A thriving community requires the inclusion and participation of all its members. The inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities enables all people to contribute their gifts, talents and abilities and to secure their rightful place in their community. The advantages are not just one way, those who include us benefit too.
Our Youth Summer Program was busy and productive again this summer. A very capable staff member led several young people though a passport of businesses, agencies, recreation activities, parks and shops to introduce the youth to the community and the community to the youth. The youth then went to work to create Buddy Benches for the local elementary schools. The benches are well built, colorful and beautifully painted. Their purpose is to foster inclusion and friendship in schools and through this to reduce isolation and loneliness. Watch for the benches in your children’s school.
Harvest Share, Gleaners food program and the Community Garden have included Cresteramics in their distribution program and the improvement this has made to the lives of many of our members is significant. Cresteramics staff is now able to provide a regular and healthy snack program to our members for no cost. Weekly hot lunches contain local produce, some of it grown by our members in our garden plot. We love to share what we grow too.
Cresteramics has been supporting persons with disabilities to work in the community for many years. Our list of business partners is long, including businesses, agencies and service providers. Cresteramics members are supported in the completion of the duties each employer requires. They take a great deal of pride in getting the job done right. Watch for us working around town, we are wearing safety vests donated by local businesses. The benefit of these jobs being done goes farther than Cresteramics members having a day program, as each business partner displays pride in their location our town shows the pride it has in itself. Staff have told us about visitors to Creston stopping them during a cleanup or plant watering to say how beautiful and well kept Creston is. There have also been congratulations for the belief in the value of inclusion. This is something Creston has the right to be proud of.
Creston has a long history of including people with developmental disabilities. The Endicott Centre, opened in 1961 and from that time persons with disabilities have been supported and included in this community. Creston Town Council, at their meeting September 19th, declared October to be Community Living BC (CLBC) Month. CLBC is the provincial crown agency that funds services for persons with disabilities and each October asks that we take time to recognize the contributions people with developmental disabilities make to their community and to celebrate those who enhance the quality of life for people with diverse abilities.
Thank you to all who recognize the value of inclusion, support it in so many ways and understand that it is really part of who we are in Creston.