WILLOW TREE COMMUNITY INC. RECEIVES $20,000 IMPACT GRANT
This year, the Fredericton Community Foundation provided a $20,000 Community Impact Grant to Willow Tree Community Inc., a charity led by committed Fredericton citizens with a mission to establish a L’Arche home in Fredericton.
L’Arche is an international federation of 146 communities in 40 countries, founded by Canadian humanitarian, Jean Vanier. These diverse communities are all unique, but have a common mission: to reveal the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities through mutually transforming relationships. In these communities, people with and without disabilities live together in a life-sharing model. By fostering inclusion and participation in the wider community, people with disabilities are able to share their gifts as widely as possible. L’Arche emphasizes the importance of doing ‘with’ not doing ‘for’ and in this spirit makes sure that individuals with disabilities are involved in the development process from the beginning.
The Community Impact Grant will make possible a research project to address the needs and priorities of adults with intellectual disabilities living in the greater Fredericton area, specifically with respect to housing and social inclusion. Willow Tree Community Inc. anticipate that this information will be of great use to their organization as well as other organizations supporting these individuals and their families.
The study will provide concrete data and establish the current needs in our community allowing Willow Tree Community to leverage funds to establish services, particularly housing, that align with the needs and priorities of those who will live there.
Dr. Erica Frecker, President of Willow Tree Community notes, “People with intellectual disabilities are a diverse group of people with a diversity of needs and gifts. We want to learn more about what is working well and what remains challenging. What do these families need now and what services do they anticipate needing in the future? What sort of housing arrangements are most desirable? How is Fredericton an inclusive and welcoming community and what barriers still limit full participation?”
This is a two-part study undertaken in partnership with St. Thomas University. Working with experienced researchers and students will allow the charity to capture the best quality information possible at a significantly reduced cost. The first part of the study is a survey to determine the number and demographic characteristics of adults with intellectual disabilities. This will examine their current living arrangements, areas requiring assistance and goals for future accommodations. The second part of the study is a narrative research project. It involves select in-depth interviews with a wide variety of participants identified in the first part of the study. This will provide qualitative information on the real life experience designed to capture commonalities with respect to challenges, opportunities, and dreams that cannot be easily captured in standard questionnaires.