November 3rd, 2015
Self Advocates from across the Interior Region gathered in Vernon on October 27 and 28 for two days of learning and reconnecting with friends at the bi-annual Interior Region Self Advocate Conference.
The conference, organized by self advocates for self advocates, hosted many workshops that focused on the theme ‘living successfully with diverse abilities’. Workshop topics ranged from employment and relationships to bullying and internet safety. Throughout the conference, people were able to focus on the fact that many positive changes can take place and are taking place because of the self-advocate movement and self-advocacy is more important than ever.
The conference began with a wonderful rendition of Shania Twain’s ‘Up’ by co-emcee Ben Johnson. Mayor of Vernon Akbal Mund and CLBC Board Chair Tom Christensen helped to kick off the conference by speaking to the audience about the importance of inclusion and empowerment. There was a video greeting from Minister responsible for CLBC, Michelle Stilwell, and a keynote address by Sara McDonald, Research project Co-Ordinator from the Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship, along with the Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship Self Advocates – Dale and Leanne Froese. Co emcee’s Ben and John did a great job of introducing everyone while keeping the audience entertained.
On Tuesday evening the self-advocates were able to unwind and put on their dancing shoes for a Halloween dinner and dance with music by Feet First. The second day of the conference focused on workshops and the closing celebrations showcased a wonderful photo presentation highlighting the past two days. It was another successful conference and everyone is looking forward to the next one!