Launches digital storytelling, expands community gardens, participates in inaugural film festival
Michelle Strutzenberger


Whether it was through the launch of digital storytelling or ongoing expansion of its community gardens, posAbilities made great strides in 2012 towards changing perceptions and creating community through the use of some innovative tools.

The organization’s new digital storytelling initiative, which got off the ground this fall, includes the creation of a series of YouTube videos and expanded use of social media. Its primary intention is to raise awareness of posAbilities, demystify disability and grow its community.

posAbilities members attending the WAM gala opening night.

The first video in the series — in a fun and engaging way — exposed more than 200 people to the world of development disability.

“(We want) to use social media for one of the things that it’s best known for, which is precipitating social change,” posAbilities director of community engagement Monique Nelson said in an earlier interview, reflecting on the greatest possibilities she sees in this new effort.

Gardening is obviously as old as Adam, but being very intentional about its use to create community is relatively new, and here again, in 2012, posAbilities was leading the way with the ongoing expansion of its Can You Dig It! initiative.

Can You Dig It? project co-ordinator Cinthia Pagé says this year’s program resulted in a bumper crop of produce for the 700 participants in the community garden program.

In March, Can You Dig It! was one of four B.C.-based innovators to be awarded funding by a new social innovation fund, the Community Living Innovation Venture, to accelerate and amplify its impact.

Can You Dig It! has now helped create more than 25 community gardens in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, in partnership with a variety of individuals and agencies.

PosAbilities project co-ordinator Cinthia Pagé has been deeply involved in the creation of the community gardens, which she describes as “some of the best work there is to do in the world.”

She compares community gardens to the traditional, backyard, family garden.

“It’s not the same as when you (grow a garden) in a community setting, and you put yourself out there and you commit to connecting with people and being part of a project in your community. This is really what moves me,” Cinthia tells posAbilities Today.

PosAbilities was also involved this year in an inaugural film-festival for filmmakers who have a disability

Gord Tulloch, a program director with posAbilities, said his hope for the festival was that it would create awareness and change perceptions about people who have a disability, noting that when groups are represented in the media, attitudes shift.

“We can see that with women in media, with minorities in media, we can see it with gay/lesbian in media, that it starts to bring consciousness, a social awareness to people and they start to learn other people’s stories and make space for them,” he said.

Through the film festival, “we want to celebrate the way that (disability) enriches our world,” and at the same time have it become a part of mainstream media, Gord said.

— More to Come

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