Keynote: Imagine the Power and Potency of Social Capital

Dr. Al Condeluci has been a leader in community building, human services and inclusive advocacy work for the past 50 years. Holding a PhD and MSW from the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Condeluci has been the CEO of CLASS (Community Living and Support Services) a major nonprofit, community building organization in Pittsburgh, PA since 1973. He is author of 7 books including the acclaimed, Interdependence: The Route to Community (1995) and more recently, Social Capital: The Key to Macro Change (2014). In 2018, he received the “Key to the City of Pittsburgh,” the highest civilian honor that can be given to a community member. He helped found, and convenes the Interdependence Network, an international coalition of professionals, family members, and consumers interested in community engagement and macro change. He can be reached at, or @acondeluci on Twitter.

All of us are interested in a better community where all people have an opportunity for accessible and affordable homes, jobs or meaningful daytime opportunities and lifestyles of their choice. In spite of our many years of work on this goal, the outcomes in this area are still not satisfactory for people who are vulnerable due to disability or other compromises. Many of these vulnerable people and their families find themselves in isolated situations with limited options for friendships and important social relationships. This presentation takes a close look at the reasons why our systems have not been more successful in these goals, defines and delineates the concept of social capital, and offers a community building perspective designed to shift the culture to be more inclusive and supportive to all people.

Keynote: Working together to support all learners

Dr. Leyton Schnellert is an Associate Professor in UBC’s Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy. He is the new Eleanor Rix Professor in Rural Teacher Education. He focusses on how teachers and teaching and learners and learning can mindfully embrace student diversity and inclusive education. Dr. Schnellert is the Pedagogy and Participation research cluster lead in the UBC-O Institute for Community Engaged Research and co-chair of BC’s Rural Education Advisory Committee. Dr. Schnellert has been a middle and secondary school classroom teacher and a learning resource teacher K-12. His books, films and research articles are widely referenced in local, national and international contexts.

Children and youth with diverse abilities offer us new ways to live and learn in schools and the world. With current developments in theory, practice and research we can design learning opportunities that welcome all learners and their strengths as part of learning communities. It’s not easy work, but together we can create educational spaces of belonging for all students.

Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth, BC’s Representative for Children and Youth

Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth is BC’s Representative for Children and Youth.
She was appointed as Acting Representative effective Aug. 31, 2018, and confirmed in her appointment as Representative on Oct. 1, 2018.

Dr. Charlesworth has worked in the B.C. social and health care sectors since 1977. She lives in the traditional territories of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. She is an award-winning teacher, author, activist and a parent of two vibrant young women who remind her daily of the power and promise of young people.

Romance, Relationships & Rights

Romance, Relationships & Rights is a 3–year community-based participatory theatre project focused on improving sexual health knowledge and positive sexuality among self-advocates.

The research questions guiding this project are:

  1. What are self-advocates’ experiences of learning about sexual health and sexuality?
  2. What information is needed to achieve successful sexual health education and positive sexuality?
  3. What impact does participatory theatre have on breaking down barriers and challenging stigma related to sexuality and intellectual disability?

Building on research gathered in an earlier pilot project, Romance, Relationships & Right has conducted a series of interviews with self-advocates and is currently using community-based participatory methods to create, produce and evaluate a participatory theatre project on sexual health, sexuality and intellectual disability.