“It’s important to have voices from across the province because it helps CLBC to get a better idea of what’s happening, and what people’s ideas and thoughts are,” says Ryan Kenny of Williams Lake, who currently sits on the CLBC Editorial Board. “I have a real interest in news and sharing information with people through social media. Since I was receiving services from CLBC, I thought I could give back by taking part in the Editorial Board and sharing my ideas.”
The CLBC Editorial Board was created in 2013 as a new way for individuals CLBC supports to provide meaningful input into CLBC communications. They have also been asked to provide input into CLBC projects and initiatives, as well as other government programs. The board is currently looking for new members, and CLBC hopes family members can encourage individuals to get involved.
“Being on the Editorial Board helped my son to get out of his box and realize he could do things himself, like fly to Vancouver,” says Linda Shaw, parent of former Editorial Board member Krystian Shaw. “It sparked his independence and made him feel proud of himself. It helped him to be able to express his own ideas and feel listened to.”
The board is made up primarily of self advocates and a few family members and allies from across B.C. They meet in Vancouver three times each year, with a number of subcommittees that meet monthly by phone to focus on specific projects.
Ryan joined the board in 2016 and helped work on publishing the latest edition of Celebrate Diverse ABILITIES magazine, including contributing his own story under the theme of “Good Health and Well-being.” Since 2015, the board has helped publish four editions of the magazine, which is distributed to over 2,500 subscribers across B.C. electronically and in print. It was important to the board members that the new publication should have a more accessible and easy-to-read format, and that it include stories from each region across the province.
“It’s great to see all of the stories coming out from the different regions,” says Ryan. “It’s really a great tool for learning what people are up to in their communities. Readers can see what’s working for people and also learn about what their challenges are. It’s important because there are so many different communities where CLBC provides funding. We can’t possibly know everything that’s happening everywhere, but this magazine helps to show all of that.”
In addition to providing input on CLBC communications and publications, the board has provided input on CLBC’s Advancing New Service Options (ANSO) initiative, and the new CLBC strategic plan. It has also provided feedback to other branches and ministries, including the Ministry of Social Development and Innovation, the Advocate for Service Quality and the Representative for Children and Youth office.
The board has also supported the establishment of a self advocate speakers bureau and a partnership with Self Advocate Net, an independent B.C. website seeking to be a voice for individuals in the province.
For Barb Goode, who was a founding member of the board and served on it until 2015, plain language was a key focus. “It’s really important that people CLBC serves can understand materials and information. Plain language has always been a passion for me and I made sure it was a priority during my time on the board.”
Barb is also proud of the broad range of perspectives included on the Editorial Board, “It has the voices of people with disabilities, their parents and other relatives and caregivers. I think that’s all good of course. We also have people involved even if they aren’t verbal. To me it doesn’t matter what your disability is, as long as we all work together. I think that’s one important message we helped to make people understand.”
Rob Tippe is another new board member who joined in 2016. He brings the perspectives of his self advocate group in Revelstoke and his wife Susanne also joins him at the editorial board meetings. Rob is excited about CLBC consultation with the editorial board members about a new service that is being designed through ANSO. “I’m very happy to see CLBC getting feedback directly from the members of the board on this new service and how to make it better. It’s great to be involved in this and I’m hoping it’s going to benefit people who receive services from CLBC.”
Rob emphasizes the role that the board plays in CLBC’s work, “It’s absolutely important. Everyone should be heard and have their perspectives listened to, and the Editorial Board helps this to happen.”
Do you have a family member who would like to share their ideas with CLBC? Encourage them to consider the CLBC Editorial Board.
The CLBC Editorial Board is looking for new members. This is a one-year position for individuals who are eligible for supports and services from CLBC. Members receive a monthly board fee, and travel expenses for attending meetings in Vancouver three times each year.
To learn more about opportunities to join the editorial board, and to find an online and print application form, please click here.
If you have any questions, please email Jessica.Humphrey@gov.bc.ca.