The Waterloo Region District School Board is one of the largest school boards in Ontario. It serves approximately 42,000 elementary students and 20,000 secondary students in 118 schools. Educators at all schools are routinely implementing universal design strategies in their classrooms. By creating inclusive and challenging learning environments, they are preparing youth to become active global citizens. The portable lifts will allow students with mobility disabilities to access the stage area in all of the region’s schools, encouraging independence and improving accessibility and inclusion.
When Rick Hansen was interviewed by CBC’s Peter Mansbridge in September 2016, Rick said if people can “get onto the stage at their local school and be an actor, maybe we won’t have to hire able-bodied actors to play people with disabilities.” We couldn’t agree more! There have been times when students in wheelchairs have remained on the floor beside the stage during performances. Sometimes staff have lifted students in wheelchairs onto the stage, which puts their safety at risk and impacts their dignity in being able to independently access the stage area. Having lifts available will allow us to ensure that no one in our school communities is excluded from fully and actively participating in events on stage.
The ability to provide access to the stage, using a lift, for individuals with mobility challenges within our schools, will not only impact each person’s ability to fully participate in school performances, graduation ceremonies, and special events, but it will demonstrate the importance and benefits of inclusive design to the greater school community.
The best thing about being a Barrier Buster is the opportunity to provide a safe and inclusive school experience for people with disabilities, and to demonstrate our commitment to our community, our families, and our students - each and every one.
December 1, 2017
A Lift for Inclusion Awareness Event
Location: Glencairn Public School, 664 Erinbrook Dr, Kitchener, ON N2E 2R1
Time: 9:30am to 10:30am
Description: A Lift for Inclusion event will have an Indigenous opening ceremony, ribbon cutting, and a Rick Hansen Foundation ambassador presentation to learn more about the importance of accessibility and inclusivity.
For more information, please contact:Deepa Ahluwalia at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-570-0003 ext. 4146