (CLBC) opens nominations today for its 9th annual Widening Our World (WOW) Awards, which recognize inclusion champions across B.C. who go above and beyond to create inclusive communities for people of all abilities.
The WOW Awards are launched each October as part of Community Living Month, proclaimed by the provincial government as a time to recognize and celebrate the significant contributions people living with developmental disabilities make to our communities year round.
Since 2008, over 50 WOW Awards have been given to people from across B.C. who have found important or innovative ways to make sure adults with developmental disabilities are fully included in all aspects of society.
The theme for this year’s awards is, “What Does Inclusion Look Like in Your Community?” All British Columbians are encouraged to nominate someone who has an unwavering commitment to making sure people with developmental disabilities are welcomed as active participants in their community. Last year more than 40 nominations were received and the following four people were recognized:
- Gibsons – Brian Smith, CEO and founder of Persephone Brewing Company, for his grassroots efforts to build inclusion and create jobs for the people CLBC serves.
- Sooke – Astrid Koenig, parent, volunteer and service provider, for her tireless efforts to ensure self advocates have opportunities for employment, education and community connection.
- Kamloops – Ronnie Bouvier, executive director of the Kamloops Graffiti Task Force, for creating first time employment opportunities (with the help of BC Hydro) for young adults.
- Smithers – Chris Morsund, Chatters Pizzeria and Bistro, for their 15-year commitment to hiring inclusively and setting an example for other small businesses to follow.
Nominations are open from October 18, 2017 to November 30, 2017 and can be accessed on CLBC’s WOW website, www.communitylivingbc.ca/wow. Winners will be determined in December 2017 by a diverse community of individuals served by CLBC, community members, families and CLBC staff. Award winners will be announced early in 2018 and events will be held in the award winners’ home communities.
Community Living BC supports over 20,000 adults with development disabilities, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or Autism Spectrum Disorder across B.C. For more information about CLBC, or for a listing of Community Living Month activities across the province, visit www.communitylivingbc.ca.
Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction
Shane Simpson –
“There are many people across this province – including business owners, local groups and dedicated individuals – who help to create welcoming and inclusive communities every single day and I am truly pleased to recognize them through the WOW Awards. The awards are an opportunity to celebrate diversity and inclusion at the local level and recognize the important contributions people are making to advance the rights and achievements of people with developmental disabilities throughout British Columbia.”
CLBC CEO Seonag Macrae –
“Each year CLBC’s WOW Awards acknowledge people who are inclusion champions; people who are providing the same opportunities for people with diverse abilities as they would anyone else. Recognition and celebration are critical in raising community awareness about the importance of inclusion and we look forward to receiving this year’s nominations.”
Community Living BC