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City of Charlottetown presents annual inclusion awards

Coun. Mitchell Tweel, left, chairman of the city’s Civic Board for Persons with Disabilities, and Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee, right, present Wayne Thibodeau of The Guardian with an Inclusion Award on Sunday.
Coun. Mitchell Tweel, left, chairman of the city’s Civic Board for Persons with Disabilities, and Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee, right, present Wayne Thibodeau of The Guardian with an Inclusion Award on Sunday. - Contributed

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - As a way to recognize individuals, organizations and business for contributing to the city by striving to be inclusive, the City of Charlottetown presented more than a dozen awards at the 2018 Inclusion Awards on Sunday.

Mayor Clifford Lee said people in Charlottetown go out of their way on a daily basis to help others and to ensure that people of all abilities feel respected, valued and equal.

“The Inclusion Awards were created to recognize those people, those who have helped make our city more accessible and inclusive for all.”

The awards were presented at a private ceremony at City Hall.

The recipients are chosen based on nominations and selections by the city’s Civic Board for Persons with Disabilities made up of volunteers, including Helena Reeves, Brenda Porter, Ryan Bulger, Meagan MacKenzie, Allison Faithfull, Christine Arsenault, Judy Hughes and Karen Lavers.

To recommend an individual, business or organization for the Inclusion Awards, contact city hall at 902-566-5548.

About the 2018 Inclusion Award Recipients

  • CrossFit 782 has welcomed individuals of all abilities into their supportive community. They work with people of all different abilities to help them gain confidence and see themselves as capable athletes. The support and encouragement provided during training has allowed these individuals to not only improve their physical strength, but also learn many skills that will benefit them in everyday life.
  • Giant Tiger in Charlottetown has provided a welcoming and very rewarding volunteer experience for an individual with autism. The management and staff have given him the opportunity to learn and develop skills that will help him find future employment. The staff have been very accommodating to the individual’s needs and are always kind and helpful. The team at Giant Tiger has given him a sense of belonging that he has never felt before.
  • The Guardian has given many individuals of all abilities an opportunity to have a paying job as flyer carriers. For many of these individuals, it is the first time they have earned money on their own, which has boosted their self-esteem. This job has brought a group of individuals in Charlottetown together, and they have learned about teamwork and cooperation as well as responsibility and accountability. This job has provided them an opportunity to be more involved in their community and given them a sense of pride and worth of a job well done.
  • Joanne Hodgins is a teacher with Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority in Charlottetown who works with children who have visual impairments. When she is not at work, Hodgins spends much of her free time volunteering with ParaSport and Recreation P.E.I. running many different programs for individuals with physical disabilities and vision loss, such as the “See Yourself Swimming” clinic and the multisport programs for children ages six to 13. Hodgins teaches swimming lessons to adults with physical disabilities and vision loss, and volunteers at ParaSport and Recreation P.E.I.’s “Night Dash”, one of the organization’s biggest fundraisers. No matter what she is doing, Hodgins is always focused on the clients.
  • HopYard Beer Bar staff are always friendly and make sure individuals of all abilities feel welcomed. One of the ways they do this is by speaking to them directly, and not just to their support worker. The staff always try and accommodate any needs, such as providing additional utensils or a table where an individual can sit beside their support worker to allow facilitated communication. Even when they are busy, the HopYard staff take the time to make sure individuals of all abilities can order their own meals, even if there is a communication barrier. They show tremendous patience and care, stopping to listen to what an individual might need, instead of asking while passing by. The HopYard staff show tremendous respect to all who come into their establishment.
  • Nancy MacPhee volunteers her time and expertise as a speech reading instructor, teaching speech reading courses for members of the public. Over the past three years, MacPhee has taught several 10-week courses, and has improved social interaction and self-confidence for all of the participants. She is a passionate advocate for those who have hearing loss and has been a member of the leadership team for numerous workshops and training sessions for workers and the general public. MacPhee also coaches Special Olympics curling in Charlottetown.
  • Park Royal United Church has been recognized for the construction of a new wheelchair ramp at the church at 11 Christie Drive. The church ensures that all members of the congregation and users of Park Royal Church have a fully accessible entrance into the church.
  • Sherwood Lions Club members will assist anyone in need, whether it be through barbecues or community pancake breakfasts. The club donates $250,000 back to the community each year, not including the in-kind contributions of the members. The club recently received an award for supplying and assisting clients with medical needs or physical disabilities by providing them with guide dogs at no cost. Presently, club members are constructing a gazebo for the Palliative Care Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, at a cost of more than $85,000. The Sherwood Lions Club is the first non-profit organization to donate $500,000 to the hospital.
  • The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Prince Edward Island has welcomed many volunteers with different abilities. Foundation staff have always taken the time to get to know the volunteers in order to provide them with tasks fitting to their abilities and provide new challenges as skills are mastered. The foundation’s staff members have taken the time to learn about various disabilities in order to better support their volunteers and help them gain valuable employment skills. Individuals who have volunteered at the Heart and Stroke Foundation always leave their work knowing that what they’ve done is appreciated.
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital has made a tremendous effort to improve accessibility for patients who have hearing loss. Once patients are identified at the check-in as having hearing loss, they are given a green wrist band so that all medical personnel will know that the patient has trouble hearing. Admissions staff put the internationally accepted hearing loss sticker on the patient’s health card. When patients are being prepped for surgery, they sometimes allow those with severe hearing loss to keep their hearing aids in their ears. This is extremely important, as it allows the patient to stay in touch with his/her surroundings. Additionally, staff members are very aware of accommodations that need to be made for those who have hearing loss and use effective strategies for communicating with them.
  • Synergy Fitness and Nutrition in Charlottetown is owned by Kris MacPhee. He believes all individuals should have the same opportunity to participate in fitness, and it is with that believe that he operates his business. MacPhee runs a program twice a year for individuals with physical disabilities and vision loss, as well as training programs for individuals who compete in Special Olympics. He is also an instructor for ParaSport and Recreation P.E.I.’s multi-sport program.
  • Repeats Quality Used Clothing has been including people of all abilities on their team for many years. During volunteer placements, the staff at Repeats always make sure the volunteers feel welcome and have meaningful tasks with opportunities to grow and learn new skills. Repeats has recently taken that a step further by hiring one of their former volunteers who has a disability. The staff have made necessary accommodations to ensure the individual is part of the team without barriers and they continue to strive to ensure the individual always feels respected and valued.
  • Dr. Cheryl Wenn and Dr. Kimberly Wenn are being recognized for the installation of a new, barrier-free ramp and barrier-free entrance at their dental office at 519 North River Road. The improved entrance includes an automatic door operator and the proper clearances for barrier-free accessibility inside the vestibule.

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