Big Ideas: $100,000


Gateway Association
Gateway Association envisions a world where all people are valued, respected members of their communities.
To achieve our purpose and vision, Gateway builds capacity through two key services: family support and employment supports. We work with families to ensure that they have the tools to develop a promising and inclusive life for their son or daughter. We do this by providing one-on-one connections, mentorship opportunities, workshops, and individualized support plans. Through our employment supports, we help persons living with disabilities to understand their skills and talents and how to translate that into a meaningful job or career. We also work with employers to build their capacity to become more inclusive and accommodating to people who face barriers. Our services require no fees and are funded through various contracts and grants.

Cohesive Communities
Cohesive Communities' mission is to support inclusion of children and youth living with disability in all community environments, so every family touched by disability feels welcomed and supported. We envision our communities as places where all people are valued and met exactly where they are at. We see our communities embracing diversity in its fullest form, where eventually inclusion becomes a part of our everyday mindset. Cohesive is a grassroots group of parents, professionals and advocates for inclusion for families with disability. We believe the stories of our families can inform and re-imagine the environments in which we live, work and play. Our main geographic area of focus is the Tri-Region area of Parkland County, Spruce Grove and Stony Plain in Alberta. We also provide support to Sturgeon County and Lac Ste Anne County residents. Our focus is rural families within the greater Edmonton region.

The idea
Gateway Association has been bringing the disability community together across diverse families and sectors through monthly "Families Forward" interactive workshops. Currently, Cohesive Communities is doing similar work on a smaller scale with limited capacity in the Tri-Region (Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County areas). The idea would be to bring the two organizations together under a framework which has proven success in Edmonton, and extend the reach to families with disability in the Tri-Region and surrounding rural areas, including First Nations communities of Paul First Nation, and Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, and a large Metis population. There are unique barriers to families connecting and coming together in the Tri-Region, with lack of access to public transportation and adequate childcare being at the forefront. We will welcome regional government and agency cross sectors to these sessions, as a means to continue the work of building inclusive communities through meaningful connection. Participants will include representatives from municipal governments in the Tri-Region, school divisions, community organizations, and community members with a desire to become a part of the understanding. The goal is to shift perspectives and create the cohesive community environments our families with disabilities desire to feel supported accepted, and understood. Sessions will be interactive, with panels and presenters of families, experts, community members and more. The Families Forward framework is a way to relationship build, help families in need, and inform future program and governance design in the Tri-Region. Funds will be used to design, develop and deliver Families Forward for an entire year with one group to focus on parents with children under 18, and one over 18. In line with the TRC recommendations, emphasis will be on hiring a community member of one of the First Nations to design and facilitate at least one of the sessions. Alberta Government is paying attention to this need, and this one year project would provide the results required for a sustainable funded program.

Broker supported

Gateway Association for Community Living

Location: Stony Plain