By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Taber Special Needs Society Citizen Walk About will be held in Taber from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 22.
The Citizen Walk About is a community awareness event that celebrates all abilities and positive contributions of people with disabilities provide to our communities,” Chelsey Trowbridge, Team Leader for Taber Special Needs Society, said. “It is about promoting inclusion and brings awareness to the disability rights movement. It also brings awareness that there are still changes to be made in communities to fully include people.”
Trowbridge says that this is the first year that Taber is hosting the Citizen Walk About, but the first ever Walk About took place in Lethbridge in 2009.
“The first ever, a self-advocacy group called South Region Self-Advocate Network now hosts the event each year in Lethbridge, and other community agencies host their own in Brooks and Medicine Hat,” Trowbridge said.
The walk, Trowbridge says, will start at Taber Special Needs parking lot at 10 a.m. and those involved will walk East down 47 Avenue, turn onto 53 Street, turn down 48 Avenue and go all the way down to 50 Street, in front of the Town of Taber Administration Building, and into Confederation Park.
“We are inviting the entire community to come out and join us,” Trowbridge said. “We have just started sending out invitations to the community. The people we have spoken to so far have provided positive feedback. We will have representatives from the Town of Taber as well as the M.D. of Taber. The only requirement is to show up at Taber Special Needs parking lot at 10 a.m. with your walking shoes on!”
Trowbridge says that there will be speeches, the walk itself, tables set up with information about Taber Special Needs Society and The Beary Patch/Health Equipment Locker, and food trucks for people wanting to stay and join for lunch in the park.
“The Citizen Walk About brings disability advocates together with similar goals such as creating a barrier free accessibility community, transportation, equal opportunities for independent living including affordable housing and employment equity,” Krista Douglas, the Executive Director of the Taber Special Needs Society, said. “The Citizen Walk About promotes disability inclusivity. People with disabilities carry the same community roles as other citizens in Taber and the M.D. of Taber. They are volunteers, employees of local businesses, neighbours, home owners, tenants, entrepreneurs, and customers. It is the relationships made within these roles that truly creates a community; a sense of belonging.”