The COVID-19 pandemic shone a harsh light to the challenges faced by people with disabilities living in the community. Many of these people need support to meet basic needs and live safely. Community living in isolation meant people had to adapt, finding different ways of receiving support and engaging. Many of these individuals temporarily lost their jobs or were not able to participate in programs that had given them a sense of purpose and connection.
The change to services was stressful for participants and support workers. Support workers at Bigby Place tried to find ways to foster a sense of belonging through connection and established relationships. Recognizing these challenges gave us all an opportunity to build resiliency, where change encouraged growth, adaptability and independence. Some services moved to online platforms, which involved learning new tools like cell phones and tablet computers. Instead of focusing on falling apart, we can focus on coming together.
Phoebe Hannah, a community support worker, designed a collaborative art project for the participants and residents of Kootenay Society for Community Living that would be a collective effort of uniting people together through the governmental advisory to stay at home during the lockdown. Participants were invited to draw their home while staying at home. Participants joined in locally from the West Kootenay, and from as far away as Nova Scotia. It encouraged people to take a break from COVID-19 and reconnect in creative ways.
Now as services reopen, we can exhibit the finished art project and continue to move forward with appreciation for being a part of our community.