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Strengthening Community


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Features: A Disney dream Page 3

Ice Cream Challenge Page 6

Better at Home Page 7

A united way Page 12

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People helping people

The bedrock of philanthropy


n June 3, 2016 a great person died. Muhammed Ali; pugilist and philanthropist, Olympic gold medalist and social activist, UN Messenger of Peace, recipient of the Medal of Freedom. This man was known for many things most of all for being one of, if not the greatest, heavyweight boxer of all times. His wit and combative style were almost as famous as his devastating punches. What is less known of this athlete is his commitment to helping people. Although most my age will always remember “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” few of us will know that he also said: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” For millions, his impact as a social activist was as powerful as his uppercut. Although he will likely never be forgotten for his accomplishments inside the squared circle, he became far more concerned about the difference he could make in the lives of people needing help. I would argue that in time his legacy as a philanthropist will over shadow his accomplishments in the ring. Hope, faith and confidence were the bedrock of his philanthropy. He wanted to make a difference outside of the ring and despite the challenge of serious health issues he set about making a difference as a social activist that will be long remembered, his real legacy to a world in need of great examples of humanity. Having hope about the future and confidence in our

capacity to influence it are fundamental to philanthropic deeds. It has been said that one who only gives when asked has waited too long. If a person truly wants to make a difference and that desire is

influence on how the future will turn out. You know that nobody can do everything but everyone can do something. Hope and confidence in the future means you hold an image of tomorrow that

By Roy Spooner Manager Resource Development, AiMHi fueled by a personal hope for an evolving humanity, then acts of philanthropy, whether great or modest, are your tangible expression of that hope and confidence in the future. Sometimes people hold back simply because they are pessimistic about the future of a community or of society in general. Sometimes they lack confidence in their personal ability to influence the course of events through their own modest acts of philanthropy. These kinds of doubt certainly impede many philanthropic investments of time, talent, assets and other resources. Your greatest act of philanthropy, your legacy, may well turn out to be nurturing hope and inspiring confidence in the people in your life. Please know that I am not talking about the superficial ‘rah-rah, we can do it!’ kind of public bravado. I am talking about the kind of genuine hope and confidence many have gained during a life of experience and actions as you were a person helping people. If you are a person who believes in the simple human ideal of ‘people helping people’ you have very likely developed strong beliefs that human systems – persons, teams, institutions, communities, and cultures – have enormous

is an important factor in cultural evolution. “As long as society’s image is positive and flourishing the flower of culture is in full bloom. Once the image begins to decay and lose its vitality, however, the culture does not long survive”. (Sociologist Fred Polak) Inspiring concepts of the future emerge when people believe the future can be influenced – that is, when we ‘know’ a difference can be made, and when we ‘know’ that we can make that difference. Indeed, all human enterprise, and progress, springs from these kinds of beliefs. This is particularly true of philanthropy and individual voluntary action. Hope is strengthened when we are brave enough to talk about our dreams and wishes. When we take the time to clarify and plan actions we truly are beginning to make a difference in how our community will evolve. This kind of confident hope – founded in our individual desire to be a person who matters, a person who makes a difference, a person who leaves a legacy for a better future – moves us from cynicism to idealism, from

problems to potentials, and from passivity to action and collaborative action can truly change the world. The bedrock of philanthropy is less about having significant assets and resources to give away and more about having a desire to make a difference and the hope and confidence that as one of the people helping people you are creating a legacy worth having created.You make a living by what you get and a life by what you give. Personal acts of philanthropy begin with personal acts of service to others, and from that foundation you will discover just how much capacity you truly have to contribute. – With notes from a presentation made by Jim Lord – The Centre for Leadership Philanthropy.

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth



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Debbie Johnson (left), along with Melody and Joyce were thrilled to meet a real princess during their visit to Disneyland earlier this year.

