Disability Awareness Week starts May 29th to June 4th. This year will be very exciting for me.

In Kamloops, we have an event every year called FunFest to kick off the summer, hosted by Options and Opportunities, a day program that helps adults with physical and developmental disabilities. This year FunFest will be held during Disability Awareness Week on June 3rd. I am very happy to announce that the Kamloops Self-Advocate Newsletter with me as the founder, will be hosting the Disability Awareness Week booth! I will have a table there to promote disability awareness during the FunFest. The theme for Disability Awareness Week is employment enables inclusion all across Canada! I’m excited for change and this year I am a part of it.

I am excited about this because Disability Awareness Week is very important to me for many reasons. It’s important because we need to reduce stigma and discrimination regarding all disabilities including mental health issues. It’s beneficial that we showcase success stories too and show what mental illness is really like and It’s good to remind people it’s not okay to stigmatize each other regarding disabilities. It’s not right to make fun of people with disabilities and ridicule them and bully them! Having a disability is beyond their control and is not their fault. Show compassion! We need to remember we are people first and not our label. “Label Jars not people!” This Disability Awareness Week we are going to stomp out stigma!

At Funfest, there will be booths, information regarding different disabilities, a BBQ with affordable food choices, and presentations throughout the day. This is a family event, and can be a useful experience for those who would like to learn more about disabilities from those who have personal experience.

At my booth, there will be brochures provided by Partners for Mental Health. There will be a volunteer as well named Danielle from Partners for Mental Health to share info too. Community Living BC will be providing me with materials from the “Start with Hi” campaign as well as “Ready Willing, and Able” brochures. There will be Mood Disorders brochures too so many disabilities are covered. Anyone who has questions about any kind of disability, whether it’s physical, developmental or involves mental illness, many volunteers as well as myself will be ready to answer. CNIB, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, will be coming with simulation goggles to the booth, which will let you see what it is like to be visually impaired.

FunFest will be held on June 3rd from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm at Mc Donald park in Kamloops. I will be going at midday; to promote Disability Awareness Week. Anyone who is able to attend, please come and join us for fun and an informative day!

By Krystian Shaw

Some useful links:

Partners for Mental Health

http://www.partnersformh.ca/

Mood Disorders Association of BC.

http://www.mdabc.net/