Friday March 23, 2012 — Kristian PartingtonCAMPBELLFORD, Ont. – At Community Living Campbellford/Brighton, the quest for inclusion is all about strengthening ties within the community and building on its extensive network of supporters and champions.Executive director Nancy Brown and administrative assistant Bev Haley spoke about the importance of this ongoing work during a conversation with Community Living Leaders at their office in Campbellford on March 22.
The organization’s ongoing inclusion awareness campaign, they agree, is most successful when people of all ages are targeted and involved.
They point to Appetite for Awareness, which takes place in May during Community Living Month, as a prime example of an event that brings people who have an intellectual disability together with Grade 5 students from Kent Public School to spread awareness throughout the community.
The concept involves taking pre-orders of healthy lunches from people and organizations throughout the region from Campbellford to Brighton and everywhere in between. The students from Kent then join with community living team members and volunteers to pack the lunches together and distribute them.
Going into its fourth year, “the event is always a community favourite,” says Haley, and though it involves a bit of effort in terms of co-ordination, she says the impact is well worth it.
Brown says the relationships between support services and young people in the schools is a critical one to nurture because the principles of an inclusive society must be fostered in the minds of people from a young age.
Other community awareness events double as fundraisers, such as the upcoming comedy night scheduled for April 13, or the annual golf tournament held in mid-summer.
Poster campaigns and awareness booths at Royal Bank branches create an ongoing community presence and random acts of kindness — delivering doughnuts out of the blue to community partners, for example — are also part of their ongoing strategy.
“The work never stops,” Brown says with a smile.
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