New friends - new adventures

This is a story about Melody and Joyce, two ladies who were brought together through vacation plans to Disneyland. Oh, and there is a Fairy Princess/trip planner named Debbie Johnson, who also by chance is a manager for AiMHi. It all started with an idea ... a dream, a wish, a hope? Melody shared her dream with Debbie Johnson, who began to help

shape this dream into reality, an experience from a dream that led to more than just a trip to Disneyland. Once Debbie began supporting Melody to plan a dream vacation to Disneyland, she was struck by one important ingredient that was missing. The ingredient was a friend to travel with and enjoy all the experiences together. You see it makes it that much

sweeter to enjoy with a friend. To have a friend to laugh with, to support, to learn from ,and to enjoy every silly, scary, serious, moody, hungry, anxiety stricken, belly laughs, awkward, hyper, engaging, exhilarating, moment together. After an invite was sent out welcoming others to join in the trip, Joyce pounced on the idea to return to Disneyland. You see, Joyce previously

travelled to Disneyland more than 10 years ago, and absolutely loved it. She has pictures that still adorn her living room from her last adventure to prove it. The next step was for the ladies to meet and see if they would tolerate each other for a few days ... kidding. The ladies hit it off. Over the next several months, the ladies developed a new

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friendship, where you could find them enjoying coffee together, visiting with each other over lunch, either out or at their home. When they spent time together, smiles, and laughter are on the menu. With a side of Disneyland planning of course. Surprisingly, well not so surprisingly, what started out as dream of Disneyland, has bloomed into a friendship where the vacation is secondary. So many questions, so many plans, so many details to work out. How will the vacation go? Will there be any challenges along the way? How much fun they will have, who they will meet along the way, and what will they learn.


heard throughout the airport. What an experience these two ladies shared during their five incredible days at the Happiest Place on Earth.You could find them laughing ... and screaming … on fun, and crazy rides. Other times you could find them fine dining like the day they had a fancy dinner with the princesses. There were personal visits with many of Disney’s charming characters, (yes, they saw Mickey. Every day, you could find them at some time, laughing and pointing in excitement as they watched the daily parades, not to mention various entertainment throughout the park.You will have to ask them about their favourites. Amazing as it sounds, the ladies’ Fair

Melody and Joyce with some Disneyland folk.

To speed things up for editing purposes, and the risk of losing the audience, let’s bring it into the big picture. Two friends going to Disneyland together, where they started their five-day adventure to Disneyland May 7. All the smiles and laughter could be seen and

Princess ended up scoring some sweet tickets to attend a major league baseball game. Yes that’s right, the friends watched the California Angels play the St. Louis Cardinals. A trip the ladies will talk about for years to come. This experience has truly has been

remarkable for each, in many ways. For Debbie, attending was a sense of pride, accomplishment of fostering a friendship between the two ladies and being a part of their goal and dream for their vacation. Debbie found it humbling to watch the new friends as they thoroughly enjoyed each experience, exploring all that Disney had to offer. The highlight for Debbie was watching their faces of joy each day. Debbie asked both Melody and Joyce, what their highlights were of the trip. Melody’s highlight was when they all went to Ariel’s Grotto Restaurant for a fancy dinner with four beautiful princess. Melody stated that she has never enjoyed such a fancy dinner and felt so special to spend time with royalty. Joyce’s highlight was getting a big hug for Minnie Mouse and touring through Minnie’s home. There was only one challenge of the vacation and that it was too short, the time went by too fast. On the way home the ladies talked about their next big adventure. A new adventure with what is sure to be old friends exploring new faraway places to explore. To the reader, one thing stands out more than any other: Picture Melody and Joyce, side by side, heads turned to the dark flashing sky. Each night these new friends stood together, their eyes lit up by multi-colored sparkles, as the blast of fireworks reverberates in their ears. The look of combined awe across their face. Two friends, in complete unity of experience, creating a bond of memories between friends. P.S. Oh, and remember behind every dream is a friend encouraging us along the way. I know that both Melody and Joyce, thank you Fairy Princess/trip planner, who also makes amazing cinnamon buns ... really this is all true, as true as any dream friends dare to wish ...

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June 2016 - we

Self-advocates here to help My name is Penny Soderena-Sutton. I am the self-advocate peer advisor at AiMHi and have been working here for 15 years. How this job came about was a notice telling us there we were looking for a peer advisor. I thought, “wow, this could my dream job.” But before this, I sat on three volunteer boards in Prince George, Vancouver, Toronto where I became a leader by speaking, learning new skills, and sharing with others. I tried for the job, went through the steps, and that left me here today. When my day ends, I know that I helped and, as a self-advocate, this makes my job worthy. In my role as a peer advisor, I attend committee meetings, help out at the front desk for an hour, and oversee the snack shop. I, and other self-advocates, take skills building three days a week. In our AiMHi handbook for persons receiving services, there is a part that has a self-help page and it follows: “An advocate is someone who helps

you speak and be heard.” “A peer advisor is someone you have something in common with. A peer advisor can be an advocate for you. A peer advisor works with AiMHi to help you.” You can phone me at 250-649-3339 or 250-564-6408 ext.246 or e-mail penny. So if you want to speak, I will listen.

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we - June 2016



The Ice Cream Challenge

On March 24 Prince George Toastmasters completed a district challenge to deliver a series of advanced education sessions. Typically a club will deliver a couple of education sessions in the

By Joyce Forsythe VP Public Relations Prince George Toastmasters course of a year but this year the district opted to challenge clubs to complete the full set of 11. Unofficially, the challenge was dubbed “the Ice Cream Challenge.” Our club completed the challenge in less than three months and received the very yummy reward of a custom printed ice cream cake from Dairy Queen as well as several leadership designations. Many of you will be familiar with a number of our members who attend Toastmasters as well as AiMHi. Cheryl Knippel, Lynn McCormack, Ruth Stanton, and Penny Soderena-Sutton all participated in the Ice Cream Challenge.

Cheryl Knippel is our Sargeant at Arms and Cheryl introduces speakers and does an incredible job of setting up our meeting room each Thursday night. Cheryl is unique in the club in that she has a perfect attendance record this year. She not only has completed a competent communicator designation, which consists of 10 speeches that teach you how to develop and deliver effective speeches as well as how to evaluate speeches, but also an Advanced Leader Bronze. Cheryl will tell you that since joining Toastmasters she has become more confident and is comfortable talking in public. She feels encouraged to speak in front of others and was able to deliver a eulogy for her brother and instead of saying “pass” in bible study she can now speak up. Cheryl finds Toastmasters enjoyable and wishes that all her friends would join. She finds it fun, and she learns from her mistakes. Lynn McCormack has been a Toastmaster for years and has served on the executive. Lynn does a great job assisting

the chair during the business meeting and comes up with interesting, entertaining speeches. Currently she has two speeches that are almost ready to deliver. Her goal is to complete a Competent Communicator designation this year. Lynn loves the atmosphere at Toastmasters. She finds it friendlier than a lot of places such as school where you get graded. There is no grading or tests at Toastmasters. Members learn by studying the manuals, practicing, helping, and encouraging one another. Lynn feels at times that she gets a gentle nudge to push herself forward and to develop not only communication skills but leadership skills as well. Lynn is quick to say it is not just about work but we have a lot of fun as well. Ruth Stanton completed her Advanced Leader Bronze designation as part of this challenge. Ruth co-presented a couple of education sessions using Powerpoint which she was frankly terrified to do so. She faced her fears head on and did an amazing job delivering education sessions.


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June 2016 - we


Four AiMHi members took part in the Toastmasters Ice Cream Challenge. They include Cheryl Knippel cc/ALB, District 96 - Area 42 Director Carmen Wildeman ACG/ALB, Penny Soderena- Sutton ACS/ ALB, Ruth Stanton CC/ALB. Absent from photo, Lynn McCormack. All of the members in the photo took a significant step forward in terms of accomplishments and designations.

Ruth has worked at getting her Advanced Leader Bronze for five years. She has supported the club in many capacities including in the past as our Vice President of Public Relations. Ruth feels that she has really grown as a leader. She wishes that her friends would have the same experience as she has had. She feels that her speech is clearer, that she has more confidence and that her voice is louder and she can project her voice to the back of the room. Ruth can speak longer than before and is no longer afraid to speak in front of a crowd. Penny Soderena-Sutton completed both her Advanced Communicator Silver and Advanced Leader Bronze designations as part of this challenge. Advanced Communicator Silver requires the completion of two advanced manuals combined with additional education sessions. Penny has been working on these advanced designations for more than 10 years so it was a

