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Inspiring inclusion idea wins award

For co-founder of InclusionWorks! Arlene Zuckernick, just being named in the Top 11 of 466 social-enterprise submissions to BC Ideas’ competition was a surprise — but winning one of the People’s Choice Investment of $15,000 demonstrates people’s hope in their family-governance model.

Announced by BC Ideas on Nov. 28, InclusionWorks! received a second investment of $15,000 for supporting people with developmental disabilities provided by the Province of B.C.’s Ministry of Social Development, for their work promoting community inclusion for young adults with developmental disabilities during a five-year transition.

Their financing model relies on families to pool their resources and collaborate to provide age-appropriate programming, focusing on employment, social, recreational, volunteer and other opportunities in their local communities.

The aim is to provide supports for youth exiting high school and transitioning into adulthood, Arlene says.

“We’re not sustainable yet (so) it’s nice to get these infusions of one-time dollars, it helps a lot,” Arlene says. “Until the system makes it more sustainable for us to go on the long-term, we have a lot of work to do.”

InclusionWorks! is operating in two communities, Victoria and Saanich, and Arlene says they’ll split the investments, and use it to grow their employment, and provide more outreach for other interested parties looking to replicate their financing model.

Her hope is to share this model with people around B.C., if not to a wider audience. They’ve invested venture funds into building a website called www.inclusionworks.ca to support other communities interested in establishing similar family-governance models.

They’re aiming to invest funds in growing their employment goals, as well.

“Employment is an important goal for all of us,” Arlene says, noting the people they support have varying levels of employment readiness.

Supporting their initiatives are many community partners who are eager to be involved with InclusionWorks!, including the University of Victoria, Camosun College and Saanich Parks and Recreation.

Feel free to comment on this story below, or e-mail the writer, Ryan Rogers, at ryan(at)axiomnews.ca.

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