“A Little Birdie Told Me” was an inclusive event attended by 38 registered participants; 16 children under 10 years old and their accompanying adults, 4 adults from the posAbilities Alternative Arts program and their two support workers, everyone who registered participated. Our event was segmented offering ongoing opportunities to create a craft, joining in storytelling and theatre games, and the sharing of snacks and tea. Participants wove between each station throughout the afternoon.
The event itself was run by 8 volunteers. Joining me through the process of building the event was Jes Thickson, an Arts Facilitator from Alternative Creations Studio; an inclusive arts program under the posAbilities umbrella of city wide programs. Alternatives aided us by promoting our event on their FB page and the posAbilities news letter.
Alternatives proved to be a strong supporter of the event. The day of the event they offered a photographer whose assistant was an artist with Downs Syndrome. Also two invaluable “GoFor” volunteers whose assistant also had Downs Syndrome, and a gifted artist with brain damage assisted with the instruction of the art work. A tight eclectic team with varying abilities to offer the participants. The Alternatives Studio were pleased with the event results in regard to their own mandate of art and inclusion within the community. They offered support in future events.
Our story telling wove throughout the afternoon; stories of community with tea being the global thread. This led to participants sharing their own stories through the day. We continued this thread into the tea and snack time where we followed the Japanese tradition of no one pouring their own tea, each pouring their neighbours. This was given very positive feedback. Our theatre game of Pass the Pulse encourage everyone to join hands and pass a heartbeat. This aspect was met with reverence by everyone involved. Communication. Laughter. Fun.
Drop-ins were drawn to the positive inclusive feel of the event and were encouraged to join.
Throughout the creation of the event we were in contact with Ellen, the Arts Facilitator at Britania Community Centre, a new and beneficial relationship. The success of the Aug 19th event earned a promise of ongoing support from Britania and the possibility of future collaborations,
This workshop event brought together 45 people of varying abilities, several non verbal, and broke the barrier that often exists between the abled and the so called disabled. Beyond the 38 registered participants, the atmosphere of laughter art and inclusion attracted drop in participation throughout the afternoon. Although it was not a directive in the original application for the grant, we feel the impact our event had on the community is that that through art, story telling and games our inclusive event opened communication and broke barriers between the able and disabled of our community.

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