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Every year, during the early days of October, there is a buzz of excitement running through the Community Living programs at Sea to Sky Community Services. Staff, families, caregivers and participants are in deep preparation for the party of the year: the Community Living Potluck celebrating Community Inclusion Month, which highlights inclusion, diversity and the rights and contributions of British Columbians with developmental disabilities.

Our dedicated staff go the extra mile to make each potluck more fun than the last. They gather the participants to choose a theme (Fancy dress! Tie-dye!), they design decorations, they plan invitations, they book the band, they shuffle work schedules, and above all, they prepare the participants.

Adults with developmental disabilities can face challenges in preparing to attend a large social gathering, and our Community Living workers assist them in getting ready for dressing up, greeting friends, sharing food around a table, and posing for photos. This careful, multi-sensory listening from staff fosters an intuitive connection to the needs of participants, and empowers participants to make their own choices.

This year, the Life Skills and Community Access participants wanted to prepare a dance, and so one staff person pulled together rehearsals, and the group performed at the potluck for a cheering crowd. For those who are extra prepared, they might even be called up to sing a rock n’ roll blues number with local Squamish band, The Wells.

“It’s our favourite gig of the year…definitely not just another show for us,” says drummer Ken Money. “It’s an honour. I love playing in the band. They get to see me having fun, and when we get Brandon coming up to sing the blues, that’s just the highlight of our year.”

Ken has every reason to keep the beat steady on this special night. As a Community Living care worker in Squamish for the past 12 years, he talks about Newport House like it’s his second home, and the residents and staff his extended family.

“We care very deeply. The staff put in such an effort and investment. When folks are sick, or celebrating, the staff are right there with them. And when things get difficult, that’s when people step up even more. In some ways, we are closer now than ever before.”

We believe in the importance of including people with developmental disabilities in all aspects of community life. This month, we honour the incredible dedication of our staff, families, and community members who work to create an inclusive Sea to Sky Community.

Our programs change lives for the better.

Please DONATE to ensure all people in Sea to Sky have opportunities for inclusion, connection to others, and a sense of belonging.

#CommunityInclusionMonth