NBBS focuses on programs that are accessible and inclusive of all abilities and ethnicities. We work to remove barriers to inclusion and recognize that at risk youth in indigenous and non-indigenous communities and other marginalized groups are among the most vulnerable. Non-visible barriers including Anxiety, Depression, Phobias, Extreme Allergies, Asthma, Dyslexia and Illiteracy can be prevalent in these groups.
Indigenous and non-indigenous youth at risk in our communities face multiple issues. Fractured home lives for example can lead to drug use, bullying and low self-esteem. The youth lack an outlet to help deal with the frustrations of life when there are limited accessible community programs to offer coaching, mentoring or positive reinforcement. In 2019 NBBS programs will be able to offer access to people with disabilities as well as providing a safe meeting place for persons that identify as LGBTQ+.
The Society strives to promote social cohesion by offering accessible and inclusive arts, crafts and traditional ecological knowledge programs that share the Secwepemc language and traditions. The programs focus on the well being of participants to celebrate their cultural and natural heritage. In past initiatives we have observed the positive outcomes of offering workshops that teach new skills and build self-esteem.
New Beginnings Benevolent Society and Measuring Up
As part of the 2010 Measuring Up initiative, 108 local organizations were surveyed by the Society regarding accessibility and inclusion in the community. 83 businesses/agencies and individuals agreed to participate. The survey asked businesses and agencies how they see their involvement in making the community more accessible for the disabled. The survey results indicated that many community organizations were unaware of the extent of the problem and NBBS discovered that the impact of disabilities on youth at risk are seldom fully described or recognized.
Here are some survey comments.
“More advertising” Seward Gallery Retreat
“- provide information about disabilities – access to buildings – provide materials for use by disabled” Okanagan Regional Library, Enderby Branch
“My business has ground level entrance and an easily accessible washroom. We lend our boardroom to other professionals when they have clients that can’t easily use the professional’s office.” Partners in Planning
“We are a small home based business and feel the focus of this questionnaire is not applicable to the services we provide to our clientele.” Garden Gate Bed and Breakfast
“As a real estate company, access for disabled is something that we deal with. Many homes are considered for the ability to accommodate a wheelchair, ramp or level entry, wider hallways, bathroom big enough to accommodate a chair, bars in the bathroom, etc.” Re/max, Enderby
“Kindale has developed a program in cooperation with the Armstrong Rotary which is to encourage Rotarians business associates, friends and neighbors to hire persons with developmental disabilities. This program exists in Enderby, Armstrong and Vernon.” Kindale Developmental Association
“We have made our summer and fall shows completely accessible for those who are physically challenged.” Caravan Farm Theatre
“Will sponsor a program” Okanagan Timber Frame Inc.
“Promoting the Measuring Up program” Russell Avenue Consulting
A number of businesses and organizations offered their priorities and challenges:
“I need to install another ramp. One that would connect to the lower level workshop activities” Seward Gallery Retreat
“We don’t have any programs, but we are happy to assist home owners find a home that suits their needs.” Re/max, Enderby
“The priority is public education. Until people understand that persons with disabilities want to, and can be active vibrant citizens change will not occur.” Kindale Developmental Association
“As we present our shows in a farm environment there are challenges in making the shows accessible. The winter shows involve the audience traveling to different scenes on the farm by horse-drawn sleigh. This is accessible for most but has proven to be too dangerous for those in powered wheelchairs.” Caravan Farm Theatre
“Safety is priority – would need to look at how accessible workbenches and equipment are for physically disabled” Okanagan Timber Frame Inc.
“Wheelchair ramp, bathroom renovations” Russell Avenue Consulting
There may be times when businesses and agencies receive a request or concern regarding accessibility or inclusion to their programs. It would be beneficial for these to be documented and made available for future reference. Also, other agencies and businesses may benefit from this documentation.
“-requests for print disabled status. ORL form is verified by qualified medical person then customer has access to special collection (taped books, books on CDs and Daisy reader may be borrowed)” Okanagan Regional Library, Enderby Branch
“our business is accessible, but we don’t have any documentation or procedures in place” Partners in Planning
“There are presently 45 individuals living in Enderby and District who live with developmental disabilities. Kindale is often contacted to provide services. We have provided as many services as possible given our greatest challenge of lack of funding” Kindale Developmental Association
“As we present theatre productions there are may requests about accessibility for patrons who are physically challenged.” Caravan Farm Theatre
Levels of Achievement
The Measuring Up community achievement levels for Support Services in Enderby and District was rated at Level 2 for Dialogue and Action. The Society has started an assessment of the community through a process of dialogue and survey and is now positioned to create an action plan to increase personal supports, including attendant services, and make assistive equipment and devices available in the community. Support Services are the basis of the framework. This is fundamental in enabling people with disabilities to leave their homes with safety, comfort, and ease.
Enderby had not attained a level of achievement for Access to Information, as brought out by the survey and research. Major providers of information and providers of communication services needed to meet with people with disabilities to discuss what communication formats are needed by the disabled community. This element is often taken for granted. People just assume that everyone understands, reads or deciphers words and symbols the way they do. Basic information that enables us to find our way, keep ourselves safe, avoid confusion and save time.
Greater Economic Participation as defined by the Meausring Up program “increases the number of individuals employed in the community, ends poverty and increases the security of people with disabilities”. Enderby was recognized at achieving Level 2 in Economic Participation. The City of Enderby committed to the “10 x 10 challenge” in September of 2007, as reported in the September 4, 2007 Council meeting minutes:”Moved by Councilor Case, seconded by Councilor Vetter that the City of Enderby join the 10 x 10 Challenge and work with the Minister’s Council on Employment for Persons with Disabilities to help meet the target of increasing employment for persons with disabilities by 10% by 2010. Carried Unanimously.”
At the time of the survey, 50% of people with disabilities were unemployed in Canada and almost two thirds of people with disabilities on social assistance lived in poverty. In the survey area, according to Bill Tidsbury of CLBC, there were 18 children with disabilities, 6 of whom are in their late teens and would soon be looking for employment. Also, 17 adults with disabilities that CLBC were aware of would benefit significantly with supports, to becoming successful in an attaining employment.
With respect to Community Participation, most of those polled realize what their priorities are in order to be inclusive to people with disabilities. However, there were still stereotypical feedbacks that will ultimately keep the community from attaining a higher level. A number of professionals felt that hiring a disabled member of society would be a hindrance rather than an asset, and did not want to concern themselves with a project of this kind. Still, others believe there were no people living with a disability in their city. Education and communication was recommended in this regard.