BACI members, families and staff participate in June 27 event
Tuesday July 31, 2012 — Camille Jensen
BURNABY, B.C. – Participants of a recent Appreciative Inquiry (AI) conversation aimed at discovering best practices to employ people who have a developmental disability are praising the process.
The AI conversation took place during Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI)’s general meeting June 27, and engaged more than 50 people including people supported by BACI, staff and families.
The process asked participants to take part in small group conversations to answer “appreciative” questions recalling and imagining inclusive employment at its best. The conversations were facilitated by a table host who recorded the key insights and learnings.
A BACI member shares insights from his group conversation with the more than 50 participants.
“I think it was very productive,” says Jake Anthony, a 19-year old actor and BACI member attending the event.
“Everybody was very honest and very open and willing to share personal experiences and what worked for them.”
The goal of the AI conversations, which are being held across the province, is to discover best practices when creating employment for people who have a disability. These insights will be compiled and processed to form a community action employment plan to be unveiled in October.
The three-year employment action plan, championed by Community Living British Columbia, has a goal to make British Columbia the North American leader in employing people who have a disability.
“This is a wonderful thing for our province,” says Ramone Gabba, a home-sharing provider, who participated in the AI process.
He says the conversations are part of a larger trend he’s witnessing that sees people who have a disability gain confidence and respect in their capabilities. It’s another sign of how people who have a disability “are going up and up every day,” adds Ramone.
AI questions helped participants connect and share positive experiences about when they’ve been able to change perceptions.
Teri Kanner is a new BACI staff member who particpated, working in sales and administration at BC Woodworks, BACI’s social enterprise. For Teri, the conversations helped her connect with more people at BACI, as well as share her own experience.
The conversation and questions was amazing,” she says.
“It meant a lot to be part of this meeting, which is sort of like sitting around and having dinner and sharing stories.”
Kevin Lusignan, BACI’s senior manager of social and economic inclusion, says you could sense the energy in room, which he attributed to the AI process and its focus on what’s working as opposed to problems.
“It looks to see what’s the positive core of something is and once you identify that, than you can grow it,” says Kevin.
BACI member Jake adds that if the AI conversations spanning across the province are anything like BACI’s, only good things can come.
“If there is many people like this group that are willing to open up and to really express themselves, and to express what they’ve seen and what they’ve gone through and what they need to succeed — if there are many people willing to do this, then I believe it will work.”
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