Amazing Race-style event will help to create accessibility app in Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Amazing Race-style event will help to create accessibility app in Kamloops

Participants got to try maneuvering a wheelchair through this obstacle course previously put on by People in Motion.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / People in Motion
September 30, 2019 - 1:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - The Amazing Race to Inclusion will see city staff, councillors, and other members of the community racing around downtown Kamloops in wheelchairs.

This is the first year for the event in Kamloops, and organizer Justine Richmond, community companion program facilitator with New Horizons hopes this is the first of many. She says the teams of four will have to plan a route, get on and off the bus at various transit stops, compete in an eating challenge, try to get into different businesses and bathrooms, and participate in activities that will simulate sensory experiences similar to those on the autism spectrum and the visually impaired.

“Access has always been a big thing, one of the big ones is transit. In addition to that, there are all sorts of things around getting into buildings and accessing bathrooms,” Richmond says. “All the things, people take as day to day things that they can do without even thinking twice about it.”

Richmond says teams will navigate the downtown core, and notes that the cobblestone streets, slight slopes and other obstacles will become apparent once viewed from the perspective of someone in a wheelchair. Richmond says various city staff are participating and hopes this event widens their perspective of city accessibility.

“We have a team of four city councillors, Sadie Hunter, Arjun Singh, Dale Bass and Kathy Sinclair are making up one team,” Richmond says. “We have another team of city engineers which is absolutely fantastic to have them involved because they’re part of the planning process, for them to have this hands-on experience will be really exciting to contribute to their awareness and their decision making.”

The money raised from the event will go towards People in Motion Kamloops, with the funds used for the development of an accessibility-focused app and in-school programs. Kari Rubel, director of education and programs with People in Motion, says an app is in the works that will allow Kamloops residents and visitors to plan an accessible outing.

“We're in the process of making our community more accessible, by partnering with an agency in Victoria and starting an app so that when people come to Kamloops, we have an app to show accessible restaurants, facilities, hotels," Rubel says.

Some of the funds raised will go towards People in Motion’s in-school seminars that teach about accessibility, inclusivity, and diversity. Last year, Rubel spoke to over 1,800 children in school district 73 and schools in Merritt and Salmon Arm.

“I go into the school districts and speak to kids, and I bring people with diverse abilities so these kids get a visual,” Rubel says. “Then we talk about their school, is their playground accessible if they had a friend in a wheelchair, or if their friend was visually impaired?” 

“It really gets the kids thinking about the safety of their school and the inclusion piece, which is huge,” Rubel says.

The event begins at 9 a.m and runs until 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 4. The available spots have filled up this morning, but you can still cheer on the teams during the event.  Click here to find out how you can donate to the cause. You can check out this Facebook page for more information.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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