The Council for Persons with Disabilities is proud to celebrate the success of Peterborough’s first Inclusion Conference! On April 26 and 27, CPD teamed up with Heads Up for Inclusion to host Inclusion Conference 2013 at Fleming College. We welcomed over 100 people from across Canada to learn about accessibility and diversity. We also recognized local businesses for their achievements in making Peterborough an inclusive community.
Diane Dupuy kicked off the conference with an uplifting keynote speech. Diane was bullied because of her poor grades in school and feared being stigmatized because she was different from her peers.
“I gave up on me,” she said. “I would never try anything for fear of failing.”
She said her life turned around when she performed a puppet show for people with disabilities and saw how kind they were to each other.
“I wanted to work with all those people, and that’s what I founded Famous PEOPLE Players for, for people who are a lot like me.”
Diane’s will to share her gift of imagination has made the Famous PEOPLE Players a showcase for the creative talents of many people with disabilities and a source of inspiration for everyone.
After that, everyone was energized and eager to start their first workshop session. CPD Access Awareness Chair Anna Lee was seen dipping flowers and branches in paint to create a beautiful pattern on construction paper in the Arte de Triomphe Art and Disabilities workshop. On display outside was the accessible car from MV-1 Canada. People were impressed by its spacious interior and accessible ramp.
During the Appreciation Luncheon, CPD presented special recognition awards to employers and service providers who are showing a commitment to inclusion in Peterborough. Mayor Daryl Bennett presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Robert Falls of Bob’s Watch Repair. Congratulations to all the winners!
CPD Chair John McNutt also announced that construction is underway for Peterborough’s first Centre for Independent Living. This Centre will provide information about community resources to persons with disabilities, and will also be the main CPD meeting place.
Alternate Format Chair John Morris and Washboard Hank entertained the crowd after the afternoon sessions. Everyone enjoyed another excellent meal prepared by Fleming Food Services for dinner.
Saturday morning brought attendees together for a special presentation about accommodations in the workplace by Lisa Belcourt and Peter McSherry. More sessions took place after that, including a fitness workshop and a digital storytelling presentation on women and disabilities, featuring CPD Volunteer Co-ordinator Tamara Mann.
This is the first Inclusion Conference the council has hosted. It took months of planning by our dedicated council members, several presenters, and Fleming College staff. The Inclusion Conference would not have been a success without additional support from donors, volunteers, and community partners.
The success of our first conference ensures we can look forward to more opportunities to create awareness about accessibility and inclusion in the future!
Speaking of supporters, check out The Peterborough Examiner’s coverage of the Inclusion Conference and the new Centre for Independent Living: