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Grassroots Community Inclusion


This initiative is a major community development strategy designed by the SACL and supported by funding from the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnership Program. Provincial partners include the Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres, People First Saskatchewan, and the Community Living Division of the government. A multitude of creative initiatives developed at the grassroots level by concerned people around the province is vetted each year in applications for start-up funding. They are making strides in the way people with disabilities are welcomed and supported in all aspects of life. For a national view, visit


Funding supports creative, innovative supports for inclusion

These innovative projects received funding from the Grassroots Response Fund to support the inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in communities around the province.

Summer Sensations, Weyburn

One thousand dollars supported the involvement of children with intellectual disabilities in regularly offered summer programs in Weyburn (swim classes, gymnastics classes, and other programs). The goal is to help the local recreation board see that successful inclusive programs can be achieved with the proper supports.

Art-Ability, Prince Albert

The Prince Albert Art Gallery received $3,500 to offer children’s summer art classes on an inclusive basis for the first time, thanks to this grant. Children and youth with intellectual disabilities were supported to participate, along with non-disabled children, in art classes that have not been inclusive in the past. This was a pilot project for the Art Gallery and the hope is that the gallery will be able to present inclusive classes regularly in the future.

Community Caregiver and Companion Youth Leadership Project, Saskatoon

With $3,650, students from senior high school and university/college classes are being trained to serve as respite workers, companions and caregivers for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Training is provided by the Led by the Spirit organization as part of their work towards establishing a L’Arche community in Saskatoon.

High School Inclusive Naturalization Project, Lumsden

High school students in Lumsden have been preparing for two changes in their school - the development of a nature area on their school grounds, and the arrival of students with intellectual disabilities in the fall. The students want to make sure that the nature area is fully accessible and they want to learn about how they can be inclusive. In response to a student-driven proposal, Grassroots support will help students learn about disabilities and inclusion.

(For more information about funds available to support local initiatives, contact Judy Hannah, Grassroots Alliance, SACL, (306) 955-3344 or email: [email protected].)

Other Current Grassroots Projects

SACL’s Grassroots Alliance Community Inclusion Project, in partnership with the Department of Social Development (formerly HRDC), has been operating at full steam this year.The impact of our efforts have been felt around the province with projects such as:

The Adopt-an-MLA campaign - the Leadership committee of the Grassroots Alliance gave birth to this idea, which has MLAs “adopted” by families inviting their MLAs to their homes for coffee. The goal is to allow the MLAs to gain a real understanding of the issues that face families and individuals who live with an intellectual disability. As of the official kickoff at the MLA Breakfast at the Legislature, 17 MLAs had been adopted with more on the way.

The Election Questions campaign - to raise the profile of disability issues in the 2003 provincial election questions addressing disability issues were sent out across the province to voters. People were encouraged to ask questions when candidates contacted them. Responses from candidates were shared via email.

The Self-Advocacy Project continues to grow! Members of the SAAG group have had their busiest year ever. They were able to realize some longtime goals as they had their first opportunities to speak to high school, college and university students. Members of the group also began training to be facilitators of the Just Say Know program and to be a puppeteer with the Kids on the Block program. New members have joined, but with the increasing demand for their presentations, more members are needed. Working closely with President Patty Kubanowski and People First Saskatchewan is important to both SAAG and Grassroots. Tabatha Bodie, the self-advocacy facilitator, is providing support to People First Saskatchewan. Several joint events between SAAG and PFS have been held. Grassroots supported People First in publishing their book Life Landscapes: Saskatchewan Advocates Stories of Success.

Looking at the need for Inclusive Housing, the Grassroots Alliance sponsored a one-day information session on Funding for Housing projects. Speakers from five funding groups participated. The Regina Inclusive Housing project also shared their vision for a truly inclusive community. Over 17 communities participated.

Individualized Funding was the focus of four sessions in late March, including one meeting with the Partnership. This project has helped to stimulate discussion across the province.
Work has begun on developing a Youth initiative for SACL. Two people attended CACL’s Youth Forum in Ottawa in March.

Projects that received funding under the Grassroots Response Fund include:

  • Building Effective Skills to Cope with Anger - Family Service Regina
  • Community Living in Action Conference - Lloydminster
  • Facilitating Social Networks - Regina
  • A discussion guide to accompany the Choices video - SAAG
  • Integrating individuals with intellectual disabilities into community arts and sports programs - Moose Jaw

For further details on the Grassroots Alliance, any of these projects or funding application information, contact Judy Hannah, co-ordinator, (306) 955-3344; fax (306) 373-3070 or email [email protected].

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