I can attest to the huge improvements in their communication and leadership skills

significant milestone. Penny has supported the club in many roles including the club president. Penny finds Toastmasters encouraging. Toastmasters has helped her follow through on projects. She wants people who have disabilities to know that they can do it to just like she has done. Since 1998 she has given over 80 speeches. Her goal is to become a public speaker for hire. Many Toastmasters in the program aspire to reach the basic level of Competent Communicator or Competent Leader and never achieve that point. Members like Cheryl, Penny and Ruth really go above and beyond. Lynn is working hard and will get some communication and leadership designations before long too. All four have put in the time week-by-week in the self-paced program and I can attest to the huge improvements in their communication and leadership skills. Prince George Toastmasters meets every Thursday evening at AiMHi from 6:45-9 p.m. We would welcome you to come and check out the club. Contact Penny Soderena-Sutton at AiMHi 250-564-6408 (ext. 246) for further information or Joyce Forsythe,VP Membership at 250-964-0961


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Marie’s story - Better at Home

“Alanna’s not just a housekeeper, she’s a friend.” That’s Marie, an upbeat 83-years young, describing her housekeeper. That in a nutshell, is the heart of the Better at Home program, a program supported by the United Way of Northern BC. It links seniors living alone on a tight budget, such

By Roberta Squire Campaign and Engagement Officer, United Way as Marie, with people such as Alanna, a housekeeper who provides much more than just cleaning. Marie gets around with the help of a walker. Hip and knee replacements have limited her mobility. Everyday cleaning is a frightening task.

“I can’t bend over to clean the bathtub, or climb up on a stool to clean my cupboards,” says Marie. “I’m afraid I’ll fall over.” Keeping a home clean is important for a person’s health, of course. But for Marie, it’s more than that. “I have a nice clean apartment so I can still have visitors. I just can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. It’s a wonderful, wonderful service.” The Better at Home program helps seniors in communities throughout the north continue a life of dignity and independence in their own homes. We help people get healthy and stay healthy, physically and mentally. Social isolation affects 17 per cent of seniors living in small towns and cities in B.C. We help seniors stay in their homes longer and connected with their communities. Just $523/year connects 86 isolated

Marie and Alanna - what the Better at Home program is all about.

seniors to their community and allows them to stay independent and in their homes. Connected communities involve all citizens, regardless of age or circumstance. We believe we can all learn from each other, and by doing so, become stronger together. The United Way of Northern BC helps people and families get the health and social services they need to stay strong and connected to their communities. United Way of Northern BC supported 184 programs to help kids realize their potential. Those programs enabled new parents to enhance parenting skills, engaged youth in programs to connect with recreation and leadership programs, and led to more than 100 young adults exploring employment opportunities in northern B.C. The United Way of Northern BC de-



pends on the generosity of northern B.C. residents. Across the North, 300 workplaces and more than 3,000 donors supported United Way Campaign, with your donations staying in the North and admin expenses less than 12 per cent. Local registered charities benefiting from United Way campaigns include:* • Active Support Against Poverty (ASAP) • Alzeimer Society of BC • Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) • Canadian Mental Health Association • Big Brothers Big Sisters • Houston Friendship Center • Houston Library • Intersect Youth and Family Services Society • Kewetin’ohk Metis Society • Kitimat Food Bank Society • Kitimat Hospice Society • Mackenzie Public Library • Ness Lake Bible Camp • Northern BC Children & Families Hearing Society • NeighborLink (Vanderhoof) • Northern John Howard Society • Positive Living North • Prince George Brain Injury Group • Prince George Hospice Society • Prince George Stroke Recovery Branch • Prince George New Hope Society • Prince Rupert Community Enrichment Society • Phoenix Transition Society • Quesnel Women’s Resource Centre • Salvation Army • Smithers Library • SPCA • Spinal Cord Injury of British Columbia • Spirit of the North Foundation • Fort St. John Library • St.Vincent De Paul Society • Y Family (YMCA) *The above is just a partial list of organizations helped by the United Way of Northern BC. Many more regional, provincial and national charities also receive donor-specified funds through the United Way. For more information how you can get involved go to or call us at 250-561

