By Kristian Shaw (Kamloops, B.C.)

September was an exciting month. It has been 5 years since I started my own business. I was told most new businesses don’t last more than 5 years.

So I felt September was a month to celebrate. I have developmental disabilities and so I started my own business working with other’s who also have challenges.

My business is called The Kamloops self-advocate Newsletter. At a time when media in Kamloops is struggling, I’m proud to say my newsletter is growing and thriving. So I had a 5th year anniversary party celebration. I felt it was important to have a private party for all my contributors. Without the help from others, this business endeavour wouldn’t have been possible. We all worked hard to bring the newsletter together.

There were 10 people there. I gave them all an appreciation certificate for all their help in writing articles that shared their positive experiences in life.

The fact that most of them have diverse-abilities too shows others what we can do, not what we can’t do.  That was the whole purpose of me starting the newsletter in the first place. We all had a great time. Then 2 days later, I had a public celebration inviting all my advertisers, readers and counsellors from City Hall. About 60 people showed up. There were 5 speakers telling everyone how the newsletter has impacted their lives.

Even the CEO, Seonag Macrae, of community Living BC, from Vancouver came. After the speeches were over we all enjoyed cake and good conversation.

At the party, I was also excited about sharing how after 5 years I am now branching out by becoming an ambassador with an accessible Travel agency called Travel for All. Their mantra is travel should be inclusive not exclusive and they specialize in inclusive and carefree travel.

Travel for All also has challenges, Tarita, who started the agency, has MS but she loves to travel and found there were many barriers for those with diverse-abilities. She was able to find solutions for the barriers she faced and so decided to start a travel agency to do the same for others.

www.travel-for-all.com Tab is an accessible travel specialist who asked me to be an ambassador for Travel for All.

Anyone who would like inclusive travel and wants to deal with a travel agent who can meet all your needs for an enjoyable trip, please call Tab at 1-888-993-9295 ext 102. or e-mail her at tabassum@travel-for-all.com. Let her know that I referred you and she will be happy to meet all your needs for a successful vacation, whether you have diverse-abilities or not.

I am proud to say for the last 5 years, I have been reducing stigma and discrimination around all disabilities and mental health issues. It’s been slow and we still have a long way to go, but things are changing.

I am very proud of my advertisers, supporters and readers for reading and supporting my newsletter to this day. I’m looking forward to another 5 years of fighting for change.

 

 

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