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The Gift of Inclusion

What is Inclusion? It is belonging to a community, acceptance, and a basic human right. Without it, we can’t thrive. With it, all things are possible! Inclusion Saskatchewan (INSK) works to ensure that individuals who experience intellectual disabilities are fully included and valued citizens, with access to the support they need to live a full life in the community. Our work helps people with intellectual disabilities to be included in a variety of areas, like workplaces and housing.

The pandemic has been tough on many people. Over the last two and a half years, the demand for support has increased dramatically. We’ve supported 23% more navigational meetings and grew our Family Network by 11%. People with disabilities and their families were more isolated, including Bjorn (pictured above) and his family.

Bjorn is an outdoorsman who loves to ride his horse on the family acreage in eastern rural Saskatchewan. During the pandemic, Bjorn’s plans for independent living and employment opportunities were put on hold. This was intensely isolating for Bjorn, and also hard on his family. As Bjorn’s dad, Don, says of his own sense of isolation, “When you spend too much time in your own head it’s easy to get frustrated. Simple, normal things like spilled milk, flat tire, 7-hour wait at the Emergency Room, can just feel like too much.” Many families share this experience.

To help those feeling isolated during the pandemic, our Family Network Coordinator created a virtual get-together called “The INSK Café.” 100 coffee breaks later, the Café now has a core group that has built trust, compassion, and respect, making sure everyone feels welcomed and heard.

Don finds the INSK Café sessions essential to mental well-being: ”Whatever has happened in my week, I can stop in there for some me time, a deeper conversation, a place to laugh or cry, maybe vent. I can bring my whole self. When I feel heard, my son gets a better day,” Don says.

It’s hard to ask for help, but as Don says, “Reaching out to INSK made a big difference for us.” People deserve inclusion and you can help! Your donations to Inclusion Saskatchewan help to ensure that people who experience intellectual disabilities are fully included and valued citizens, with access to the support they need to live a full life in the community. Your gift also supports essential programs like the Family Network’s virtual Café. Will you donate today so that families can get the support to live more inclusive lives in Saskatchewan?

We want you to know that Inclusion Saskatchewan is responding to great needs despite challenges. One of our key fundraising programs, the Community Living yellow bins, lost revenue during the pandemic and is only now starting to rebound. Yet the number of requests for our support continues to break monthly records, and our mission has never been more important than it is today. With your help, we can hire more personnel to help people navigate from isolation to inclusion.

About 2% of the population or 23,000 people in our province have an intellectual disability, and the pandemic multiplies barriers for them:

  • Many rural and remote residents with intellectual disabilities lack basic services

  • At least 25% of people we support can’t find appropriate housing

  • 40% of calls to INSK during the pandemic were about health or mental health needs

The last few years have left people with disabilities and their families isolated. INSK is connecting Bjorn to independent living and employment options in rural SK, while supporting his family. Your gift of inclusion makes our team’s work possible!

Inclusion. It’s the power to make a difference in someone’s life. With your support, we’re helping Saskatchewan residents navigate many systemic challenges, in the areas of housing, income support, and health. These are big issues to tackle - and we can't succeed without your help. Please consider becoming a monthly donor – a Giving Every Month (GEM) Society member - to provide steady support that INSK can rely on as we move toward a more inclusive society.

Whether you make a one-time gift or a monthly gift, we want you to know that every dollar you donate stays here in Saskatchewan, helping our neighbours. Thank you for your consideration of support for Inclusion Saskatchewan. May your holiday season and New Year be filled with the joy of inclusion!


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