Inspiring keynote by Paul Gauthier, awards presentation among highlights
Friday September 23, 2011 — Camille Jensen
BURNABY, B.C. — The Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) held its 55th annual general meeting last night (AGM), an evening that celebrated the organization’s core strengths: innovation, people and inclusion.
Paul Gauthier was the keynote speaker and shared with the approximately 30 people in attendance his inspiring life journey that continues to amaze. The four-time Paralympian in the sport of boccia started his life in a foster home, as a teenager moved into a group home, and then went on to challenge pre-conceived notions of disability by living on his own during college. He later joined a British Columbia government committee where his experience and ability helped usher in individualized funding options from the Ministry of Health in 1994.
Paul’s most recent achievement involves founding the Inclusive Technologies Co-op, a member-owned co-op that aims to provide people who have a disability with affordable, quality assisted technologies and services.
“This external report validates what we all know and experience BACI to be — an innovative , collaborative highly effective leader organization that places people with disabilities and their families first,” said Merrilyn, adding she feels grateful to continue serving as president.
“Together, we will soar.”
Co-executive director Richard Faucher shared what he felt was most profound from the year. Richard said BACI aims to understand how people feel about their quality of life. In 2011, BACI launched the Quality of Life Project, which interviewed 82 people supported by BACI about their quality of life, providing revealing results, according to Richard.
“The results were good. I think we are very good at taking good care of people’s basic needs but people told us that we need to improve around inclusion, around relationships, around self-determination,” said Richard. “We have some work to do over the next few years to totally meet people’s needs.”
Self-advocate Gerry Juzenas shared the work he’s doing to ensure people who lived at Woodlands institution receive proper compensation. After writing letters to B.C. Premier Christy Clark and the attorney general, Gerry connected with NDP leader Adrian Dix, who mentioned the issue in a recent address, and ensured Gerry the issue would be heard in government.
Three awards were handed to long-time BACI supporters. Rachel Goddyn received the Lifetime Member award, Shannon LeClair the Volunteer of the Year award, and Tyrone Henesey the Marvin Germaine Award.
The evening ended with the induction of the 2011-2012 BACI board of directors.
— More to come
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