Five exceptional inclusion champions are being recognized for helping their communities more fully include the adults CLBC serves through the seventh annual Widening Our World (WOW) Awards. The five were chosen out of 50 extraordinary nominees for their efforts to build awareness of inclusion, increase accessibility and access to community and social networks, and encourage and support diversity in employment.
Since 2009, CLBC has presented WOW Awards to recognize British Columbians who are creating opportunities for full citizenship for people with developmental disabilities, where they lead good lives, have rich relationships, choices in how they live, and employment opportunities. The 2015 nomination process invited British Columbians to nominate someone they think is helping to build communities where the adults CLBC serves feel welcome, valued and respected.
The 2015 winners were chosen by an evaluation committee of community and family members, CLBC community council members, CLBC staff, service providers and individuals served by CLBC. This year’s winners are:
- Adam Irwin-Gunn for his tireless volunteer work, support of the self-advocacy movement and raising awareness of what it is like to live with autism – Victoria
- Chris Weekes for helping the people CLBC serves build support networks and skills through music – Powell River
- Garth McCreedy for mentoring and supporting individuals to gain confidence and connections both in and outside the workplace – Chilliwack
- Shelley De Coste for launching the Diversabilities campaign to shift attitudes about the ability of the individuals CLBC serves – Kelowna
- Kelowna Sunrise Rotary for supporting the people CLBC serves to develop skills and find employment – Kelowna
The awards will be handed out and celebrated in each winner’s home town in February and March. Nominations of inclusion champions were submitted throughout Community Living Month in October. This year’s awards required each nomination to include a photo reflecting local inclusion efforts. To see photos submitted from many different B.C. communities, and for more information about the WOW Awards visit www.communitylivingbc.ca/wowawards.
Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Michelle Stilwell
“My congratulations to the five winners of this year’s WOW Awards. Whether you’re a volunteer, a mentor, a self-advocate or an inclusive employer, you’re all helping to break down barriers and make our communities more inclusive. Our goal is to make B.C. the most progressive place in Canada for people with disabilities, and the WOW Awards recognize those who are helping us to meet that goal.”
Seonag Macrae, CEO, Community Living BC
“I want to congratulate the Award winners and all of the people who were nominated this year. It is clear from the nominations received there is a wealth of innovative ideas, activities and initiatives being spearheaded by community champions across the province. These efforts not only raise awareness about inclusion, but help everyone see that through our individual acceptance of diversity, our communities become richer and more vibrant places to live.”