by Alex Wilks/Special to the Langley Advance
Once again, Langley Pos-Abilities Society is showcasing how people living with disabilities are overcoming challenges.
Originally, when A Day of Pos-Abilities took over Douglas Park Spirit Square, very few Langley residents knew about the inclusion issues that people with disabilities were facing.
Now, six years later, the annual awareness event has grown substantially, said LPS Zosia Ettenberg.
“Having lived through it myself, there are a lot of people in that world that experience this inequality,” she said. “We are just trying to balance the scales.”
For people who are living with disabilities, this event has acted as an opportunity for them to demonstrate exactly what they are able to accomplish.
“Just because they may have to do things differently to accommodate their challenges, it does not make their contribution less valuable,” Ettenberg said.
Although it is not a fundraising event the registered charity is getting ready to run a pilot project called, Equipment Repair Day.
Since many people living with disabilities are retired, their limited income simply isn’t enough to pay for many needed equipment repairs, she explained.
There is “a lot of equipment [that] is sitting idle because owners are unable to pay for the repairs,” she added.
“We are hoping to serve 30 people with this project.”
The Day of Pos-Abilities aims to celebrate the abilities of people with disabilities and will feature a marketplace full of local artisans, vendors that showcase some of the latest innovative technologies, and entertainment provided by local volunteers with disabilities.
“What warms my heart is the number of volunteers who donate generously of their time and come out and work at this event,” she noted.
At this year’s community event there will be musical acts, wheelchair square dancing, and even service dog demonstrations, but nothing quite revs up the enthusiasm of the crowd like giving them a chance to try on a disability, Ettenberg said.
“I hope to promote acceptance, inclusion, and pride in their abilities” with the Try on a Disability (TOADS) program, Ettenberg explained.
“People don’t realize how difficult it is to get around in our world until they try it.”
Each participant is given a disability and a task to complete. This gives them a chance to learn about the disability and perform tasks that someone living with that disability is forced to overcome every day.
“We are trying to show that we all have to live slightly differently,” she said.
Like many of the LPS board members, Ettenberg, a retired physiotherapist, understands through first-hand experience. Living with the effects of polio, she now uses a wheelchair.
“Just because we have a disability does mean that we are useless or can’t do anything. We have the same wants, desires, wishes, and everything else,” she said.
The free, family-friendly event will be held on Saturday, Aug. 11, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. at Douglas Park.
It will feature a barbecue and several adaptative demonstrations done by exhibitors who are focused on improving the lives of people with disabilities.
“We want people to see what we can do, so come out and enjoy,” said Ettenberg.