Following its proclamation of October as Community Living Month, the District of Saanich is being praised for its leadership in employing individuals with developmental disabilities.
Last week, Community Living B.C., a Crown agency that provides funding for services that help adults with development disabilities, honoured the district for its efforts in hiring such individuals at an event at the Gordon Head Recreation Centre. Mayor Richard Atwell was on hand to highlight the contributions of self advocates, citizens and community members, and note the help of personal support networks, families and employers.
“Community Living Month celebrates the achievements of people with developmental disabilities, including independent living, workspace accomplishments, and community and social participation,” said Atwell. “Saanich is a recognized municipal leader in the Capital Regional District in employing individuals with diverse abilities.
“Saanich’s vision is for all people with disabilities to have equal opportunities to participate in our community.”
Atwell noted the district’s parks and recreation department is in the process of working with Community Living B.C. to find employment opportunities for self advocates, adding that the Saanich Police has had success hiring employees from Community Living Victoria to wash their fleet of squad cars.
“These employees are dependable, hard working and personable, and Saanich Police members embrace Community Living employees and value their friendship and their partnership,” said Atwell.
Jennifer Deakin, a self advocate with Community Living B.C.’s South Island Community Council, said being on the council has allowed her to voice her concerns and share ideas to better engage other self advocates in the district.
“For me personally, this is an acknowledgement of who we are and what we have to offer,” she said. “Every one of us has a different strength, and therefore every one of us has something different to offer.
“It means the world to me to have opportunities – the same opportunities – as everyone else, and the ability to make that happen.”