On Tuesday, July 5th, 2022 we held our annual celebration for the first time in person! We joined efforts with the Community Action Team at the Alex Community Food Centre and explored storytelling using our five senses. We based our storytelling on five topics: "Disability Pride and Culture, Relationships and Networking, Enough money to live, A home for all, and Services that we need."
We made a 1-minute photo album to celebrate the day. The video has images of people gathered around the tables telling stories and enjoying the afternoon together.
Many Hall members helped organize the event including bringing together useful items, music, and creative ways to spark discussion. Angie made purple bracelets for all attendees and Alex made tiny fidgets to help people feel comfortable at the table.
Alex also began the day by welcoming people with songs by bringing along an entire DJ set up to spin favorite tunes from the members of the Disability Action Hall. Alex enjoyed the conversation at all the tables and says, "I really like the smaller group size. It was a good amount of people attending for the first time in person. It was a nice change to meet people in a smaller group; when meeting in a big group can be intimidating. We had about 20 people show up. We were also joined by the Calgary Scope Society Counselling team Gabi and Kerstin who brought a zen garden and lots of fun things to play with including a big squishy ball. We had things you could smell like coffee grounds, teas, and herbs. For the housing table, I brought some dish scrubbers, and timothy, (to smell like grass or a lawn). It was so cool to hear everyone telling their stories and went from table to table and watched people pick up different things and tell stories. For the 'Enough money for all' table, Kathleen made a container that had different categories to show where people’s money went (we had $1685) and we talked about what things cost and what we paid per month. That was a good topic and led to some great discussion and storytelling. Exploring the five senses is a cool thing."
Mary says "Everyone went home with a plant or door prize that could be used in a meal or a tool to be used in the home. I liked getting the plants for everyone; things people can use and are hard to kill. Any plants left over that were generously donated by Talia were also planned for future use in meals at the Alex Community Food Centre."
Lloyd says "We smelled different spices and that was different."
Kathleen facilitated the "Disability Pride and Culture Table" and got to hear people say what they were proud of. There was one single mother who talked about how she went back to university at a much older age and now she helps people at the Alex Community Food Centre. It was a real treat for me to hear what people are proud of as I love listening to people's stories."
Colleen heard feedback from the Alex staff who really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere to reflect and pause. Darrell said the center has been very busy and was more than happy to have a relaxing afternoon and shared how she has been part of at least four disability pride celebrations and more than to have The Community Food Centre be a collaborator for Speak Out.
Thank you to all who attended, facilitated, planned, and prepared the wonderful food.