City honours recipients of Celebrating Accessibility Awards

November 20, 2023

On Nov. 30, the City of Kingston and the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC) will recognize this year’s recipients of the Celebrating Accessibility Awards.
Community members are invited to join the City, MAAC and the award recipients at the awards ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 30 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Donald Gordon Hotel and Conference Centre. This year’s event will include a keynote speech and film screening by Megan Ingram, a disability studies scholar and documentary filmmaker.
The event is free, and all are welcome to attend. An ASL interpreter will be at the event. If you require accommodation, please contact Derek Ochej, Deputy City Clerk at or (613) 546-4291 extension 1252.
The City, in partnership with MAAC, created the Celebrating Accessibility Awards in 2011 to recognize individuals, groups and organizations that are making a significant contribution towards improving access for all in Kingston.
The awards ceremony is held annually to honour International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 3. Since 1992, the day has been recognized to promote understanding of disability issues and to enhance the well-being of persons with disabilities. City Hall and Springer Market Square will be illuminated in blue on Dec. 3 to recognize the day.

Celebrating Accessibility Awards recipients

“There is a clear thread of inclusive, community-focused work woven through this year’s Celebrating Accessibility Awards,” says Mayor Bryan Paterson. “I am honoured to recognize these recipients for their outstanding efforts to develop thoughtful, empowering programs that are accessible to all.”

Community organization

Bloom Skills Centre

Bloom Skills Centre offers accessible job skills training and varied learning opportunities for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The centre collaborates with other community organizations to offer hands-on learning through planning and growing a garden, customer service and culinary skills. Since its inception, the organization has incorporated feedback from people with disabilities to ensure its programs reflect the community’s needs. The centre’s innovative business model has helped many young adults find successful employment by nurturing their social skills and providing a safe learning environment to achieve greater independence.  

Extend-A-Family Kingston 

Extend-A-Family Kingston has demonstrated leadership through its commitment to making its programs accessible and inclusive. The organization, which has been operating in Kingston for over 40 years, continues to adapt to the changing needs of its clients and their families when delivering services and programs. They have partnered with other community organizations to develop projects, from planning the City’s first fully inclusive playground to launching an accessible golf simulator. Extend-A-Family Kingston helps forge meaningful connections between staff and clients to foster an inclusive and welcoming community.

Community member

Eva Carlin

Eva has been a Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing teacher and accessibility leader with the Limestone District School Board for over a decade. She is attentive to the needs of her students, working to understand the obstacles they face and advocating for solutions to address them. Eva is a champion for accessibility beyond her roles within the school board, facilitating events for the Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing community and helping families connect to community services. Her dedication to pursuing an inclusive learning environment has had a tremendous impact on her students and their families.

Amber Potter

As the founder of Bloom Skills Centre, Amber has created a supportive learning environment for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her enthusiasm and determination to lift up others shines through her work. Amber’s focus on skills development helps prepare participants for success by understanding their unique needs and teaching them transferable employment skills. Under her leadership, the centre provides a welcoming space for community connection and learning.