Gayle Andresen has been attending the weekly Pacific DAWN (Disabled Women’s Network) meetings in 100 Mile since its launch in September.
The meetings are mostly to do with things disabled people find problematic in a community, according to the chair of Pacific Dawn, Terry Tyab.
“I was informed about Pacific Dawn by a friend of mine who is quite involved in the community,” said Andresen. “I went to the first meeting and have been going to as many as I can.”
Andresen is living with a series of disabilities that at times can make her life a little more challenging to navigate. She says there are many forms of disabilities a person can be living with, which makes their experience different from the next.
“When you have a disability, everyone’s experience is different,” said Andresen. “I enjoy the program and I find it very interesting.”
According to Tyab, Pacific Dawn offers resources for people with different kinds of disabilities.
“There are things for specific disabilities, there are resources for not just around the area but other places. Pacific DAWN covers all of B.C. and the Yukon.”
The meetings are open to all women with disabilities and people are never asked what their disability is. The meetings are also open to caregivers of women with disabilities.
“The group is very informative to women living with all kinds of disabilities, whatever that looks like,” said Andresen. “As a group, we help each other whether it’s sharing advice, experiences or building up our confidence.”
Andresen says the community can be dismissive to people living with disabilities at times and it’s a topic that has been talked about.
“If we hear people say things, we need to set them straight,” said Andresen. “Yes, a person may have a disability, they might be a handicap, they might be psychologically upset and can’t figure out what to do with their lives. As a group, we want women to come in so we can help them with what they need.”
Andresen said the Pacific Dawn meetings are being held at the 100 Mile House branch of the Cariboo Regional District Library on Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.