Anyone travelling through town on Saturday may wonder why the bridge lights in Trail are a shining beacon of red.
It all began back in May when council proclaimed July 21 as “Global Day of Inclusion” in the city.
The day honours the 50th Anniversary of the global Special Olympics movement, as the first International Special Olympics games were held on July 20, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois.
Before that special commemoration, the long standing Trail Association of Community Living (TACL) celebrated inclusion in the city by hosting an Afternoon of Appreciation on July 19.
TACL has been supporting people with diverse needs since the early 1950s, and Executive Director Nancy Gurr has been part of the organization for more than 30 of those years.
So she is the ideal person to ask how inclusiveness has grown in the City of Trail over time.
“Taking Down Walls” sums up TACL’s mission, it’s what the association has achieved and continues to work toward.
“We are a progressive organization committed to providing quality service to individuals with diverse needs in Trail and surrounding communities for over 67 years,” Gurr began. “I have worked for TACL for 31 years and have watched the organization grow from one group home on Portland Street and the Adult Day Program, formerly known as Maple School, which supported approximately 50 people and 15 staff,” she said.
“To today, we support more than 400 people and employee 130 staff.”
TACL focuses on creating opportunities for individuals with diverse abilities to participate and contribute fully as valued members of their community, she continued.
“The staff, volunteers and board members of TACL work tirelessly, laying the ground work for a kinder, stronger, more inclusive community in the West Kootenay. Trail is where the association began back in the early 50’s and we have been very fortunate to be part of such a progressive and inclusive community.”
Inclusion means that all people, regardless of their abilities, disabilities, or health care needs, have the right to: be respected and appreciated as valuable members of their communities; participate in recreational activities in neighbourhood settings; work at jobs in the community that pay a competitive wage and have careers that use their capacities to the fullest; and attend general education classes with peers from pre-school through college and continuing education.
Officially proclaimed Global Day of Inclusion by the Province of B.C., Special Olympics BC (SOBC) will kick-off 50th anniversary celebrations on Saturday when Trail and 21 other communities across British Columbia light the night sky red in honour.