StopGap – Ramping Up To Make A Difference

Posted by Tom Locke on October 24th, 2012 filed in Business, Education, Life, Technology, Travel

This coming February marks the 11th anniversary of a Super Bowl Charity event that we have staged at the Vancouver Racquets Club since 2003.

This event has evolved from fund raising for a young man who is a quadriplegic to assisting him in helping others with disabilities through accessibility and inclusion.

A couple of years back, this young man, Luke Anderson, conceived of an idea he calls “StopGap” (www.stopgap.ca).  Its goal is to create a world where every person can access every space through fun and engaging community projects that raise awareness and remove barriers. 

In Luke words, here is what he is up to:

Our first project that we have embarked upon is called The Ramp Project. With material donations from community hardware stores volunteer labour from inspired community members businesses with single stepped storefronts are invited to participate and have a custom ramp made at no cost. The brightly coloured ramps do not present a perfect solution to the problem however they create curiosity and get people talking about this huge design issue. The project has introduced many to the human right to equal access and has broadened the conversation on this topic.

The ramp project has been successful at highlighting how a simple ramp can make life easier for everyone. Participants have shared that a ramped storefront is more inviting. Parents pushing strollers, couriers using dollies to handle heavy packages and people using mobility aides all benefit from a barrier free storefront. The project has also proved that business owners are able to increase their customer base by providing a storefront that everyone can enter and exit.

  

Supporters of the initiative hope that through these types of projects communities will create legislation of their own instead of waiting until the projected due date outlined in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) – that being 2025.

We have launched this project in five communities and as a result have helped create inclusivity at more than 100 businesses. Word of this exciting project has traveled quickly and Michael and I find ourselves being bombarded by requests from community business improvement associations and other organizations across the country wanting to take part.  We want these groups to be able to take on their own Ramp Projects in their respective communities and we want to help them make it happen!

Inspired by Terry Fox, our dream is to hit the road in a vehicle equipped with a mobile shop, make our way across the country and create change in different communities along the way. We truly feel that this project has the capability of touching every community across the country and based on the huge success of our past projects we know that it will make everyone’s lives easier and ultimately help create a more inclusive society free of physical barriers.

In making this happen, Luke has reached out to his supporters asking them to vote for him and his idea at http://www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf15352 in order that he may win some funding from the Aviva Community Fund.

Hope you can take a few minutes each day to vote for Luke and help him ramp up to make a difference”.


One Response to “StopGap – Ramping Up To Make A Difference”

  1. Bill Anderson Says:

    Great idea Tom to let Luke do the talking about what StopGap is all about.
    Luke had a meeting with Councillor Adam Vaughan and the Disability Issues Committee today.

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