‘It does so much to make our communities more inclusive’
Natalie Hamilton

One day Joe Erpenbeck helped connect a man with a disability who has a passion for baseball with a semi-professional league.

It flourished into a relationship with the team where the fan was helping prep the bullpen and the grounds before a ball game. More importantly, it created an opportunity and space for everyone to collectively share their love of the game.

The reciprocal relationship between the man and the team is an example of asset-based community development (ABCD) in action.

PosAbilities is digging deeper into utilizing ABCD with the addition of Joe Erpenbeck to its team.

Joe, director of ABCD, initially started working with posAbilities about a year ago. He provided a series of consultations with staff and people the agency supports about what ABCD means.

“There seemed to be a whole lot of energy and excitement around it,” Joe says.

“The main thrust is looking at how posAbilities and the people we serve can better partner with community and how we can support people to be more active citizens based on their gifts.”

ABCD involves looking at individuals and neighbourhoods through an asset-based lens. It focuses on celebrating the strengths and gifts, nurturing those assets and sharing them with others. It’s also about tapping into the potential of the welcoming, hospitable neighbourhoods that already exist in the community.

“This line of thinking matches so well with (posAbilities’) principles and mission statement,” Joe says.

Joe’s work will expand beyond posAbilities’ doors and into the broader developmental services sector in B.C. in the future.

Next week he is meeting with a number of partner agencies to see how rolling out ABCD teaching will unfold. Joe is clearly passionate about the potential it has for great things in the developmental services sector.

“It does so much to make our communities more inclusive, safer and more vibrant for everyone. When people can share their gifts, it transforms everything.”

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