Laura Campbell was one of eight recipients of the Community Living BC Widening Our World award in 2020. (Courtesy of Laura Campbell)

Laura Campbell was one of eight recipients of the Community Living BC Widening Our World award in 2020. (Courtesy of Laura Campbell)

Victoria woman earns provincial award for work with differently abled adults

Widening our World awards recognize community, inclusivity building

Knowing the importance of routine to the differently abled adults she works with on a daily basis, Laura Campbell was quick to adapt to online activities when COVID-19 forced her in-person program to close.

She is one of eight B.C. residents who received 2020 Community Living BC Widening our World awards, intended to celebrate individuals who are making their communities more inclusive.

Campbell is the program coordinator at Good Neighbours and organizes day services for Greater Victoria adults with disabilities. Normally, participants attend programming five days a week for five to six hours a day. It’s something both participants and their caregivers depended heavily upon.

RELATED: Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

RELATED: Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

So, when in-person programming was shut down for four months, Campbell knew she had to act.

“My aim was to do as much as I could to bring a bit of normalcy,” she said. Her and a colleague quickly took to YouTube to provide weekly Zumba classes and baking videos. Campbell also went on a giant shopping spree and delivered “ninja bags” of activity and colouring books and beach toys to participant’s homes with a note wishing them well. For those who were interested, she conducted Zoom calls so participants could stay in touch.

“It was just something nice to connect within our organization,” she said.

Luckily, by mid-July Good Neighbours was able to re-open its in-person programming with a staggered morning and afternoon session system. For participants who are immunocompromised, team members visit them personally for walks, hikes and chats.

Campbell said her job is immensely rewarding. “We give to them, but they give to us more than I think outsiders would think. We always leave with a fun story or good memory.”

Longterm, her goal is to normalize the inclusion of people with disabilities into everyday activities.

Of the eight award recipients, another woman is also from Victoria. Susan Simmons was recognized for her work coordinating an eight-week, 80-kilometre swim for athletes with developmental disabilities from Brentwood Bay to the Colwood Waterfront last August. She is well-known for swimming from Port Angeles to Victoria, across the Haro Strait and other ultra-marathon swims.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

AwardsCoronavirusdisabilitiesGreater VictoriaVictoria

Just Posted

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
Vancouver Island woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Views of Nanaimo, Newcastle Channel and the Strait of Georgia from the Nanaimo Parkway. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Editorial: Each resident has a say in how this city of 100,000 grows

City of Nanaimo wants to hear from residents as transition from small town to big city continues

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from the beach in rescue attempt in Nanaimo

Animal dies in spite of efforts of marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires Vancouver Island wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

RCMP say a woman turned herself in to police after hitting a pedestrian and fleeing the scene of the accident in downtown Nanaimo on Friday morning. (File photo)
Driver flees, then turns herself in after hitting pedestrian in downtown Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP say woman was struck in marked crosswalk after driver ran red light

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

The Township of Esquimalt will finalize its plastic bag ban in March, after receiving approval from the province for its proposed bylaw. (THE CANADIAN PRESS file photo/Paul Chiasson)
Plastic bag ban coming soon to Esquimalt

Municipality set to enact bylaw outlawing single-use bags in March

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

The Campbell River Rotary Community Fieldhouse solar installation is designed to offset the energy use of the fieldhouse and the turf lights surrounding the field. Photo contributed
Solar power charges up Campbell River fieldhouse

Robron turf field building eneergized thanks to community partnership

West Coast-themed metal art by Nanaimo artists Hayley Willoughby (pictured), her father Jack and partner Blair LeFebvre is on display in the window of Lululemon at Woodgrove Centre from now until March 13 as part of the store’s monthly local artist program. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Metal artists present cross-generational show at Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

Work by Hayley Willoughby, her partner and father on display in Lululemon window

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

Amy Morrison was surprised to find a note on her windshield for parking on a public street with no restrictions in south Oak Bay where she works. (Amy Morrison Photo)
Note left for Oak Bay resident ignites debate about on-street parking

‘You must have noticed, we park in front of OUR HOUSE,’ note writer says

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Cowichan Tribes open up vaccinations for members who are 40 and older. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes opens up vaccinations for members 18 and older

Vaccination sessions to be held over weekend

Most Read