You arrived early. You were invited by your friend to go with him to his usual Tuesday night event. You know he has been attending regularly, but really have no idea what it is that he does on those evenings. When he asked you to go this time, he seemed a bit mysterious about it. He refused to give anything away, but he guaranteed that you would be having a great time. Intrigued, you decided to go.
So you find yourself on this wintery Tuesday evening, sitting in an empty room, having arrived early. You are alone, except for the lady who asked you to help put some of the chairs in a circle. And now you are sitting on one of those chairs. Waiting.
Suddenly the door bursts open and a man struts in, a Katy Perry song blaring loudly from his headphones. He walks over to the woman and gives her a hug, then turns to you as he takes of his headphones and says: ‘Hi, I am Cam and this is Dorothy.’
You are distracted as another person enters. He stops to scan the room. Then smiles and saunters over to take a seat on one of the chairs in the circle.
A mature woman is now making her way into the room. Her face is locked in concentration. She carries her water bottle with her and crosses over to the table to sign in. As she turns around, someone extends a compliment about her hair. And there it is: a smile so genuine it melts your heart.
The room seems to be filling up quickly now. A teenage boy leans heavily on a woman. They make their way to the chair next to you. The woman introduces herself and the boy to you. You quickly put your hat and gloves on the chair next to you, to make sure your friend has a spot.
Your eye catches a young girl as she lingers in the door. She glances around shyly. Then her face lights up as she gets ambushed by friends asking her how she is doing and what she has been up to. She joins the group that is beginning to vibrate with energy and noise.
You are still watching her when a familiar voice draws your attention. It can’t be, you think to yourself. What is your hairdresser doing here? It seems your hairdresser knows the guy with the headphones. It is a small world after all, you think to yourself.
You are beginning to wonder when your friend will be showing up. You glance over the crowd to see if he might have made it in without you noticing. Instead, you spot other familiar faces. Over there is a member of the local band, Sully’s Garage. You’d recognize that mustache anywhere. And that guy over there in the red Special Olympics jacket helped you with your groceries just the other day. The girl next to him used to skate with your sister back in the day. And you are sure that you also recognise a few of the current high school students.
Your train of thought gets interrupted as a young girl comes running in with a drum in her hands. Right behind her is your old high school teacher, also carrying a drum. In fact, the room seems to be filling up with more drums and other brightly coloured percussion instruments.
What is this place? you ask yourself. Then a drum gets shoved into your hands and shortly a cacophony of sound ensues. Before you know it, you are contributing to the unsynchronised drumming that seems to stumble and trip over itself. But soon a discernible rhythm emerges: that of a heart beating.
Welcome. You are at Bow Valley Connections Centre. A place where people meet. Where people connect. And if you stay long enough, you may just connect with us too.
For someone who is new to this group, the drumming circle you just ‘attended’, may seem effortless. You may not realise that each of the interactions you witnessed are huge breakthroughs for our regular participants. You see, our participants have developmental disabilities.
At Bow Valley Connections Centre, we provide opportunities for people with developmental disabilities aged 13 and up, to connect with the local community. Drumming circles are certainly not the only thing we do. We have a Drama Club, Bingo nights with prises, Arts and Crafts, games nights, pool and darts afternoons, nature exploration, gym evenings, Family Dinner and Dances, music nights and much, more.
We are always looking to expand on what we offer our participants and would love for you to connect with us and become part of our community.
We enhance the quality of life for those with developmental disabilities by fostering social connections, personal growth and involvement in the community.
Every person with developmental disabilities has a sense of belonging and thrives within the Bow Valley community.
Bow Valley Connections Centre is a non-profit organization that generates opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to build on existing friendships and foster new relationships.
We create a safe, nurturing environment where individuals can feel welcome and empowered to make a difference in their community. Our organization facilitates workshops and activities that foster participation and inclusion. We value connections between individuals and organizations and facilitate such opportunities when possible.
Through Bow Valley Connections Centre, individuals participate in a variety of social activities. Community members engage with each other, and many volunteer opportunities exist.