The Kootenay Community 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 council is one of 13 councils across British Columbia that are part of Community Living BC (CLBC).
CLBC is the government agency that connects adults with developmental disabilities to the 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. 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 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.
As one way to bring awareness of this leadership the local council has requested tree planting in communities across the East and West Kootenays.These communities are Grand Forks, Warfield, Montrose, Fruitvale, Salmo, Castlegar, Nakusp, Nelson and Kaslo.
“It will serve a daily reminder that community strength is achieved and maintained through diversity and inclusion,” the council says. “We have chosen the maple tree — many changing colours/strong and diverse.”
The trees planted each have a plaque that reads, “This tree symbolizes the roots that persons with diverse abilities have planted to keep our community solid and inclusive.”