Dave Harmer- Moving On

Thank you Dave Harmer. For over 18 years Dave Harmer has worked diligently crunching the numbers for inclusion Powell River. Dave has meant and done more for our organization than mere words can encapsulate. He has brought a warm, inviting and generous spirit that genuinely comes from someone who has a passion for their work and for those they work with and for. He has been more than just an accountant or manager. He has been an inspiration, mentor and friend. Often doing more than expected and earning the respect of his peers, Dave’s absence will be felt by all. To you Mr. Harmer, we thank you and wish all the best for you in this next chapter of your life.

Resolutions passed at inclusion BC Annual General Meeting

The Inclusion BC Federation passed six resolutions at our Annual General Meeting on June 16th. These resolutions will guide our work as we support and advocate for people with intellectual disabilities, their families and our member organizations.

• Establishing a Task Force on Income Security in BC
• Kids Can’t Wait
• An Institution is not a Home
• Inclusive Affordable Housing for People with Intellectual Disabilities
• Restoring Quality Inclusive Education
• Home Share Rates

for more information follow the link below…


Canada’s Nicest Person

CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, June 23, 2017

A Port Alberni woman who has made it her mission to sew blankets for sick kids has been named “Canada’s nicest person.”

Angel Magnussen created Hugginz By Angel, a registered charity that provides blankets and other items for kids with serious illnesses or other medical conditions.

Magnussen, who has Down syndrome, has sewn hundreds of blankets for hospitalized children around the world in countries like Australia, New Zealand and Scotland and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity.

Roots Canada announced last month it would be searching for the country’s nicest person in honour of Canada 150 anniversary celebrations.

Canadians were encouraged to nominate their friends and neighbours online who made a positive impact to their community or peers.

On Friday, it announced Magnussen would take home the honour – and a $10,000 donation to the charity of her choice, a $500 Roots gift card and a custom jacket.

“I am so happy to be named Canada’s Nicest Person,” she said in a statement. “$10,000 will help me to sew more blankets. I want to wrap sick kids in a warm hug to help them heal. Thank you for helping me to help sick kids.”

Magnussen made headlines last year when a long-distance runner Curtis Hargrove embarked on a 49-day journey to Los Angeles to deliver one of her blankets to Ellen.

Although the superstar, who is Magnussen’s hero, wasn’t there to receive the blanket, the stunt helped raise awareness and money for her Hugginz charity.


Words Have Power, Use Them with Respect


From the Winnipeg Sun

By Harry Wolbert, For the Winnipeg Sun
Monday, June 19, 2017 03:53 PM CDT

There’s a Japanese proverb that says: “The tongue is but three inches long, yet it can kill a man six feet high.” The words we use can have a profound impact upon the lives of others.

For centuries, people with disabilities have been labelled, euthanized, institutionalized, and excluded from our communities. Language has played a major role in how we’ve treated them. People living with intellectual disabilities have been called village idiots, feeble-minded, morons, imbeciles and retards. Today, these labels are considered outdated and offensive. Sadly, there are still some Canadians who use these words and phrases when referring to others.

People First of Canada and the Canadian Down Syndrome Society are working together on a project to raise awareness on the importance of language. Their project focuses on the use of the R-word and the ways that we can make students in our public school system aware of how the word affects labelled people. We need to teach our young people that using the R-word is no different than using the N-word when referring to an African-American. It’s offensive and unacceptable!

Most of us are familiar with the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Organizations which advocate for the rights of people with disabilities don’t believe that. They believe that words can hurt. Their message is that we need to be more respectful towards one another. This includes our words and our actions.

The R-word is often used to describe someone or something in a damaging or hurtful way. It reinforce negative attitudes and stereotypes of people living with intellectual disabilities. We should treat people with disabilities, and everyone else, the same way we would like to be treated. It’s a lesson we all learned at an early age, but sometimes forget.

What sort of language should we use? I believe that it’s wrong to reduce people to a diagnostic label. In North America, using people-first language has become the standard for respectful terminology. I am a person living with a disability. I also have a name. If you don’t know it, ask for it. That’s usually a good place to start when initiating a conversation with another person. It’s important to remember that everyone has value, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. People deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Let’s make respect the new R-word.

It’s been said that our beliefs become our thoughts, our thoughts become our words, and our words become our actions. The disability community knows from experience that negative language can lead to harmful actions like isolation, abuse, and violence. Stop and think, before you speak. Words have power — you do too!

The American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. has been quoted as saying “The time is always right to do what is right.” When it comes to the R-word — do the right thing. Don’t use it! Take the pledge. Promise not to use the R-word. Support the removal of all offensive language from everyday speech. Encourage the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. Finally, let us pledge to show respect to everyone.

— Harry Wolbert is an anti-poverty/disability advocate

Woman with Down syndrome to compete in Miss Minnesota USA pageant

From the Hamilton Spectator
By Aimee Blanchette

MINNEAPOLIS — When Mikayla Holmgren applied for the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, she submitted a lengthy resume that highlighted her past pageant experience, her status as a triple-threat athlete and her work as a mentor for other young women like her.

The 22-year-old has Down syndrome, something that pageant directors had not seen before in a contestant.

“Mikayla is a trailblazer,” said Denise Wallace, executive co-director of the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, which is part of the Miss Universe Organization.

When Holmgren takes the stage later this year, she will be the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in the state pageant, and as far as pageant officials know, the first in the country.

