A maple tree was planted in Haines Park earlier this week by advocates dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people with diverse abilities. L-R: Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette; Kayleigh Postmus, CLBC Kootenay Community Council; Fruitvale Coun. Vickie Fitzpatrick; and Ben Postmus from the CLBC Kootenay Community Council. Photo: Submitted

A maple tree was planted in Haines Park earlier this week by advocates dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people with diverse abilities. L-R: Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette; Kayleigh Postmus, CLBC Kootenay Community Council; Fruitvale Coun. Vickie Fitzpatrick; and Ben Postmus from the CLBC Kootenay Community Council. Photo: Submitted

Growing diversity and inclusion in Fruitvale

The maple tree was planted in Haines Park earlier this week.

A very special tree is now growing in Fruitvale.

The maple tree — planted in Haines Park earlier this week — symbolizes diversity and inclusion through the many changing colours of its leaves. As the tree grows tall and sturdy over time, it will serve a daily reminder that community strength is achieved through diversity and inclusion.

This welcome addition, courtesy the Kootenay Columbia Council, will soon include a plaque that reads: “This tree symbolizes the roots that persons with diverse abilities have planted to keep the community solid and inclusive.”

The council is a group of people who work to break down barriers to inclusion and help make a difference in the lives of the people with diverse abilities. The local council is one of 13 councils across the province that are part of Community Living BC (CLBC).

CLBC is the government agency that connects adults with developmental disabilities to funded services and community support they need to live life to the fullest.

“’Self Advocacy’ is a rights movement led by people who have been labelled as having a developmental disability,” the council explains. “An important part of our work is to promote the strengths and abilities of the people CLBC serves, and to recognize and build the leadership of self advocates in our local communities.”

Self-advocates are re-shaping society to make sure people who have been labelled have the same rights and opportunities to contribute as everyone else.

The council is requesting communities across the East and West Kootenays to plant a tree as one way to bring awareness to this leadership.

Read more: To live a normal life: Fruitvale woman returns from Inclusion conference

Read more: Province to fund Fruitvale affordable housing project



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