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what we do

We've come a long way in 5 years

We always knew that there was a need for reliable information, services and programs to foster independent living in the Okanagan. That's why we worked so hard to establish the Vernon ILRC office just five short years ago.

We never imagined how quickly the demand for our services would grow. Fortunately our professional staff and dedicated volunteers have proved equal to the challenge. Here are just a few of our accomplishments

Programs and Workshops

  • A Self Employment Business Program - an integrated program involving life skills, business skills and computer skills funded by Ministry of Skills, Training and Labour.
  • Advocacy Workshop - held in partnership with Community Health and Education Action Committee we presented 3 workshops: "How to Advocate for Yourself", "How to Advocate for Others", and "Burnout Prevention".
  • Community Access Program - providing a community access point for free Internet access, as well as having a volunteer coordinator available to provide instruction on "navigating the Net" (funded by the North Okanagan Development Commission and Industry Canada)
  • Job Placement for People With Disabilities - we were the first ILRC in Canada to deliver this program funded by Ministry of Education Skills and Training. It was so successful that we now have a satellite office in Kamloops offering a similar program
  • Life skills workshops - various trained facilitators have run very successful sessions over the years. Our latest class graduated on December 9th, 1997. Read what two recent graduates had to say about this workshop

Conferences and Community Outreach

  • Women of Worth conference - a day long conference focusing on education about employment and self-employment options for women with disabilities
  • National Access Awareness Week - we've spearheaded various experiential activities each year this program has been in operation
  • Interior Pacific Exhibition - for the first time in 1997 we had a staffed informational booth at one of the Okanagan's biggest Fall Fairs.
  • Canada Day Health Fairs - we participate each year by staffing informational booths in local malls.
  • City of Vernon Parking Commission - our participation in this commission finally achieved the goal of getting designated parking spots in the downtown area that are designed for the varying needs of people with disabilities
  • Habitat for Humanity - our Executive Director is a member of the board
  • North Okanagan Community Law Office - we participated and made recommendations in the establishment of the office which deals with many issues of concern to the disabled including poverty and advocacy.
  • Kids on the Block - with the help of United Way and the Vancouver Children's Foundation we own a set of these almost- life-size puppets with disabilities to use as an educational tool in increasing awareness with children on disability issues. Training sessions in their use are ongoing

Community Resources and Research

  • Work experience - the ILRC is a practicum site for third year social work students, which gives them exposure to a self-directed model of self empowerment leading to living independently rather than relying on the old professional model of "Let us take care of you."
  • Summer student placement - we hire students with disabilities each year to provide peer support, social, recreational and educational programs
  • Computer Access - general access for individuals to develop resumes, write correspondence and just get basic exposure to computer systems
  • Data base - the Vernon office provides an integrated information data base to provide user friendly information covering housing, transportation, support services, technical aids, accessibility and anything that is a tool leading to a more independent life
  • Access Guide for Vernon - we have produced a directory of services with detailed information about accessibility in Vernon

Ongoing Research

  • Corrections Canada Pilot Project to develop and fine tune a model of support to meet the specific needs of people with disabilities who are leaving Federal Penitentiaries
  • Project Investigating Strategies to Support Consumer Organizations in Changing Sociopolitical Environment - research related to the social and economic integration of people with disabilities

In 1998

In addition to our on-going programs, we will be participating in a National Employment project to research and develop "Navigating the Water". This project will employ a Job Placement expert who will develop skills in and find jobs for people with disabilities. Firstly there will be research into what the community has to offer and how ready employers are to participate in such a project.

Encouraging independent living benefits us all. We hope that you will play your part by supporting our efforts with your time, energy and your check book. Become a member today. It costs very little, but it means so much.

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