British Columbia recognizes October as Community Living Month, a time to celebrate the achievements of people with disabilities as fully participating members of our society. In addition, this month celebrates the organizations, like the Community Integration Services Society (CISS), that make a difference in the lives of people living with developmental disabilities.
Adam is one of the people Minister Stilwell met during her visit. Not only is Adam involved with CISS programs like volunteering in a physical fitness program and at a local senior centre, but he was also recently hired by Vancity as one of their Administrators. CISS Executive Director Shari Maher feels that work can have a transformative effect in the lives of people with disabilities and that’s why CISS provides employment skills and training in order for participants to live more independently. “Community partnerships help us achieve our goals,” Mahar says. She notes that they have participants who are working in the community at Starbucks, McDonalds, Boston Pizza, Avon, and more, and she is openly proud of the successes of her participants. “There is so much going on in the community, I can’t keep track of it,” she boasts.
Kyle’s Kitchen, one of the organization’s programs, is doing just that. Participants, like Sarah, have the opportunity to learn food preparation skills to prepare them for future employment in one of many related career paths. Sarah, who works for Melissa Park Catering, is very proud of her skills and her cooking and most recently made cookies in preparation for Minister Stilwell’s visit – and her family says she couldn’t be happier.
Ashish, a young man with a passion for trains, successfully secured his dream volunteer job with help from CISS and now volunteers at the Port Moody Station Museum. The work that CISS does is all about inclusion. “Our folks are out in the community every day, building relationships,” Mahar says, noting the importance of those interactions.
Minister Stilwell agrees. “People living with diverse abilities are making huge contributions to our communities, and British Columbia is better because of it.”
To learn more about Community Integration Services Society (CISS), visit: http://www.gociss.org/
To view the 2016 Community Living Month news release, visit: http://ow.ly/PYjR305j2kn
To learn more about Community Living BC, visit: http://www.communitylivingbc.ca/