June 2016 - we


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Growing the community

If it takes a village to raise a child, what does it take to grow a garden? A community. At least as far as AiMHi is concerned. The community garden adjacent to the Kerry Street office is truly a community garden … the garden is growing, literally and figuratively, due to the support of the community. On the Telus Day of Giving, 12 Telus Employees came out on two occasions and helped prepare and plant the Garden. The United Way Day of Caring saw 12 volunteers from the Kelson Group and the YMCA Citizen’s children’s after school group, Home Depot, the Prince George Self Advocate Caucus, and a number of volunteers from AiMHi have all helped to

turn the garden into a growing concern this year. “The garden has been well used so far,” said Wendy Brophy, assistant executive director. “The garden’s coming along nice, everything’s planted and everything’s starting to grow.” The handicapped-accessible garden, which was built in 2009, is truly a ‘community’ garden. Residents from the neighbourhood stop by and help with such things as watering or weeding. “It helps build community,” said Roy Spooner, manager of resource development at AiMHi. The garden received another boost this month as Prince George city coun-

cilor Susan Scott dropped by with a $350 cheque along with an electric weedwhacker, weed puller, edger, and 50-feet of hose for the garden. For Scott, who has been a long-time supporter of AiMHi and who has held a few memorial services at the facility, said the organization is very worthy of her, and the community’s, support. “I just believe, so much, in the work of AiMHi,” she said. “And the idea of this garden, just sparked something in me … that they could come together out here and create something. It’s going gangbusters already … I think it’s also a learning experience for AiMHi members who want to go a little further into workplace settings.”

Prince George city councillor Susan Scott (fourth from right at back) recently donated $350 and supplies to the AiMHi Community Garden, much to the delight of some of those who have worked to make the garden a success.


ONE COMMUNITY - ONE VISION As mentioned, several groups and individuals have helped with the garden. The AiMHi Self-Advocates have planted several different kinds of produce and have been seen up to their elbows in dirt. Sunny Day Care brings the children over to work in the garden and play in the Natural Playground. Children’s Lifeskills have decorated their plots with round cement

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stepping stones that they made themselves. The Lac de Bois Kindergarten class also grows spring flowers in their plot every year. As the vegetables grow throughout the summer season, so does partnerships, friendships, and the community.

Home Depot is another great supporter of the community garden. In addition to providing very deep discounts on all manner of garden supplies and equipment, they donated a new shed to store everything.

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A better Prince George, a better workplace, and a day your co-workers will never forget…

A United Way Day of Caring

Every year, hundreds of Prince Georgians in workplaces just like yours discover the good things that can happen in the workplace and our community when they participate in a United Way Day of Caring. A Day of Caring is… A unique opportunity for your workplace to partner with a United Way agency partner or non-profit organization to complete a project that contributes to local community development, renewal and pride. …Life-changing – your participation will help strengthen a network of social programs, services and partnerships that have a direct impact on the lives of one in three Prince Georgians every year …Meaningful – for workplaces that participate in United Way campaigns, it’s amazing to see the impact of our donations firsthand …Hands-on – it’s a unique volunteer experience that gives employees a chance to work together in new ways, and feel more connected to our community …Informative – learn more about our city’s biggest challenges and how

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we can work together to address root causes and find permanent solutions “It feels great to be involved in helping community and enjoy all of us working together as a team.” Joy Murray, Kelson Group “I enjoyed helping out the community and hanging with my friends.” Kassidy Patrick,Y Family daycare attendee ages 9 to 14 years Day of Caring projects… • Are available year-round and arranged in the order requests are received, with your priorities and schedule in mind • Generally require an average of five to 20 workplace volunteers • Usually take anywhere from two to four weeks to plan – larger, more complex projects may require more time • Average one full or one half-day in duration – larger projects may span several days • Vary, depending on current needs at the time of your request

15-04-16 4:34 PM



June 2016 - we


United Way’s Day of Caring volunteers helped with the AiMHi Community Garden.

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Serving Northern BC since 1965.

