Saws buzz and hammers bang as ARC Community Event Centre renovations move toward completion. The project is just one of many exciting events planned for Inclusion Powell River (IPR) this fall.
“Everything is in keeping with the desire to be an organization that provides excellent support and advocacy for adults with developmental disabilities, children with extra needs and their families, and for senior citizens in the region,” says IPR CEO Lilla Tipton.
Taking its name from geometry, the ARC is a bridge and a segment that completes the circle of community, says Tipton. IPR’s vision is that individuals with developmental disabilities are fully included in the community, she adds.
“Just like it takes a village to raise a child,” says Tipton, “it takes a community working together to learn how to include everyone.”
Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons will be the guest speaker at IPR’s annual general meeting on Thursday, September 28, at the newly renovated facility located within Jean Pike Centre at 7055 Alberni Street. Simons will talk about new developments IPR has been long advocating for, such as the recent increase to BC’s Person with Disability benefits. Anyone can join the advocacy by becoming a member of the society.
ARC renovations were made possible with funds received through Powell River Community Forest and government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund.
“It’s a warm, spacious, accessible environment with excellent acoustics that will easily adapt to a number of purposes, such as variety shows, musical and theatre productions, fundraising and education events, town hall meetings and community conversations,” says Tipton. “The ARC will become a community showcase; a stage to give voice to the unheard, a room to gather, meet, listen and converse to learn who we are and where we are going. Celebrating the beauty of our own creation is the beginning of the journey to imagining a more inclusive community.”
The space will continue to be used for music and yoga programming, which is open to community, and development opportunities for its employees. The ARC is also available as a community rental.
Tipton says the organization seeks to be better and questions are constantly being asked to continue learning how to improve.
“How can we get better at supporting people we serve to have lives they want to live, achieve their dreams and feel empowered and included?” says Tipton. “How can we become a better employer and better at engaging community, and can the community help us with our vision? How do we strategically use our resources to achieve our vision?”
To answer those questions, the association will begin a strategic planning process in January that includes community members, people it serves and their families, employees, volunteers and its board of directors.
“We look forward to sharing this process and its results with everyone,” says Tipton. “We invite people to step forward, become a member and participate; it takes a community to imagine its future and what it wants to become.”
Tipton says the organization changed its name to Inclusion Powell River because it matters to the health of the community that each member is a contributor.
“Everyone needs to feel a part of something in order to experience self-worth and feel valued,” she says. “Each of us has something to give.”
Inclusion Powell River hosts an open house on November 15 with special guests David Roche and Marlena Blavin presenting their film, Love at Second Sight.
“It’s an incredible film about difference and belonging, judgment and inclusion,” says Tipton. “David and Marlena are consummate storytellers.”
Roche and Blavin will also conduct a free storytelling workshop where each participant will have the opportunity to tell their story.
“It will be an amazing and inclusive event,” says Tipton, “although participation will be limited.”
To register, go to inclusionpr.ca and use the Eventbrite link. Membership details and other inclusive community event information can also be found on the website.
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