An upcoming family conference is expected to help families find new clarity, hope and opportunity for their lives, as it has done in years past.
Themed “Life in Abundance – Harvesting the Wisdom of Families,” this year’s event features Donna Thomson, former Canadian high commissioner to Britain, and parent of a young man who has a disability.
Donna is the author of a book, The Four Walls of My Freedom, which is both an account of her son’s life and also a moral, philosophical and economic examination of how the value of a life is assessed — especially one that seems, in today’s price-tag culture, to lack worth.
Donna will discuss questions that families who have a child with a disability often wonder about. For example, what if a life was judged not by its monetary worth or possible economic benefit to society, but as a series of complex and rewarding relationships?
What if the act of caring for an elderly relative, a neighbour or a disabled son could be seen not as a burden, but as a gift? What if voluntary caregivers were given financial rewards, tax breaks, and time off work?
Event co-organizer Carol Stinson says she is looking forward to Donna’s presentation, adding she believes it is relevant to the crossroads the developmental services sector in B.C. is facing today.
Carol notes that each of the prior Family Focus conferences resulted in many families recognizing they are not alone with their worries about what the future holds.
“Many families have discovered new ways to support their loved ones, found support from other families and learned to navigate the maze of resources and supports that may be available to them,” Carol tells the BACI Blast.
She adds a key to the effectiveness of the conference is that it is led by families, for families who have a family member with a disability.
The intent of the Family Focus Conferences is also integral to its success.
“Rather than focusing on therapy or ways to ‘fix’ our children, we focus on inclusion, contribution and supporting the whole family,” says Carol.
The Family Focus conference has been held every two years since 2001, and is hosted by a different community living association each time.
This year’s event will be held on October 19 – 21, at the Coast Hotel and Convention Centre in Langley.
To learn more and register to attend, call 604.763.5667, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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