Proposes Shared Living support networks, partners with Quest Food Exchange, co-hosts community-building event
Michelle Strutzenberger

Building community capacity is an interest of posAbilities, and in 2012 the organization took several significant steps in that direction.

One of these steps was to begin the process of creating a set of new networks that would provide opportunity for people who open their homes and their lives for the posAbilities Shared Living arrangements to meet regularly.

The idea for the network received significant uptake at a Sept. 26 appreciation luncheon posAbilities hosted. The luncheon recognized and celebrated the people who open their homes for the Shared Living program.

The Sept. 26 appreciation luncheon for families and individuals who open their lives and homes for the posAbilities Shared Living arrangements was well-received.

Attendees spoke of being happy to be recognized and having a chance to connect with people sharing a common experience.

When asked, they said they liked the idea of making this connection a regular event, where they can share the challenges and rewards of being part of the Shared Living program, as well as learn from outside experts.

A new network is being considered for each of the Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby and tricities areas.

PosAbilities also began forming a close partnership with Vancouver’s Quest Food Exchange, a food redistribution agency, in 2012. PosAbilities donated its commercial kitchen to the nonprofit for its training and services around healthy eating and cooking.

People supported by posAbilities also began volunteer working at Quest’s community food stores in February, as well as taking part in Quest’s training opportunities.

Also in the interest of thickening the connective tissues of the local community, posAbilities co-hosted a dialogue on creating community, in partnership with the University of British Columbia Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship and Community Living BC in November.

Joe Erpenbeck who is a fellow of the Asset-based Community Development (ABCD) Institute at Northwestern University in Chicago, presented.

Asset-based community development works from the recognition that:
– Everyone has gifts
– Gifts are valued in the community
– Friends and activities give meaning to our lives
– There are many hospitable places in our neighbourhoods.

“I see this conference giving us ideas and stories to share to help precipitate those same kinds of changes in the communities where we offer services to help enrich the lives of persons served, but also find ways for them to contribute so that their communities are strengthened from receiving their gifts,” posAbilities director of community engagement Monique said in an earlier interview.

“Our role is more and more to be the connectors, to facilitate that kind of good stuff to happen — reciprocal relationships in the community.”

Recognizing the challenges of leading the way in this work through an agency like posAbilities, which has been engineered for service delivery for people with developmental disabilities, Gord Tulloch, a program director with posAbilities, said the hope and ultimate intent is to create a separate institute for the Metro Vancouver area and beyond dedicated to this mission — developing healthy, resilient, vibrant, caring, co-operative neighbourhoods.

Related story: PosAbilities uses innovative tools to create meaningful change in 2012

Feel free to comment on this story below, or e-mail michelle(at)