Learning tools from the Garth Homer Society’s LifeStreams program are going virtual in September, expanding services to reach more people. (Facebook/Garth Homer Society)

Learning tools from the Garth Homer Society’s LifeStreams program are going virtual in September, expanding services to reach more people. (Facebook/Garth Homer Society)

Garth Homer Society in Saanich turns lemons into lemonade with online programs

Victoria disability organization sets up online programs and learning tools in wake of COVID-19

The Garth Homer Society is launching a set of online tools after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the organization’s programs to go virtual.

With a mission to support Greater Victoria adults with developmental disabilities, the society provided day services and programming pre-pandemic at its Saanich facility, but like other organizations, was forced to make adjustments when the pandemic started.

Training and education support was extended virtually to 200 people who would normally come in person, a foundation that laid the groundwork for a new set of online tools. The LiveStreams Learning program – rooted in academics, community, purpose, self and body and health – will go online by the end of summer and include information on safely navigating COVID-19.

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“Self-sufficiency and resilience are at the heart of what we teach our participants, and these have been critical skills for navigating the pandemic,” says a statement from Geoffrey Ewert, the Garth Homer Society’s director of learning and employment services. “Going online will help us share our programs and learning tools with those already a part of our community, and with the wider public.”

The society says participants have continued learning and training through the pandemic, with some creating art that explores “collaboration through isolation.”

“All our participants have shown that facing a challenge like COVID-19 with a sense of discovery instead of fear can be rewarding,” Ewert says. “We hope the online tools we will create can connect with even more people.”

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