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Join the City in celebrating winners of the 2019 Celebrating Accessibility Awards

November 28, 2019 -

On Dec. 5, the City will honour the above and beyond efforts of seven Kingston organizations, educators, businesses and volunteers at the 2019 Celebrating Accessibility Awards ceremony. 

"It's a pleasure to recognize and celebrate the outstanding individuals in our community that make Kingston more inclusive for everyone" says Mayor Bryan Paterson. "We want to be a city where everyone can fully engage in a meaningful way, without barriers, and these are the people making the vision a reality! Thank you to all the winners and nominees for going above and beyond to make Kingston a better place for everyone!"

And the 2019 winners of the Celebrating Accessibility Awards are (by category):

Built Environment - Kingston Community Health Centre and Queen's University.

Renovations by Kingston Community Health Centres to the Weller Street and Street Health locations removed barriers, increased the availability of accessible parking spaces and made improvements to the recreational and backyard areas to ensure that individuals can access the more than 35 programs offered. "Accessibility is the key to empowering and enhancing the quality of life for persons with disabilities, and KCHC staff are accessibility champions in the community," notes the nominator.

Built in 1839, Summerhill is Queen's University's oldest building. Previous to renovations, persons with disabilities were not able to fully participate in events and programming due to physical barriers and lack of washroom facilities. Summerhill's renovations blend heritage attributes with accessible amenities throughout the building, namely an accessible entrance ramp and threshold, a power door operator, increasing the vestibule opening and a gender neutral single-user washroom. Queen's University notes in their submission that everyone should be able to participate fully in an event in a building and by enhancing this building with these new accessibility features. Summerhill showcases the commitment to make everyone feel that they are welcome to attend, that they are valued and that they belong.

Customer Service - Kingston Coffee House.

In addition to having accessible washrooms and automatic doors at its 1046 Princess St. location and a Stop Gap ramp at its Springer Market Square location, the staff demonstrate a strong community spirit and are very attentive, friendly, patient and supportive in their individual interactions. Their nominator noted that the servers seem to anticipate needs and have no hesitation in moving chairs and said, "It's always a pleasure and sometimes even surprising to go into a venue where there is such an air of welcoming and acceptance everywhere."

Education - Kelly Hawley

An educational assistant at Winston Churchill Public School, Kelly Hawley responds creatively and innovatively to support children with learning challenges and other varying abilities. Her work enhances the quality of life for many students in the classroom and the school yard. Her nominator noted Hawley's calm, cool demeanor and her ability to focus attention on a child's needs – and described her as being "supportive and loving to all the children she has encountered."

Recreation - Extend-a-Family Kingston

After winning Microsoft's #Empower Possibility contest this year, Extend-a-Family set up an inclusive gaming centre to build social skills, support learning through play – and have fun!  It offers many adaptive controllers to allow people of varying physical abilities to participate and play.  A TAP-IT device also supports individuals with varying physical and intellectual abilities and learning styles and, because many people can use it at once, it also promotes social/group learning. 

Other - David Dossett

When David Dossett, proprietor of Martello Alley, heard about Alistair, an artist who is deaf and has autism, he wanted to meet him in person. Since then, he has featured Alistair's photography, promoted his work online and has connected Alistair with a documentary photographer, a publishing firm and CKWS. His nominator noted, "David is passionate about making art universal to everyone. He wants people to see the journey Alistair has taken."

Youth - Seth Glasner

A Queen's student, Seth Glasner offered to give group guitar lessons to people with intellectual disabilities through Community Living Kingston. He uses assistive devices designed to eliminate the barriers that physical disabilities present. His curriculum is individually created to make learning as fun and effortless as possible. He is now teaching three students who all have physical disabilities along with the father of one of the students. Glasner even developed a prototype to allow a student who doesn't have use of a hand to change chords. Because of his passion in wanting to create assistive devices to help people play music, Seth joined SparQ Labs at Queen's this fall where he is able to design and produce guitar parts for his volunteer positions.

Celebrate the 2019 award winners

Plan to join the City, members of the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee and the award winners on Thursday, Dec. 5 from 1-3 p.m. at City Hall, 216 Ontario St. at the awards ceremony.

Keynote speaker Jim Kyte, who is the only deaf player to play in the history of the National Hockey League, will deliver the keynote address. Kyte's inspiring "PS to Success" presentation will share his story of perseverance and sportsmanship on and off the ice.

The Celebrating Accessibility Awards were created in 2011 by the City in partnership with the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC) to recognize those who have made contributions – beyond legislated requirements – toward improving access for people with disabilities in Kingston.

Learn more: www.CityofKingston.ca/AccessAwards.