Volunteer group displays project
Airdrie Abilities Centre (AAC) was proud to show off its members’ latest project with the unveiling of a mural at City Hall on Oct. 15.
The work of art was created by five physically and developmentally disabled people with the help of AAC volunteers and caretakers under the guidance of local artist Char Vanderhorst.
“The idea behind the rainbow in the painting is that we are all created differently and uniquely. We all have different colours and personalities but we all need to live and work together,” said AAC coordinator Barb Woolsey.
“Every single person in the group had a hand in making this beautiful painting.”
She added that AAC plans to auction off the mural at a community dinner in the future to raise money for the organization.
AAC, a not-for-profit organization that is run by volunteers, has been providing activities and a place for disabled people to socialize for about two-and-half years. Woolsey said the group is encouraging more participation and programming but funding and facilities continue to be a challenge.
The group currently meets between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Monday and Thursdays at Faith Baptist Community Church and Bethany Church on Wednesday, but Woolsey said they want to eventually have their own facility. The group not only learns to cook and do crafts, but also celebrates special events and holidays, plays games, socializes and participates in karaoke.
“We’re trying to pull all our special needs people young and old from the community together and have a place for everyone to gather, learn skills and share with one another,” said Woolsey, who has worked and volunteered with special needs people for more than 10 years.
Christine Ross-Stewart, a volunteer since the group’s inception, said she is proud to help provide a one-of-a-kind service in the community.
“The group is reaching out to people that may be on their own or are low income or need to get out and interact, and it’s a matter of letting these people know we’re there for them - whether it’s to do crafts or have a cup of tea,” said Ross-Stewart.
Sisters Bethany, 10, and Gabrielle Scott, 9, are two of the youngest volunteers with AAC. They said they like to be able to spend time with different people in the community.
“I like to learn the history stories from the different people there,” said Bethany.
City of Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown commended the group on their dedication to the community.
“I know some of the (people) that have contributed to that piece (mural), which is professionally done and it showcases that the kids that have mobility issues or other types of physical issues are a great part of our community,” said Brown.
He said council needs to work with community groups such as AAC to determine their needs such as facility space, and try to facilitate those needs.
“This group helps a lot of people and I sincerely thank them for their energy and what they’ve put into helping these individuals that have some challenges,” said Brown.