It’s Community Inclusion Month and a self-advocate advisor and support worker in Williams Lake is inviting everyone take part in a celebration on Friday, Oct. 26 to mark the occasion.
“I started working with the Williams Lake Association of Community Living when I was about 21 and then I left to have my kids, and then I came back and have been there since 1995,” said Laura Klassen who knows how important inclusion is.
“I have a nephew that has down syndrome and a brother-in-law that was profoundly mentally handicapped, and for me my passion is trying to make our communities more inclusive to people that have intellectual disabilities because as you know the history is that they were removed and put into insane asylums, and we’re trying to get a movement going forward that is inclusive so they are included in all aspects of life.”
Formerly known as Community Living Month, Community Inclusion Month was proclaimed by the Province on October 1st to more clearly reflect the vision for inclusion across the province
“The self-advocate group is really quite active throughout the province and we’ve done lots of projects with other areas and for other companies,” Klassen said.
“We also now have a person with an intellectual disability, Linda Evans who is also a self-advocate, on the Accessibility Community so that voice is going to be heard there and that’s wonderful.”
Klassen adds they will be working a pilot project next month mapping inclusive places and those that offer support and help in Williams Lake.
“We want it complete by the spring,” she said.
“When you start to map what happens is you get a really good look at your community and all of the great places to be and all of the people that are really an asset.”
A celebration for Community Inclusion Day will take place at the Long House in Williams Lake on Friday, Oct. 26 from 11 am to 1 pm with a free pizza lunch and fun games.