Award winner

Ali Westlund has been awarded Community Living BC’s WOW (Widening Our World) award.

The City of Kelowna’s recreation manager has been honoured for her efforts in supporting adults with developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ali Westlund has been awarded Community Living BC’s WOW (Widening Our World) award.

“Ali was chosen as a winner for all she has done to make sure people living with diverse abilities remain included during this time,” wrote Lisa Porcellato, in charge of community relations for Community Living BC, in an email. “People with diverse abilities are finding it very isolating right now, and Ali has gone above and beyond to make sure people stay connected.”

When the pandemic forced the closure of the Parkinson Recreation Centre, Westlund arranged new virtual programs to keep people involved and connected.

“Ali became a DJ and took the Friday night dances online. Ali arranged for music performances to be streamed, organized virtual lunch socials and created a weekly newsletter featuring photos and updates of what staff and participants were up to. While hosting these virtual programs, Ali worked behind the scenes to make sure that when permitted to re-open, careful steps were being taken so activities could continue while keeping individuals and staff safe,” the email said.

The WOW awards have been handed out since 2009 to recognize those who help people feel welcomed, included and respected in their communities.

Community Living BC is a Crown Corporation responsible for supporting adults with development disabilities.

Shelley DeCoste with the Pathways Ability Society previously won the award.