A centre that advocates for people with intellectual disabilities is opening on UBC’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna.
A branch of UBC’s Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship, a partnership between UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, will be inaugurated on the Kelowna campus Friday.
“The centre seeks to further the inclusion and full citizenship of people with intellectual disabilities and their families, on a local, national and global basis,” said Rachelle Hole, associate professor with the school of social work and a co-director of the centre.
The CIC was established in 2009 at UBC’s Vancouver campus through a partnership of university, government and community living organizations and supporters seeking to further the inclusion and citizenship of people with intellectual disabilities locally, nationally and globally.
Housed at the Vancouver campus’ school of social work, the school of social work at the Okanagan campus is a partner of the centre. The faculty of health and social development here has provided research space for the centre’s new Okanagan offshoot.
Since 2009, the CIC in Vancouver has secured nearly $1-million in research grants, contracts and infrastructure contributions.
The centre was created to conduct research and create knowledge that will influence and inform policy and practices, said Hole. It is the only university-based research centre in Canada with a dedicated focus on intellectual disability policy and practice.
Kelowna couple Leanne and Dale Froese are self-advocate advisors who work with the centre.
“The centre has helped me be more assertive,” said Leanne, who has worked on a variety of projects with the centre, such as home sharing. “I am more outgoing and this helps me get into the community and talk to people and be comfortable.”
Dale has been a long-time advocate of people with Down’s syndrome.
“We are very active in self-advocacy,” he said. “The centre helps us overcome these obstacles and limitations that we face in our lives.”
Research is conducted in several key policy areas such as employment, transition planning for youth, non-residential supports and alternatives, home sharing aging, healthcare and assistive technology. The centre also works closely with individuals with developmental disabilities locally and across the province.