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December 4, 2012

Diverse Team Receives Award of Excellence in Community from the Premier’s Council

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Reducing the Social Isolation of Rural Deaf Albertans

Partners in the Reducing the Social Isolation of Rural Deaf Albertans Project received an Award of Excellence in Community from the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, 2012 at the International Day of Persons with Disabilities celebration in Edmonton.

“Taking positive steps towards the full inclusion of persons with disabilities is no small task,” said Dee Ann Benard, executive director of the Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN), who accepted the award on behalf of the team.  “But we believe it is [a task] more easily accomplished through the right partnerships. We are proud to be a team of diverse organizations, each providing a unique set of skills and filling a specialized role.”

The project is a collaboration between several organizations: the Alberta Association of the Deaf (AAD), bringing passion and commitment to identify the issue, shape the project, and ultimately ensure adoption; the University of Alberta, contributing its research capacity and disseminating the results; the Ministry of Health, providing funding and support; and ARDN, bringing together a diverse group for a common goal, creating solutions, and ensuring overall project management. 

Together, they created a three-phase research project to increase access to supports and services for Alberta’s rural deaf community and facilitating enhanced communication among rural deaf Albertans. It will provide deaf Albertans the opportunity to live, work, and play in rural Alberta without the added barriers of social isolation and limited communication.

“We appreciate this recognition from the Premier’s Council,” said Donald McCarthy, president of the AAD.  “This is a fabulous research team and we feel privileged to be working with them on this project to limit isolation through a bilingual approach, looking at communication and conversation access through the use of technology.”

“The council was impressed with the commitment of the project team to identify the issues of social isolation and also identify the solutions,” said Carmen Wyton of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, who, along with Associate Minister Frank Oberle and MLA Cathy Olesen, introduced and presented the award. 

Benard closed her remarks saying that “receiving this award validates our conviction that diverse collaborations, while taking significant time and effort, are worth the investment and can truly make a difference.”

For more information on the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities awards, visit http://humanservices.alberta.ca/department/premiers-council-awards.html.
 


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