FREEDOM TOUR PRESENTATIONS ACROSS THE PROVINCE!
Premier viewing – OXFORD THEATRE, Oxford ST. Halifax
September 27th at 12:00 noon
ALL WELCOME -Donations greatly accepted!
Interview with Cindy Carruthers and Dave Kent on the Rick Howe Show on September 26th, 2014
(Interview is from 30:10-35:50)
Freedom Tour Bike Tour makes stop in county
(Inverness Oran, August 20th, 2014)
Windsor residents participate in Freedom Tour movement
Leta Jarvis spent most of her teen years under constant surveillance.The 63-year-old vividly remembers feeling trapped in a place where she was misunderstood, mistreated and miserable during her days as a resident of a youth training centre in Truro from ages 11 to 18.
“They watched every move you make,” said Jarvis, who recalls seeking permission to go outside for a walk.Name-calling and physical abuse was commonplace in the institution said Jarvis, who was labeled a slow learner. She never felt she belonged.“I didn’t think I had anybody that loved me.”
She wanted to be out in the community. She wanted to meet friends her own age, and find her way in the world.“I just wanted everybody to give me a chance,” she said.Now she’s fighting for others to have that chance.
Jarvis, a Windsor resident who has spent most of her adult life living in the community with the help of support programs, is a strong advocate for people labeled with intellectual disabilities as a member of the Windsor People First Society.
She recently shared her personal story in a film that takes an in-depth look at the institutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities in Nova Scotia.“I’m against it really because I’ve been there; I know what’s going on,” said Jarvis.
The film, dubbed The Freedom Tour, was created by People First Nova Scotia and Flow Productions with help from People First of Canada and the Nova Scotia Association for Community Living. It aims to raise awareness of the civil rights of people with intellectual disabilities.
The Freedom Tour touches on the fact that although Youth Training Centres were closed in 1996, there is still a need for additional housing, employment and social services options for people with intellectual disabilities.
Institutions, Jarvis stressed, are not the answer. She’d rather see people requiring additional support living in a group home setting.“I think they need people like us to go into institutions and talk to them and tell them our stories,” she said.
A province-wide bike tour promoting the Freedom Tour film that features a testimony from Jarvis recently reached Windsor. Money raised through sales of the film will be used to launch a civil rights education program.The local People First group, including the film’s narrator Calvin Wood, hosted a film screening celebration at the Hants County War Memorial Community Centre this month.
Wood, a Windsor resident with experience serving as an executive for the local, provincial and federal People First branches, agrees that individuals should not be spending the rest of their days in institutions, but he doesn’t want to see people lose their support systems entirely.
“Closing them down is one thing but they have to make sure they’re adding the right support too,” he said, noting that not everyone has family members to turn to for help.
“I think it would be really scary if I didn’t have any support.”
Bottom line, Wood said a solid plan must be in place to ensure there is a smooth transition.“I’d like to see them all closed down but in the right way.”
Film Supports People with Disabilities
(Chronicle Herald, August 13th, 2014)
Rivers said he made the film out of curiosity and was surprised to discover that the rest of the country has moved away from institutionalizing people with intellectual disabilities “Nova Scotia is the only one that does. All the other provinces closed down their institutions for people with mental disabilities. “These people aren’t crazy, they’re just slow. They get drugged up or tired and sometimes get criminal charges when they lash out.” Rivers said he made the film to try to get the province “into the 21st century.” Others said the film describes the “horrors” of institutional living. Rivers said that’s only part of the story. “There is that, but there’s also success stories.”
Freedom Tour Coverage
(CBC News-August 1st, 2014)
http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/NS/ID/2481063683/?page=2 ***The piece is from 10:24-11:15 ***
Freedom Tour challenging institutional care in Nova Scotia
People with intellectual disabilities focus of documentary that inspired bike tour
(CBC News, August 1st, 2014)
A filmmaker is riding his bike 800 kilometres across Nova Scotia to raise awareness of institutionalized people with intellectual disabilities in the province. Brad Rivers left Yarmouth Friday to start his trip. He’s showing the documentary Freedom Tour Nova Scotia in towns and villages as he goes. Rivers says while other provinces have closed their large-scale institutions in favour of community living, many people still live in institutions here. “Nova Scotia is about 20 years behind in its services for people with disabilities,” he says. He hopes Freedom Tour Nova Scotia will spread his message of integration by bringing together people with intellectual disabilities and those from the wider community. The film was made by and with people with intellectual disabilities through the People First organization.
Barred from marriage
One story in the movie features Bonnie and Harold MacDonald. The MacDonalds are married today and have been together for three decades.But the institution they were kept in as young people barred them from marrying because of their intellectual disabilities. “When you’re in the institution, you could not get out of the institution to do what you want to do. You had to do things their way. Not our way. That made it tough for me,” she said. The powerlessness had her fearing for Harold’s health.“They were giving him a lot of medications. If it hadn’t been for me getting him the medications half off him, he wouldn’t be here with me today. They had him so doped up; it was not good,” she said. The MacDonalds live independently now. They advocate for people like themselves in the group People First. Rivers is riding along the Annapolis Valley to Cape Breton.
Freedom Tour Invitation Posters
Bike Tour invitation-Yarmouth Bike Tour invitation-Bridgetown Bike Tour invitation-KingsCounty Bike Tour invitation-Windsor Bike Tour invitation-Truro Bike Tour invitation-Whycocomagh Bike tour invitation-Sydney
Freedom Tour Nova Scotia Event Schedule
Freedom Tour CBC Radio Interview May 27th, 2014
Many thanks to self advocates and their families, across Nova Scotia for sharing their stories for this project. Thanks are also extended to People First Nova Scotia Board, People First Canada and Nova Scotia Association for Community Living for funding this exciting project! The committee wishes to thank the Department of Community Services for sharing their perspective, as part of this project. The committee members are as follows :
- Dave Kent – Committee Co-Chair & Vice President of People First Nova Scotia
- Donna Murphy – Committee Co-Chair & Secretary of People First Nova Scotia
- Alan Harris – President of People First Nova Scotia
- Calvin Wood – Past President of People First Nova Scotia
- Cindy Carruthers – Staff – People First Nova Scotia
- Jocelyn Tranquilla – Resource person – Nova Scotia Association for Community Living
- Brad Rivers – Film maker
The committee will share more information as it becomes available.