A champion of the disabled

Dec. 3 was the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities

L'ARCHE COMOX VALLEY operates a busy Outreach and Creative Arts Centre.

L'ARCHE COMOX VALLEY operates a busy Outreach and Creative Arts Centre.

Did you know Dec. 3 was the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities?

Events are happening all around the world in efforts to increase our awareness of the issues related to disabilty.

“It is estimated that over one billion people in the world live with some form of disability, nearly 200 million of whom experience significant difficulties in functioning. In the years ahead, disability will be an even greater concern as rates of disability are continually increasing due to population aging and increases in mental health disorders. (World Report on Disability 2011, World Health Organization)

Canada ratified this UN Convention on March 11, 2010, yet we still know that much needs to be done in B.C. to make rights a reality for people with developmental disabilities.

This is why we believe L’Arche is so important: It champions the needs of people with disabilties in our community — highlighting the supports they need but also revealing the unique gifts they have to offer. They add richly to our lives by offering  authenitic friendships.

There are many young people with intellectual disabilities who still live in a situation of isolation and loneliness.

In September, L’Arche Canada launched a new website I Belong (www.ibelong.ca) with the goal of reaching young adults who want to establish friendships with others. The website features various resources geared to young adults living with disabilities and those who would like to help create strong, enduring friendships.

They can find various resources on the website including stories, ideas, and videos. There is also a community forum where you can share your experiences and ask questions.

Much is also happening here locally at L’Arche Comox Valley through its Outreach and Creative Arts Centre at 1736 England Ave. in Courtenay.

• A drop-in jewelry sale this Friday between 10 and 11.30 a.m. features jewelry made by participants of a weekly beading sessions, including earrings, bracelets, necklaces and key rings. Each piece is an original created with care in an atmosphere of fun and creative exploration.

• Dec. 16, meet the Artist of the Month. Suzanne Davis comes out every Wednesday for the painting circle. She has a unique abstract style painting in pastels and each painting contains a heart to express love. She will be “in residence” at the Outreach Centre on Dec. 16 to meet people interested in seeing her art and chatting with her. All are welcome.

The Outreach Centre welcomes people with and without developmental disabilities to socialize and create artwork. Candle making, beading and painting activities are offered every week.  Everyone who comes gets involved and is encouraged to experiment, create and play.  The Outreach Centre relies on fundraising and selling the crafts that are made at the Centre to fund the programs.

Contact L’Arche at orc@larchecomoxvalley or 250-334-8320 for more information.

— L’Arche Comox Valley Outreach Centre

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