SURREY – Tara Roberts, Manager of Support Services and Accessibility with the City of Surrey, is being recognized with a Widening Our World (WOW) award from Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) for her leadership in championing inclusion both at work and in her community.
Tara has worked for over a decade in Accessibility and Inclusion for the City of Surrey. During this time, she has brought to the city projects that go above and beyond to support community members with disabilities. This includes creating B.C.’s first sensory-friendly spaces during events, at the Grandview Aquatics Centre and the Museum of Surrey; partnerships with the Rick Hansen Foundation; ensuring Surrey was the city with the highest participation in the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program; and encouraging adaptive sport at all levels, including helping to bring to Surrey the Canucks Autism Network 10th Birthday Festival, the international Goalball Grandslam 2019 & 2020 and the Special Olympics Summer Games 2021.
Fostering relationships between partners is also a crucial part of the work Tara does to build inclusion. She co-chairs the Measuring Up Committee, ensures an inclusion lens is considered in the work done through the Emergency Social Services program, participates every year in organizing and hosting the Inclusive Employer Awards and helps ensure city staff are prepared to support people with diverse abilities with an Autism spectrum disorder customer service video she developed in partnership with the Canucks Autism Network and the Vancouver Parks Board.
Tara is being presented with her WOW award at the 5th annual Inclusive Employer Awards where she can be celebrated and surrounded by co-workers, friends and partners from the various organizations she works with in Surrey and the surrounding communities.
Tara 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 this year and winners were chosen by an evaluation committee of community members, CLBC community council members, CLBC staff and people served by CLBC.
Tara Roberts, City of Surrey, WOW Award Winner
“It’s such an honour to receive this award. Inclusion is very important, and I believe building community, and connecting with one another is something everyone should and can contribute to. This has been a collaborative effort and I thank all my partners and co-workers for their work to ensure that people with diverse abilities are recognized in their community for their abilities, their strengths and their contributions.”
Karin Pasqua, WOW Award Nominator
“Tara makes me feel that anything is possible, that “Big Hairy Audacious Goals” are not only possible, but achievable. She truly makes me feel that if Surrey can take this on, then any municipality can – all you need is the goal and the idea. Tara doesn’t have a “reason” for promoting accessibility – she just simply understands that we all deserve to be and feel included and works to ensure that everyone understands this ideology. She makes me proud to work and live in Surrey.”
Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson
“I would like to congratulate Tara on her WOW award. Through her work with the City of Surrey and in the community, Tara has been a leader in making her community more accessible and inclusive for people living with disabilities. The initiatives Tara has launched, including the implementation of more inclusive hiring practices, are contributing to making the province one 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. Tara truly exemplifies leadership in showing what inclusion looks like to her community, and I thank her for her dedication and commitment.”
Community Living BC