Her participation reflects the new strides toward body acceptance and more diverse beauty ideals that are being made not only in pageants, but on fashion runways and television. Late last year, a 19-year-old St. Cloud woman became the first person to compete in the same Minnesota pageant wearing a hijab and burkini. In February, designers hired people with disabilities to model their clothes at New York Fashion Week.

Society’s traditional view of what’s beautiful is changing, pageant insiders say.

“I’m ready for this,” Holmgren said recently after practicing in a dance studio on the Bethel University campus, where she is a student. “When I’m performing on stage, I just want people to see me.”

Indeed, pageant directors say they saw more of Holmgren’s talents, goals and self-confidence than they saw of her disability. They accepted her application without hesitation.

“To have women from all walks of life truly be represented on stage shows that pageants are accessible for all and that beauty isn’t a box that we can fit in,” said Jordan Buckellew, the director of Minnesota Miss Amazing, a pageant for girls and women with disabilities. “We’re stepping away from the ‘Miss Congeniality’ vibe where everyone has blond hair and blue eyes. That’s not what we accept or define as beauty anymore.”

Holmgren was crowned Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing in 2015 and went on to represent the state in the national Junior Miss Amazing pageant in Los Angeles.


From the neonatal intensive care unit to the glitzy world of pageants, Holmgren has always been determined to prove her disability doesn’t define her.

Born six weeks early with Down syndrome and without an esophagus, a condition that required surgery, Holmgren has always been a “go-getter” who has never been defined by her disability, said her mother, Sandi Holmgren.

“At first you’re handed this child and the doctors are telling you she may never talk and she may never walk,” Sandi Holmgren said. “You’re thinking, ‘What does her future hold?’ She’s achieved more than I ever dreamed of.”

Holmgren is no stranger to the stage. She’s been dancing since she was 6, when her parents signed her up for classes in her hometown of Marine on St. Croix, Minn.

“From the start, my husband and I decided that she’s a child first and the Down syndrome is secondary,” Sandi Holmgren said. “We never said that she can’t do this because she has Down syndrome; instead we asked, ‘Why not?’?”

Holmgren competes solo and with the dance team at Bethel University, where she’s in her first year of a two-year post-secondary program for students with intellectual disabilities.

She choreographs most of her own dances, which are typically modern in style. She moves gracefully, doing back bends, jumps and the splits to her favourite music.

“I like to dance for people because it brightens their day,” Holmgren said. “Down syndrome means I have something special. I can warm hearts.”

‘I have to wear a swimsuit’

While Holmgren won’t get the chance to perform a dance routine at the Miss Minnesota USA pageant in November (there’s no talent category), she’ll be able to talk about her passion for dancing during the interview portion, which she’s been practicing with her advisers at Bethel.

What else does a young woman need to do to prepare for a pageant?

“I have to practice walking in high heels,” Holmgren said. “I’m working out a lot to get my body in shape. I have to wear a swimsuit.”

With no nervousness detected in her voice about donning a swimsuit and heels, Holmgren also said she hopes that by competing in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant she will help change the way that society views disabilities and the notion of beauty.

“I want the whole world to see that I can do things that are hard and that people with Down syndrome are beautiful and talented,” she said.

Although Wallace said that the Miss Minnesota USA pageant has always valued inclusion and diversity, what’s changed is that more women with different backgrounds want to participate.

“What is amazing and beautiful about this is the fact that women are finally seeing representations of themselves in this capacity,” Wallace said. “It makes the next woman feel like they can do that, too.”

If Holmgren wins Miss Minnesota USA in November, she would go on to compete in the Miss USA competition. The winner of that goes on to Miss Universe.

Tomorrow is ELECTION DAY, BC!

2017 Provincial General ElectionThe BC Election is tomorrow, May 9th. We strongly urge everyone who can vote to do so.
Polls are open from 8am until 8pm.
In the Powell River Regional District, you can vote at the following locations:
• 9654 Larson Rd, Lund
• 5866 Lund St,
• 6792 Cranberry St
• 5001 Joyce Ave
• F-4493 Marine Ave
• 3676 Joyce Ave
• 11090 Sunshine Coast Hwy
• 4913 Gillies Bay Rd, Texada Island
• 2007 Waterman Ave, Texada Island
Voter ID
All voters must prove their identity and residential address before voting. You can find  all the Voter ID information and more at http://elections.bc.ca
If you have any questions, please call the District Electoral Office at
(604) 485-0678.

Early Voting!!

Did you know you can vote early?
-From now until 4:00 pm on May 9th you can vote at the District Electroral Office located at F-4493 Marine Ave. The office hours are:
April 11-28, May 1-2 and May 8
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
April 29-30 and May 3-6
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday, closed
-There is also advance voting at 55-7100 Alberni, that’s at The Town Centre Mall.
Advance voting dates:
Sat-Sun, Apr 29-30 Fri-Sat May 5-6.
All Advance voting times are: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
-For more information please call The Electoral District office at (604)485-0678 or go to the Elections BC website. http://elections.bc.ca

Disability Assistance Rate Increase – Effective April 1, 2017

Update from the Ministry of Social Development & Social Innovation:

The Province has just announced an  increase to disability assistance rates.

  • As of April 1, 2017, disability assistance support rates will rise by $50 per month, an annual total of $600.
  • Once the increase takes effect, a single person with the PWD designation will receive up to $1,033 per month in disability assistance, up from $983.
  • A couple in which both are PWDs will receive an additional $100 per month, for a total of up to $1,773.

For more information, see Newsroom for this week’s news releases.