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Sledge Hockey Coming to the T.G. Smith Centre

Embrace the Difference!

The Steinbach Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with envision Community Living & South Eastman Rotary Club, are excited to launch the Embrace the Difference campaign on Sat. Jan. 16, at a Pistons home game.

“As a Chamber of Commerce, we not only work on initiatives to directly promote and support the business community,” says Linda Peters, Executive Director at the Chamber, “but we also work on initiatives that will create a stronger community to live in, for our employees and for our families.  Businesses need healthy communities, and communities need vibrant businesses.”

The purpose of the Embrace the Difference campaign is to raise awareness and promote the value of differences in our community, recognizing that accessibility and embracing differences allow for people of all abilities to contribute to life in our community.

Join us as we kick off with a Sledge Hockey game at the TG Smith Centre from 6-7pm.  A sledge hockey team from Winnipeg will be playing against some local celebrities.  This fun event is free and open to the public.  Then there’s more during the Pistons game at 7:30pm, vs. the Dauphin Kings.

There’s way more to it than just “doing the right thing”.  That’s important for sure.  But focusing on people’s abilities, instead of their disabilities can also be an answer to our looming workforce shortage.  By 2020, it is estimated that Canada could be short about 1 million workers due to an aging population and declining birth rates (Conference Board of Canada, 2000).

Hear more about that as part of this campaign, when we bring in Mark Wafer to speak at the annual South Eastman Rotary Club Fundraising banquet on March 10, 2016.  Mark Wafer owns 7 Tim Hortons franchises.  He will speak on The Business Case for Employing People with Disabilities.  Almost 25% of Mark’s workforce are people who live with a disability, and since he’s had this hiring practice, Mark says his bottom line has improved.  In addition, the atmosphere throughout his organization has improved.  Customers seek out his stores.

Our city has often been identified as a very generous and giving community.  We want to celebrate that.  But we also want to raise awareness of the barriers that do exist, formulate possible solutions, and engage community partners in reducing those barriers. We believe that by creating a welcoming community atmosphere, we will continue to experience growth and prosperity.  Without question, the single most important characteristic of an inclusive community is the overriding presence of respect.  We need to embrace an attitude that everyone has the right to be acknowledged as a valuable citizen, capable of making a positive contribution to their community.

“Let’s create opportunity for people of all abilities to contribute!” says Peters