For 13-year-old Austen, Langley Pos-Abilities’ wheelchair obstacle course was an “eye-opener.”
It took the young teen two minutes and 15 seconds to finish the course, which included taking the wheelchair through an elevated metal ground, opening doors while sitting on the wheelchair, making body motions, taking sharp turns, and lastly, taking an exit by pressing an accessibility button on a door.
By the end of the obstacle course, Austen had begun to relate to the challenges people in wheelchairs face daily.
“It was hard to move around,” he commented. “We definitely need to add more additions to the City to help people around who are disabled.”
In addition to the wheelchair challenge, Austen also participated in the ‘nut and bolt’ challenge, which involved doing certain tasks while wearing a blindfold.
With about 150 people attending the event, Austen wasn’t the only one who described it as an eye-opening experience.
Langley RCMP’s top cop, Supt. Adrian Marsden, attended the eighth Day of Pos-Abilities event on Saturday, Aug. 20. And he representing the local Mounties in a friendly competition with Langley City firefighters, Marsden completed the wheelchair challenge in about two minutes.
He came out with a few cuts and bruises.
“It was interesting to see how disabled people have to deal with day-to-day life… it was quite eye-opening,” Marsden admitted, describing it as fun, but also a “great learning” experience, too.
Zosia Ettenberg, founder and executive director of Langley Pos-Abilities Society, said she was happy to see higher community engagement this year, especially from students who came out to volunteer.
Though getting volunteers on board was a challenge, and half of them backed out last minute, Jasmine Gill, director of volunteers, said everything worked out in the end.
A team of 20 volunteers assisted Gill in organizing the event at Langley City’s Douglas Park.
“All volunteers are passionate about what we stand for and what we trying to create,” said Gill.
Karen Chmara, director of events, said the ‘Day of Pos-Abilities’ is a means to spread a message that “everyone has a space and a reason to be together.”
Returning after two years, the event featured a dunk tank for the first time. In addition, there were vendors, live music, food, drinks, and more.
The society was also raising money through their 50/50 draw. Their goal is to raise $125,000 this year.
For more information or to make donations, people can visit pos-abilities.org.
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