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2014-06-01 at 15:56

Pushing for inclusion

By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
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THUNDER BAY -- People with intellectual disabilities are valuable members of the community.

That’s one of the primary messages Community Living Thunder Bay is working to spread, through initiatives such as their first Walk for Inclusion, which was held on Sunday despite threatening skies and rain earlier in the morning.

Executive director Lisa Louttit says the walk, which started at the organization’s administrative office on the corner of Balmoral Street and Dease Street before proceeding up Balmoral to William Street and back, is meant to capture the attention of the community.

“We thought it would be a wonderful, visible way to demonstrate our commitment as an organization to inclusion and specifically what the boarder community members think about the importance of inclusion,” Louttit said.

The organization, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, supports about 300 adults and seniors with intellectual disabilities. They operate group homes as well as supportive independent living programs.

Community Living works with partners throughout the city to provide employment and volunteer opportunities to nearly 100 of their members.

Those partnerships play a significant role towards enriching the lives of their members.

“There have been a lot of gains in the work we do in our sector. More and more people that experience disabilities are getting meaningful work and competitive employment as well as participating in classrooms,” she said.

“We believe that a community is stronger when all the members of a community are welcome and are invited to contribute their unique gifts and talents to make a stronger and more vibrant community.”

More than 100 people registered for the inaugural walk, which concluded with a lunch at the nearby Masonic Temple.

Louttit said she is hopeful the walk can become an annual event.

 

 

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