unnamedFor the past 5 years the Fraser CLBC staff and local members of the self advocacy community partner to plan and co-host a one day conference for individuals living with diverse abilities in the Fraser region.

The planning committee works hard connecting with individuals throughout the area to find out what topics and activities would develop their leadership skills.

This year the 2015 conference was organized around the theme, Building a Community of Healthy Relationships.

The event was held at the Shadbolt Arts Centre in Burnaby and had a record high attendance of 110 people.

Speakers included the Delta Community Living Self Advocacy Group, and a panel of 4 individuals who volunteered to share what they have learned about building healthy relationships in their own lives. Jerry Laidlaw was one of the panelists who shared his story.

Here is what he had to say. Good relationships are important in my life because they help me to be happy and motivated.

When there are good people in my life I want to do things and experience new things. Having different relationships means having people in my life who like to do different things and activities I might not have tried before.

I made some friends at my book club and now we are going to travel to Chicago together for a book club conference.

I never thought I’d be part of a book club but I thought I’d try it anyway so I could meet new people.
A healthy relationship is when you feel comfortable and good about yourself with the other person.

You often have the same interests. You feel happy and you feel safe and trust when you are in a healthy relationship.

Your body can even tell you when you don’t trust someone.

If you get that feeling in yourself that you don’t trust the person anymore you should find a way to end the relationship.
The relationships that are important to me right now are my family like my sister and brother-in-law and my friends who I trust and who want to spend time together.

Jerry Laidlaw, 2015 Fraser Self Advocacy Conference.

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