Richmond disability group sharpens public education sessions

“We’ve watched people stand near the door and kind of stare in, wondering if they should come in or not.”

The Richmond Centre for Disability’s (RCD) Dave Thomson said the non-profit has attracted a fair bit of attention since it moved into Lansdowne Shopping Centre last year.

However, RCD is changing its public education sessions to cater to its shopping mall audience and the fast-paced world we all live in.

RCD used to deliver monthly programming with day-long workshops that produced sparse attendances.

Starting next week, they’re going to sharpen their delivery with “four focused weeks” throughout the year titled “Empowered Wellness.”

“No workshop will be longer than 45 minutes and there will be little super sessions,” said Thomson, RCD’s community outreach coordinator.

“We’re in a mall and people come for five or six things. We need to make sure we’re serving that crowd. Sitting for an hour and half (at a workshop) just isn’t working anymore.

“So we wanted to shorten and simplify everything and make it more specific and to a wider base. I’ve heard people walk by saying ‘I’m not disabled, so I don’t need to talk to you.’

“But you may be more connected to disability than you think…Maybe you have an aunt or an uncle who is disabled or you have ageing parents who’re struggling physically.”

RCD’s first event, called Financial Fitness Week, will run March 3 to 7 with topics such as taxes, online banking, RESP, RDSP, end of life planning and government aid.

Lifestyle & Growth Week, in early June, will explore employment, recreation, volunteering, hobbies, entertainment and socialization.

Accessibility & Technology Week, in late August/September will offer a look at the latest accessibility gadgets, software programs, cell phone apps and other technological advancements.

Finally, Health & Wellness Week, in November, will coincide with the cold/flu season and Christmas, with topics such as mental health, stress management, medical advancements and research.  

All weeks will run Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include a “Knowledge@Noon Workshop” from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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