In 2012 Monika Huizenga stated that one of her goals was to become a Canadian citizen. Since that time, we have been assisting Monika achieve her goal, surmounting several obstacles with Monika’s encouragement and insistence.
When I discussed her goal with her she stated that she wanted to be an “official” Canadian because she had lived here since she was just one year old after immigrating with her family from Bangladesh. Monika said she loved Canada and feels safe and proud to call it her country. Monika’s family are very happy for her.
Monika was elated to finally take part in the Citizenship Ceremony on February 21, 2017. We travelled to Scarborough to attend the ceremony at 8:30am, and Monika had been up and eagerly waiting to go at 5:30am filled with anticipation. When I picked her up she said, “This is my big day!”.
Monika smiled throughout the ceremony and beamed with pride. She had been practicing reciting the oath for a few weeks and when the time arrived, she repeated it with dignity and perfection. At the closing of the ceremony, as Monika waved her Canadian flag, her voice rang out distinctly as she sang Oh Canada. Congratulations Monika!!!!!
ARCH Disability Law Centre, in partnership with Community Living Ontario, Inclusive Education Canada, the University of Western Ontario, and Brock University, is announcing the launch of new research titled “If Inclusion Means Everyone, Why Not Me?”. We are currently conducting a survey on the experiences of students with intellectual disabilities in Ontario’s public school system. The focus of this survey is on many of the current practices and barriers related to inclusive education.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
In Ontario, there are 72 Boards of Education. Seven of those boards operate fully segregated schools for children who have a disability. In the remaining school boards, a significant number (approximately 80 – 85%) continue to segregate students through self-contained classes where they spend the majority of the day.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
We would ask that you lend your support to this initiative either by filling out the survey if it applies to your family and by sharing it with your networks. The greater the participation in this survey, the more we will be able to illuminate the barriers to inclusion. If you wish to participate, please complete a short survey that asks questions about your child’s experiences in school. The survey will take 20-30 minutes to complete. You will have a month to complete the survey on the same computer. Once it has been submitted, you cannot redo the survey. If you have any questions or concerns please contact Amina Patel, Assistant Project Coordinator, Community Development, Community Living Ontario at 416-447-4348 ext. 241 or [email protected].
The survey can be completed here:
Public libraries play a vital role in bringing communities together to instil a sense of belonging for all. At last week’s Ontario Library Conference, Caledon Library presented its “Library Living” initiative. This unique program is theme-based and features stories, music, guest speakers, crafts, games, library orientations, and book talks. Another example of Caledon Library’s leadership in promoting a welcoming and inclusive community. Check out the video.
I can’t begin to explain how being a part of the Brampton-Caledon Community Living (BCCL) has opened my eyes to a whole new perspective. An experience I wish I could share with everyone.
I remember when I first started at the center, I was nervous because I constantly felt like I didn’t want to say the wrong things or offend anyone, as if the individuals there were so different from me. I thought there would be specific or special ways to act, talk and carry myself. I later realized that this was because I grew up internalizing the societal stigma towards individuals with disabilities. Being at the center helped me overcome these preconceived notions.
I had the opportunity to work closely with the staff at BCCL, who are all caring and compassionate people. They were model teachers who have taught me to be inclusive and understanding. They have also taught me to question and deconstruct beliefs that are normalized in society.
As I got to know the individuals at the center, I have learned that their disabilities are not what stop them from reaching their unique dreams and aspirations, but it’s the societal structures that do. I now see people for their capabilities, regardless of their disabilities. This is not to say that we’re all equal or the same, but that we’re all different, and we all have different capabilities
Not only have these experiences taught me what a truly inclusive environment looks like, they have also helped open up a new way of looking and understanding the world. This learning will help me bring new attitudes and conceptions into my classroom and in the areas that I will teach. All in all, the learning, perspectives and relationships that I have developed here at this center have been one of the most valuable experiences since they have helped reshape my thinking and grow as an individual.
Melanie Ha, BEd student York University, Jan 2017
The Peel Planning Group is a a network of service providers who form a planning body for the developmental services sector in Peel Region. Brampton Caledon Community Living is a member of this group.
The Peel Planning Group is deeply concerned about the lack of services and resources for Peel individuals with a developmental disability and their families. These concerns have been enumerated by the Ombudsman of Ontario in his report Nowhere to Turn and by an all party select committee report on developmental services.
In an effort to raise awareness about the desperate circumstances confronting individuals and their families in Peel and across the province, the Peel Planning Group is reaching out to individuals and their families and asking them to sign an electronic petition.
Please click on the following link to view and sign the petition.
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