By Camille Aubin
camille@columbiavalleypioneer.com

Inclusion BC is a non-profit provincial organization that advocates for the rights and opportunities of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. The organization provides advocacy, education and support where and when needed.

Kate Gibbs, well known locally in Invermere, was recently elected on the Board of Directors. You might have seen her testing with a wheelchair the accessibility of businesses and public places in town for locals and tourists who may have mobility challenges. To know more about this project, visit www.cvchamber.ca/access-the-valley-about-us/.

She received a surprising call from Bendina Miller, also on the Board of Directors, telling her that she was selected to be part of Inclusion BC. Kate accepted the invitation without hesitation, passed the interview and tests, and waited for the board to make their final decision.

  Kate sounded remarkably thrilled about her new role when the Pioneer spoke with her, “It’s really exciting. I have trouble wrapping my head around, but I can’t believe that I get to be on this board. That’s big! I’ve always wanted to do this sort of work and help people with diverse abilities with others, and give back!”

The first year on board for Kate will involve a lot of reading about Inclusion BC, observing and learning regarding her new role. But she has some important goals that she would like to achieve with her new position. Kate’s long-term goal is to do something in education because, for her, it is the first step towards any improvement, “In highschools, you learn about all the minority groups, but you don’t learn disability. It’s not really talked about in schools, and I want to do something about that.”

Kate is also working on her company named Count Me In, with her business partner Crisanna MacLeod, for future projects that they will operate in our valley. She’s a person of words. Kate is already accomplishing her goal by managing another project called Dare to be Different. She will teach lessons on accessibility and inclusion for schools and businesses.

Her strength: positivism. She wants changes in a positive manner. “When I was little, I’ve always been told that my job, as a person with diverse abilities, was to advocate for myself and that word kind of scared me a little bit because it sounds negative. But then, I went to college, and I learned more about advocacy. I’ve been writing letters of support for people, and I learned that there is a positive way you can advocate that doesn’t involve, you know, shaming anybody or getting mad because business isn’t accessible… You can work with people.”

Kate wanted to make sure that families, friends and all of her supporters in Invermere know how thankful she is for the continuous support!

To learn more about Inclusion BC, visit https://inclusionbc.org/.