Carnival in Cold Lake will Entertain and Educate on International Day for Persons with Disabilities

Thursday, December 3 is the International Day for Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) and the Regional Abilities Awareness Committee has a day of fun and educational activities planned.

Events will take place at the Cold Lake Energy Centre field house from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Agencies representing people with different disabilities will offer interactive and insightful exhibits that are intended to show what it’s like to live with a disability and how to overcome it.

Theresa Seraphim, an employment specialist with EmployAbilities in Bonnyville, said the idea is “to have fun and help people learn in a way that is respectful.”

IDPD is a United Nations-declared day which is celebrated worldwide.  The theme for 2015 is “Inclusion matters:  access and empowerment of people of all abilities.”

The local event will address the theme with an “Access for All” carnival.  In addition to the interactive activities there will be popcorn and cotton candy to help create a fun atmosphere.  The event is open to everyone and is free of charge.  The list of presenting agencies hasn’t been confirmed, but Seraphim says many have been invited and she is expecting a great response.  “Schools have really come forward,” she said.

“It’s going to be a great day.  We encourage everybody to come out, have some fun and learn at the same time.”

Carnival will Entertain and Educate

Discovering Disabilities

Cold Lake residents will soon get a chance to discover what it’s like to live with a disability.

The Access for All Carnival is being held at the Cold Lake Energy Centre on December 3rd.  It will coincide with International Day for Persons with Disabilities, a worldwide event held by the United Nations.

Different agencies will set up at the Energy Centre to show attendees what it’s like to live with a disability and how to overcome them.

“The idea is to have fun in a respectful way and learn about disability,”said Theresa Seraphim, of the Regional Abilities Awareness Committee.

The committee holds an event to mark the day annually.  Last year’s event was held in Bonnyville and featured motivational speaker Bernie Inman.

“Every year the day has a theme,” explained Seraphim.  This year’s theme is access, so we’re calling it the Access for All Carnival.

The free event has the support of the Family and Community Support Services, the Lakeland Centre for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and other community agencies that will attend.

The public event will also feature face painting, popcorn, cotton candy and carnival music.

While school children will be bussed in for the event, Seraphim said members of the public are welcome to enjoy the day and learn about life with a disability.

“Hopefully they will take away a greater awareness of what it’s like to have a disability,” she said.  “They will be put into other people’s shoes, at least briefly, so hopefully they will realize when they come across a someone with a disability they won’t bully them or they won’t ignore them.  But hopefully see them as much as a person as anybody else.”

Seraphim said work still needs to be done to help disabled people better integrate into society.

“It sounds obvious to say they’re people too, but in some cases there’s still that stigma,” she said.  “This would be good in heling to hopefully dismantle that.”

Anyone who wants to volunteer for the event is encouraged to contact Tabrina Stenz at tstenz@icfasd.comm.

Discovering Disabilities