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  • Connecting People with Their Community

    Volume 3 Issue 1CLBC Newsletter - January 2007

    What’s Inside

    10 By 10


    New Board Members

    Community Councils

    Self-Advocate Retreat


    Star Power

    The stars of Shanti Miller’s (middle) microboard: her mom, Maureen (left), and her sister, Gabrielle, who stars in the television series, “Corner Gas.” See page four for full story.

  • the citizen | january 20072

    Message FroM the ChaIr Lois Hollstedt

    This Issue

    Inside Voice 3 A Little Help From Her Friends 4 10 By 10 6 ROP Success Stories 7 Staff Retirements 8 Get to Know: New Board 10

    Event for Chinese Community 10 Respitality 11 Self-Advocate Retreat 12 Innovation Grant 13 Innovation Expo 13 Requests for Proposals 14

    ‘The Boy Inside’ Screening 14 Residential Options Grants 14 Self-Advocate E-mail List 15 Stay Connected with CLBC 15 Community Councils Update 16 Contact Us 16

    as 2007 begins, Community Living BC’s board and staff look to the conclusion of several projects that will have strong impact on changing choices for people with developmental disabilities in BC.

    The first eight community councils have been appointed by the board. We look forward to developing a relationship with these councils to help the board and staff set priorities and make our vision of good lives in welcoming communities a reality. Thank you to the many volunteers who have agreed to become involved. Keep checking the website for details on which areas are still accepting nominations for community councils.

    Next month, we will also appoint the advisory committee to the board. The 10 selected people from different parts of the province will provide the board with advice on what is working well and what can be improved. We look forward to sharing ideas with them.

    Phase one of the Residential Options Project, which enables individuals and families to consider options other than the group home setting they currently live in, will be completed in the spring. The project enables people to think about their long-term personal goals and to decide if their current arrangement offers them the best support. This is the first time many of the 2,500 people involved have looked at a new place to live since they moved from institutions like Woodlands and Tranquille. You can read about some of the Residential Options Project’s success stories on page seven.

    One focus of the Innovations project is to look for new ways for people to participate in the community. The first projects are underway and we will see the ideas in the months ahead. One aspect of this project is an opportunity for groups of people with developmental disabilities to join together to find new ways to build or expand the number of people involved in their lives. Read about the Young Adults Community Options Initiative on page 13.

    Also, read on page 14 about the two new ways for service providers to get involved. CLBC has funds set aside to help service providers develop a larger range of residential alternatives and are also calling for proposals for demonstration projects.

    I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our two new board members. Teresa Azak is from Gitwinksihlkw in northwest BC and Harvey Venier is from Cranbrook in the Kootenays. Our board now is complete with 11 members. Thanks to all who offered their names for consideration.

    The project enables people to think about their long-term personal goals and to decide if their current arrangement offers them the most support.


    VOICEINSIDE The self-advocate’s perspective.

    Inside Voice is published in each issue of The Citizen. If you are interested in writing for this column, please call Karin Basaraba at 1-877-660-2522 or e-mail to discuss.

    I have been a self-advocate for about 30 years. I was 17 when I started learning more about People First – an organization for people who have been labelled with a developmental disability. My first meeting was at the Vancouver/ Richmond association office. I was shy at first and didn’t know what to say. I just wanted to observe and learn about self-advocacy.

    I was still living with my mother and sister, and I didn’t know what independence was. I wanted to make plans and decide about how I wanted to live my life. I saw other self-advocates speaking up and making their own decisions. I learned that some self-advocates were living on their own. It became my goal to live on my own.

    I also wanted to learn about other things that I did not know if I was allowed to do because I have a disability. I didn’t know anything about my rights. I even thought I was not allowed to get married. Other self-advocates taught me about my right to get married, to live on my own and my responsibilities as a citizen.

    The first year our group worked on some very important issues. When I started attending these meetings, self-advocates did not sit on the

    local association boards because other people thought we shouldn’t be on the board. They thought we would doodle, waste time and disturb other people. But we wanted to represent other self-advocates, because we know what it is like to have a disability. The others could only see and try and imagine what stuff we need, but they could not completely understand because it us who are the experts.

    Another thing we wanted to change the way we were labelled. People called us retarded and we didn’t like this name.

    We decided start with the local associations. We met the night of the Vancouver/Richmond Association for the Mentally Retarded AGM, and we were the first presentation of the night. We did a presentation about why our lives are important, why self-advocates should be on local boards and why we wanted to change the label.

    After a long evening, filled with emotions for self-advocates, families and everyone else in the room, there was a vote for both motions. The motion for self-advocates to sit on the board was a hot topic – there was so much debate. They took a break because it was so emotional.

    During the break, self-advocates

    started to speak to everyone in the room, and they started to understand where we were coming from. They were happy to hear our voices, and all the people who were against us changed their minds and agreed that self-advocates could sit on the board. Everyone was also in favour to change the way we were labelled. After this day in 1977, we went from retarded to handicapped.

    When the meeting was over we all started cheering, dancing and celebrating with everyone in the room. We were complimented by families and other interested people. This was truly a victory for self- advocates.

    a vICtory For selF-advoCates By Ludo Van Pelt

  • the citizen | january 20074


    gabrielle Miller, who plays Lacey on the television comedy, “Corner Gas,” feels she’s been given many gifts by having her sister, Shanti, in her life.

    “Shanti has always been an incredible big sister,” said Gabrielle. “She was always protective of me… and still is!”

    But Shanti’s life could be very different if she and her family were not willing to take a few risks.

    In 1989, Shanti Miller became the first person in British Columbia to have a microboard, which is named the Shanti Miller Friendship Society. And Gabrielle feels that because of her microboard, Shanti is able to live her life the way that she sees it.

    “Shanti’s microboard has given her choice, freedom and community the way she wanted it,” said Gabrielle.

    Linda Perry, the current executive director of Vela Microboard Association, first met Shanti when

    she was living in a group home. Shanti’s mom, Maureen, had called Vela for help, as Shanti was about to turn 19 and the only option for her was to remain in a group home, which neither of them wanted.

    At the time, Vela offered subsidized housing to people with developmental disabilities in the Lower Mainland. In 1989, their board members recognized that living in community housing, even if affordable, did not ensure membership in that community. As a result, the Vela board developed a pilot project to facilitate three microboards in Vancouver.

    Shanti and Linda hit it off right away. She was an ideal candidate for the project as she was dually diagnosed and ready for a change.

    “They were willing to take the risk,” said Linda. “We were really going to be flying blind.”

    Then, the only other place in the world with microboards was in Manitoba. Vela studied their model, and then customized the approach for BC.

    A Vela Microboard is formed when a small group of committed family and friends join together with a person with challenges to create a non-profit society. Together, this small group of people address the person’s planning and support needs in an empowering and

    customized fashion.

    Because a Vela Microboard comes out of the person-centred planning philosophy, it is created for the sole

    support of one individual. Each microboard is unique and supports people with a range of disabilities – from people who only require natural supports to those who require full-time nursing care.

    In their firs