Multi color welcome sign

Welcome or Not?

I made a mistake that caused a friend to be hurt last week.  I’ve apologized and am taking steps to be more aware in the future.

Here’s what happened.  There is a locally owned store that I like to support by recommending to others.  My friend was excited to go check it out.  When she got there, it was a bit of a challenge for her to get from the parking lot up on to the sidewalk.  She’s resourceful and made it to the front door.  Looking in she realized there was no way she was going to be able to maneuver her wheelchair in the store.  She left frustrated and feeling badly.

I set her up to feel excluded and unwelcome.  In spite of frequenting the store, I totally overlooked its accessibility issues.  My ease in moving around created a blind spot.  

This experience was a real eye opener, especially because we’ve been intentionally working with accessibility at the Center. 

  • You can access the Creative Life Center without needing to use stairs. 
  • The space is set up with for wheel chairs, knee scooters, etc to be usable. 
  • You won’t find rugs in the waiting room because they are tripping hazards for some people.
  • You will find chairs with and without arms to have a choice of what works best for you.
  • There are wheelchair accessible spaces at the tables in our Event room and in the new Imaginarium.

There is more for us to do.  The hallway door into our office suite and the bathroom doors need automatic openers on them.  Most of all, we need to keep remembering we have blind spots and look for what we are not seeing.

The last thing we want is for someone to leave the Creative Life Center feeling excluded and unwelcome.  If you see an issue or a challenge that we are missing, please let us know.

Photo Credit:  Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Welcome or Not?

  1. Emily Levy

    I appreciate this honest and somewhat vulnerable post. I’m glad you’re doing the things you mentioned to increase accessibility. Another area that’s important to focus on is accessibility for people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome (MCS). Things like fragrances, fumes from cleaning and construction materials, chemicals outgassing from furnishings, and other substances can make an otherwise accessible space inaccessible to the growing number of people with this condition. If you’re already working on this, great!

    1. Marcia Chadly Post author

      Hi Emily – Thanks for this reminder! What we’ve done so far related to this is to set up our office suite to be a minimal scents zone – no incense, candle scents, personal scents etc. We rent within an office building. Are there things we can be doing to mitigate outgassing from furnishings and fumes from cleaning materials? Maybe there are links with ideas that you could share? Marcia

Comments are closed.