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BCACL developing new advocacy strategy

Self-advocates and families asked to share best practices and hopes for advocacy
Wednesday March 30, 2011 — Kristian Partington

The British Columbia Association for Community Living (BCACL) is developing its new advocacy strategy and hoping people who have a developmental disability and their family members will contribute to the dialogue.

The Road to Inclusion tour will be in Abbotsford on April 4 and Port Coquitlam on April 14. During all stops on the tour, the BCACL wants hear what is working well for people, in terms of advocacy, as well as what hopes are for the future.

Members of the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion are encouraged to share their input.

Colleen Evans, BCACL co-ordinator of membership services and inclusive education, says the input will be part of the overall strategic review process, and will be discussed during the association’s annual general meeting in June.

“We want to speak with our constituents . . . cross the province about what’s important to them and what’s currently working for them; what could be working better and what a good life in the community really means to them,” says Evans.

She says while there are a number of challenges to overcome and times are difficult for many people in the province, the association nonetheless wants to look at their advocacy development from a position of strength.

“We’re definitely taking a strength approach,” she says. “(We want) to find out what’s working well so we can find ways to build on that, but also (we recognize)that there are hard, difficult times, and we still have a long ways to go in terms of full inclusion and citizenship rates for people with developmental disabilities.”

The Road to Inclusion talks began in Victoria in February, and Evans says the turnout then wasn’t as well attended as they had hoped because a snowstorm kept many people from venturing out.

Those who did attend, however, were extremely engaged “and were very vocal and passionate and had really good information to share with us,” she says.

The information is already being used to inform committee work in relation to advocacy development, and with seven more gatherings scheduled between March 31 and the end of April, the hope is a well-informed strategy will develop in support of a more inclusive British Columbia.

If you have a comment to share please contact 800-294-0051, ext. 24, or e-mail kristian(at)axiomnews.ca.

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