EARN 1 AIR MILES®† reward mile* FOR EVERY $20 PAID ON ANY OF THE FOLLOWING: • Your Insurance Policy Deductible • Any unisured portion of your Claim • Any Private work you have done that is not covered by any Insurance Policy * Terms and Conditions 1. AIR MILES®† reward miles offers are valid on the payment for any of the above 3 categories 2. There is a limit of 1000 AIR MILES®† reward miles for any one assignment 3. Offers are subject to change or expire without notice. ®†™† Trademarks of AIR MILES International Trading B.V. Used under license by LoyaltyOne, Inc. and Winmar Franchise Corp.


we - June 2016



Community Integration

Community Integration is designed to help persons to optimize their personal, social, and vocational competency to live successfully in the community. People are active partners in determining the activities they desire to participate in. A person may participate in a variety of community life experiences or interactions that may include, but are not limited to: • Leisure or recreational activities. • Communication activities. • Spiritual activities. • Cultural activities. • Prevocational experiences. • Vocational pursuits. • Volunteerism in the community. • Educational and training activities. • Development of living skills. • Health and wellness promotion. • Orientation, mobility, and destination training. • Access and utilization of public transportation. • Interacting with volunteers from the community in program activities.

• Community collaborations and social connections developed by the program (partnerships with community entities such as senior centers, arts councils, etc.). At AiMHi we empower people to participate in a variety of community life experiences and skill building activities. Some of the resources we use are the Volunteer Prince George website, the Prince George Community Active Living Guide to identify hobbies and clubs. We assist people to increase their use of natural supports, some ways include participating in community activities and projects, joining groups and clubs, socializing with one’s immediate and extended family and neighbors, maybe assisting someone to obtain a job or a volunteer opportunity. The services are designed and delivered in such a manner as to enhance the interdependence of the person. These services are flexible in meeting the needs and desires of the persons.

Hire an



Proud Community Sponsor since 1956 690 Victoria Street, Prince George


P 250.564.4434 F 250.563.2787 TF 888.564.4434

• Money back guarantee • Responsible treatment • The most advanced technology in the customized for your • Highly trained & industry home and family knowledgeable • Wildlife Experts technicians

Residential & Commercial Experts ISO 9001:2000


Over 100 years of experience





JUNE 23-25, 2016

June 2016 - we





Canada’s premier conference and learning event on developmental disabilities, human rights, and full inclusion

IGNITE brings families, self-advocates, the Community Inclusion sector and champions of change from across the province to Prince George to stand together, share moments of revelation, pockets of innovation, hard lessons learned and ways to build the movement. Our most sincere thanks goes out to our co-host AiMHi, an organization known for its amazing hospitality, community engagement, supports, and services. AiMHi has been a phenomenal partner and has shown us a true Prince George welcome.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS Leadership: BC CEO Network Kettner Creative Kirk Marketing Representative for Children and Youth Vancity Credit Union Keynote: BCGEU Kwantlen Polytechnic University Northern Lights: Axis Family Resources Dawson Creek Society for Community Living Fort St. John Association for Community Living High Road Services Society, Nechako Valley Community Services Society, Terrace & District Community Services Society Thompson Community Services

Change Makers: BC Housing City of Prince George Community Living Innovation Venture Community Services Benefits Trust Every Aspect Hot House Marketing KPMG Ready, Willing & ABLE University of Northern British Columbia Westland Insurance WorkSafe BC Members: Community Living Society Community Living Victoria Nanaimo Association for Community Living Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network PosAbilities Inclusion Powell River Sea to Sky Community Services Semiahmoo House Society Simon Fraser Association for Community Living Spectrum Society for Community Living

Hospitality: Alison’s Embroidery and Gifts CBIG ComVida Corporation Culligan IDA Hart Drugs Pharmacy Integris Credit Union Persephone Brewing Company RE/MAX Shirley Bond MLA St. John Ambulance Brigade Tabor Pharmacy Tourism Prince George Two Rivers Catering Community Partners: Four Seasons Leisure Pool Prince George Public Library Two Rivers Gallery




June 2016 - we

You’ve got a friend in the business!


“From the Press Box to the Parking Lot” Ron Gallo

You’ve known Ron from the hockey rink, and now you can find him at PG Motors!

PRINCE GEORGE MOTORS Cell 250-617-9268 1331 Central Street • Prince George

we Magazine  

we Magazine is published by AiMHi - – Prince Association for Community Living. It is is a celebration of people and organizations that seek...

we Magazine  

we Magazine is published by AiMHi - – Prince Association for Community Living. It is is a celebration of people and organizations that seek...