October proclaimed Group Inclusion Month in Kelowna

It was an exciting morning for community members along with volunteers, staff and clients with the Pathways Abilities Society.

For the first time in three years, Pathways’ Inclusion Chain was able to take place outside City Hall to mark Community Inclusion Month in Kelowna.

Community Inclusion Month is all about celebrating diversity and bringing awareness to the strengths and abilities of people living with intellectual, physical or developmental disabilities.

The day was made even more special when Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran capped off the morning proceedings by reading the City’s official proclamation.

“To have a city that is committed to inclusivity or inclusion and diversity is very important,” said Adam Less, Marketing and Media for Pathways Abilities Society.

“I mean the strength and health of any community really comes down to the health of and strength of all of its citizens. Every single individual matters.”

While COVID-19 had put a halt on previous celebratory events, community members were finally able to gather post-pandemic to create The Inclusion Chain, an annual staple in Kelowna.

During the singing of ‘Oh Canada’, individuals formed a human chain along Water St. symbolizing the city’s unique diversity.

“City Council has made it a priority to make diversity and inclusion one of the most important priorities of our term on council, and it’s something regardless of whose in those chairs next term should carry it on because everybody in our community should be able to find their place and feel like Kelowna is home,” said Basran.

For a number of decades, Pathways Abilities Society has been helping individuals with diverse abilities find opportunities through volunteering or employment positions.

While October is officially Community Inclusion Month, the message behind the cause to embrace, empower and uplift these individuals should be amplified on an everyday basis.

“I think we’ve come a long way but I think that we have so much further to go, and that’s why we run an event like this too because you never want to take your foot off the pedal,” added Less.

“You want to keep reminding the community that every day we need to be hiring people with diverse abilities, we need to make contingencies and understand the needs of all people in the community regardless of abilities and things like that.”

“Well certainly we’ve made huge strides in terms of inclusion in our community over the last eight years, but there’s always more work to do,” Basran explained.

“There are still people who are marginalized in our community who don’t have access to the various essentials of life. So this is another reminder that there’s continued work to be done by all levels of government and all of us in the community.”

To learn more about the Pathways Abilities Society, head to their website here.

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