by Krystian Shaw

 

Participants at the Nelson Farmer’s Market celebrate Community Living Month.This October is Community Living Month. It means a lot to me because it’s a time to raise issues important to us like mental health and diverse abilities.

 

We all have diverse abilities and it’s time to focus on what’s important in community living. One in five Canadians can get a mental illness – it’s a fact. We are not dangerous. We just have something we can’t control like other people can. It’s important to realize we all can be productive members of society and can make great employees and friends and be a great boyfriend or girlfriend to someone. We all can live like anyone else can. We should be treated with respect and shown compassion.

 

Be caring and please don’t let people with diversabilities scare you. Community Living Month in October is a great time to educate you on these things. We all can get sick with physical health and mental health. We all have both types of  health.

 

I’m so excited about how inclusion has given us opportunities in life we have never had before. I have choices in what I want to do, where I want to live, work and play. Even 10 years ago, the same opportunities were not there. After my mom can no longer live with me for support, I have a future plan that CLBC wrote down way in advance as to what I want in my life. My choice is to have an adult roommate who does not have disabilities to live with me for support. Other people may choose homeshare. That’s what’s great about having inclusion in our community.  We can make our own choices regardless of our disability and we all have confidence in knowing there are support services out there so our choices will be a success and enrich our lives to the fullest.  Doctors told my mom I would never be able to read or write; yet I can do both. I can read really fast and I am a great speller.

 

I wanted a job so with support from CLBC, they felt it was important to tailor a job that fits  me. I suggested doing a newsletter for people with diverse abilities. My goal was to stomp out stigma and to make known to others that ones with developmental disabilities have far more abilities than people think.  There were people who didn’t think I could run my own newsletter with the challenges I have in life,  But after a few months of it being successful, I was asked if I wanted to make it into a business for profit. I said sure and the rest is history. I’ve been doing it for a year now and I give out about 100 newsletters so far each month. Advertisers help with the expenses and the more advertisers I get the more profit I will make. So now I have my job. It’s slow going at first but with the support I get from different agencies, I know my business will grow more and more each year. I can do anything I set my mind to, with the proper supports in place and so can you. That’s why community living month is so important to me. We can live among others within the community and have the same opportunities in life.