Social inclusion and a clear vision for the future are some of the main tools to ensure family members with developmental disabilities have a fruitful and productive life. Midwest Family Connections is hosting a workshop on Feb. 7 at Lakeland College, Developing a Vision and the Means to a Good Life, that gives families a chance to think about the future for loved ones with developmental disabilities.
“The event that we’re hosting brings together families to think about their hopes for the future,” said Sherri Husch Foote, executive director of MFC. “What’s getting in the way of them having the biggest dream possible? And to be able to share with other families, to hear the dreams and experiences of other families and to also be inspired.”
Midwest Family Connections is a group that provides a variety of supports for parents and caregivers of preschool aged children including those of children with disabilities. MFC has evolved since 1982 from being a focused agency supporting families of children with disabilities to now being able to help any family of a preschool-aged child within the community.
People who attend the workshop will have the chance to learn about some of the creative initiatives Lloydminster,both Alberta and Saskatchewan, have to offer for those with developmental disabilities. Parents will also have the chance to think about and plan for the dreams and visions they have for their children.
“They’ll be inspired, they’ll have some tools to take away and they’ll know about how to stay connected so that they can be supported in realizing their vision.”
The event will feature Bruce Uditsky, CEO of the Alberta Association for Community Living (AACL), who will be there to help families work on their goals and think through their possibilities. According to his biography, Uditsky is internationally recognized for his leadership and publications on social justice and inclusion.
“(AACL) is a family advocacy organization of almost 60 years standing,” said Uditsky. “What we do is everything from working individually with families to help them get the supports they need to create a good life for their sons and daughters, to working with government to improve legislation and practices, to working with communities, schools, business owners and the municipalities, so that they can be more inclusive. Whether it’s a classroom, on the shop floor or on a soccer team.”
The free five-hour workshop will also have people relating stories about their own challenges and successes that aim to offer inspiration and show that a life of social inclusion is possible.
Why does MFC host this type of event? “We have a long history of bringing families together so they can share their experiences …to really be inspired and to sustain hope because some families in the room will have lost hope, will have tried to achieve something, but experienced challenges and barriers, where as other families will have successes they can share,” said Husch Foote.
She encourages families to call 306-825-5911 to register and is interested in having the community come out.
“There’s some amazing things happening and we really want to support families to first and foremost, know a good life in the community is possible for their son or daughter,” she said.