REALM launches ICE awards; nominations sought

The month of October is recognized as Community Inclusion Month, bringing awareness to inclusion in communities and employment.

Organizations promote this initiative by holding a variety of different events all over Canada recognizing inclusive employers and communities.


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REALM, in association with Rotary at Work, Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) and East Kootenay News Online (e-KNOWwill be hosting the first ICE awards, recognizing the Inclusive Community Employers in the Cranbrook/Kimberley area.

When employers, businesses and community organizations hire inclusively they benefit the community members in so many ways. These employers have the vision, drive and determination to make a difference in the community and workforce.

This month there will be an opportunity to acknowledge these employers and thank them publicly for moving our communities forward.

On October 10 at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort, we will be celebrating the nominated champions, showcasing how and why they are inclusive. We also will be handing out ICE awards for five different categories sponsored by community agencies. Including:  Community Mentor, Accessibility, Innovative Career Builder, Authentic Leader, and the Emboldened Visionary.

The ICE event will feature a discussion panel, happy hour, appetizers and cash bar! We also encourage nominees to bring a fellow colleague or business owner so they can see the benefits of hiring inclusively.

We wondered what working community members thought of their employers, why do they think we should recognize them, why are they champions? So, we asked them!

Employees stated their employers are understanding, flexible, compassionate, kind, caring and respectful.

The employing champions excel in treating people equally and recognizing that each person hired has a unique asset that adds value to their team. These champions are being open-minded, providing customized positions that highlight each person’s ability. They mentor in improving work skills/attributes and provide real work for real pay.

It is a great feeling when we have reliable employers who take the time to communicate and answer questions. Having supportive employers and co-workers makes us feel that we are a part of a team, family, accepted and included.

We recognize that these champions hold each employee to the same equal accountability, when it comes to employee standards because that is true inclusion. We are held accountable, the same as everyone else. Whether people work one hour a week to 20-40 hours, we are all equal, valued employees.

Most importantly, employees value their employers because they took a chance on us; they know we are capable.

Each person highlighted how important each business is to the community, what they offer to people served and how they represent social inclusion in the workplace.

We want to recognize and thank community employers for sharing our values and initiative of natural inclusion and what that means. Some employers have worked with a supporting agency and there are some employers who have hired without being approached.

These champions are ‘breaking the ice;’ removing barriers and appreciate how it is important to fight for equality in the community. “We want to recognize the champions that are sharing this initiative and moving forward to a better future of inclusion and believe in equality,” said Amanda Schafer, Direct Support Professional.

Taking one step closer to a more inclusive community we will be recognizing all champion nominees, why they were nominated and presenting awards sponsored by community agencies.

We are looking for businesses and employers that exhibit initiatives such as:

  • taking the extra step towards inclusion that can be emulated by others;
  • making employment attainable for all and recognizing uniqueness of all people;
  • diversifying in an innovate way to create pathways to employment opportunities;
  • being a genuine employer who, while striving through their core values, believes that who they employ are what make their business a true success.

The bold visionaries who look forward to the future while challenging society while assuring equality and enriching the community at large. It’s more than being a visionary; it’s creating opportunities for employment that translates into real valued citizenship.

Community members can nominate these exceptional employers at . Nominations will be accepted until October 1, 2019.

Mark your calendars and plan to attend on October 10, 5 p.m., at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort.