PRINCETON – Gloria Gagnon was recognized with a Widening Our World (WOW) award from Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) for her exceptional contribution to developing community services that build independence and connect people to their community.
Gloria works for Princeton and District Community Services Society as an employment development and self-help supervisor. She has been doing this work for 16 years. Gloria doesn’t stop helping people when she goes home from work. She advocates for people on her off hours, holds parties so people can build connections, provides supports to help people stay in touch with their families, and has invited people to come with her on vacations to help expand their horizons, learning and networks. Gloria includes the people she supports within her wider community, creating opportunities for her friends to become friends with the people she supports.
Gloria was nominated by her colleague, Becky Vermette. Gloria was presented with a WOW Award surrounded by her friends and family on October 4 during Community Inclusion Month.
Gloria 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.
- 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.
Gloria Gagnon, WOW Award Winner
“I am honoured to be recognized for something I am passionately committed to and I am proud of what we at PDCS have been able to do to make our community more inclusive. We believe that everyone should be included, actively engaged, supported and contributing in their community. I am proud to live and work in Princeton; a community that welcomes and encourages social connections and opportunities for people regardless of their abilities.”
Becky Vermette, WOW Award Nominator
“I am proud to be Gloria’s friend and colleague. Nominating her for a WOW Award was a no brainer. Gloria is a leader and champion of accessibility and inclusivity. She has 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 Gloria on her WOW award. Gloria’s focus on social inclusion is a key factor in helping to make communities more accessible, ” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “By creating opportunities for people with disabilities to build connections, friendships, and networks with others, she is helping to create a province that is barrier free and doesn’t limit people’s participation in their lives and 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. Gloria truly exemplifies leadership in showing what inclusion looks like and I thank her for her dedication and commitment.”
Community Living BC