Self advocates, families and service providers had the opportunity to share their stories and experiences with members of CLBC’s Board of Directors during a recent visit to Cranbrook.
Board Chair Tom Christensen and Board members Dave Babych and Eileen Stewart visited the picturesque city as part of an effort to bring board members to communities throughout the province.
“It’s important for us as a Board to hear from local communities about challenges they’re facing, trends they’re seeing and what’s working well for them,” said Tom. “Having this insight is critical when we’re making decisions and planning CLBC’s strategic direction.”
First, they visited the Street Angel initiative run by the Ktunaxa Nation. The traditional territory of the Ktunaxa Nation covers approximately 70,000 square kilometres within the Kootenay region of south-eastern B.C. Street Angel offers a breadth of programs, outreach, referrals and supports to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community members, including individuals CLBC serves.
Board members then visited the Cranbrook Society for Community Living (CSCL), where they saw first-hand the variety of successful programs that CSCL offers, from an employment program, a woodwork shop, a paper shredding business run by the individuals CSCL supports, and a range of residential services. The Blade Runner Shredding Service is owned and operated by CSCL and provides confidential document destruction for local businesses and individuals from Trail to the Alberta border and north to Radium Hot Springs. The service provides on-the-job training and jobs for individuals CSCL supports.
At the CSCL’s community living centre, they saw a visual timeline display of photos and news clippings dating back to CSCL’s inception in the ’50s that illustrated how the community has evolved over time to become more inclusive for people with developmental disabilities.
They also toured a six-unit apartment complex that CSCL owns that provides the opportunity for individuals ready for semi-assisted living to live independently in an integrated environment.
The CLBC Cranbrook office also hosted an open house for self advocates, families and service providers to meet the Board members and share their challenges, ideas and experiences.
“I found it interesting to learn from service providers and local CLBC staff that availability of affordable housing is a challenge in Cranbrook and is not just unique to the Lower Mainland,” said Eileen.
The Board members wrapped up the tour by meeting with the Kootenay Community Council, made up of self advocates, family members, and service providers from across the region.