Kerry Gibson’s quest to create accessibility at the heritage manor
Vancouver: The University Club of Vancouver at Hycroft had been valiantly attempting to create accessibility in the heritage manor (built in 1911) for decades, to no avail. A group of feisty women who required the space to continue their social work raised the funds in cash to purchase it outright, and did the repairs themselves. This group felt it their responsibility to continue their social mandate from this building, whether that be child poverty initiatives, raising vast funds to disseminate as scholarships for women to continue their studies, supporting other charity within the community by sponsoring the venue, or hosting many important educational opportunities and lectures in the grand ballroom.
The determined leader of the Access Committee, Charlotte Burns, recruited Kerry Gibson, President of EcoCentury Technologies Inc. as the poster girl for fundraising event to enhance the wheelchair access. Being a professional woman with a diverse background, solid reputation, and a vast network, (and conveniently a paraplegic), Kerry was easily able to recruit resources to host Hycroft’s first fundraising event to enhance the wheelchair access, dubbed “Elevate and Celebrate”. With the support of the business and arts community, and over one hundred sponsors, one being Siddhartha’s Kitchen and volunteers, Kerry and the committee raised over eight thousand dollars right away, already a step closer. However, elevators are not inexpensive, and so many other elaborate parties were held, raising more funds, and also generating much talk in the community and political world for the need for speedier improvement of inaccessible areas. The world was changing, and Kerry Gibson was showing demographics otherwise ignorant of the capabilities of the mobility impaired that the only obstacles were readily modified, and that it was imperative that everyone in the community have the same opportunities as everyone else. Quickly, the attitude of “well, too bad” when accessibility was not met and was an impediment, was thrown over for a much preferable attitude of “we’ll make this work”… as Kerry showed when at the first fundraising event she was hoisted down the grand ballroom stairs to join the party by four bare-chested muscular men.
There has been enough raised to complete two of three phases of this project, and Kerry is not slowing in her quest to complete all three. The remaining phase requires an additional $120K, and there is a party September 28th from 1pm-5pm at Hycroft to fundraise in the opulent style of the Gatsby era, complete with high tea, libations, dancing, tarot, fashion, music, and much more!
On October 24th, from 6pm-10pm there will be a Grim Reaper Murder Mystery to delight the clamouring supporters of Elevate and Celebrate who wish to savour the grandeur of a Hycroft party! Kerry Gibson and the University Women’s Club of Vancouver is doing its best to dispel preconceptions both of disability and the Club’s image as being aloof from the community, and create a building that can open to everyone safely and independently.
To buy tickets for Sept 28 Event visit : https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/greater-than-gatsby-tickets-12948500313