30 years ago, Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion World Tour swept across the international stage, leaving a lasting impact that still resonates to this day.
That impact is particularly felt in the Okanagan where People in Motion, a non-profit organization started after the world tour, helps bring awareness and inclusion for people with disabilities by providing them with many different adaptive recreation programs. People in Motion provides three main services; adaptive transportation, an equipment loan program and the aforementioned adaptive recreation.
The adaptive transportation service provides buses and other modes of transport to people with disabilities throughout the central Okanagan, increasing their access to other communities and events. The recreation program allows for disabled people to take part in sports and other activities they otherwise couldn’t by specializing the activities for them. Similarly, the equipment loan program allows for the rental of specialized gear that enables many of those activities, allowing prospective loaners to have the equipment available for the activity without paying several thousand dollars for it.
People in Motion’s largest fundraiser of the year is quickly approaching, as Kids in Motion Family Fun Day will take place at Big White Ski Resort on March 5th.
“We invite families who have a child with a disability to come participate as a family in all of the winter sports at Big White that we can adapt for the child,” described People in Motion executive director Louise Abbott. “They can participate with their child all together. We provide the activities for the whole family to take part in, and it’s only $20 for the day. Throughout that day they get to enjoy things with their child, rather than having separate situations.”
Activities at the Big White fundraiser include sit skiing, tubing, skating, sleigh rides and cross country skiing.
Like many other organizations in the Okanagan valley, the Central Okanagan Foundation is providing a three-year term for funding People in Motion. Abbott explained they are using that funding to employ a volunteer coordinator, who oversees around 80 volunteers.
“Having the opportunity to have a volunteer coordinator to coordinate all of those volunteers to do all the different activities and things for our programs has been instrumental in allowing us to provide more services and higher quality of services,” she stated.
Furthermore, the funding also allows them to provide a service to businesses in the Okanagan that want consultation on making their businesses for accessible.
Annually, People in Motion serves around 3,500 people with disabilities.