Inclusive dances held to bring people together celebrates 10th anniversary

HUMBOLDT — Ten years ago, a Humboldt organization decided to host dances as a way to bring together people, whether or not they face barriers.

The Humboldt and District Community Services, which aims to help create community-based responses to the needs of individuals with challenge, celebrated a decade of inclusive dances at the St. Augustine Catholic Church Feb. 28.

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“I think one of the biggest pieces that's missing often when people have barriers to different things is that social piece and this just takes those barriers away,” said Mara Doepker, the service’s support services co-ordinator

“It [the dances] just breaks down those barriers and it gives you that opportunity to socialize, which sometimes when you have those barriers it’s hard to get out in the community. This allows a sense of community.”

To celebrate the 10th anniversary, Miss Teen Saskatchewan Madelyn Toombs and the Humboldt Broncos participated at the dance.

The dances are held eight times a year and are open to everybody. People come from places like Wadena, Melfort, Cudworth and Watrous to participate.

Riley Richels was one of the people participating at the dance. His second time attending the inclusive dances, he came this time because he knew it was the 10th anniversary.

“I’ve met awesome people like her [Lisa Selinger, the services’ office manager], over here and Niamh [Menz, the service’s supported employment co-ordinator], who really has helped me along the way, with helping me succeed in my journey to getting a job and all that, which has been fantastic.”

Richels has worked at Sobey’s since 2017.

Selinger said the inclusive dances have been a success in bringing people together.

“I think it's been pretty successful because we've done it for 10 years, eight dances a year, and we're still going strong and our numbers increase all the time. It's a wonderful thing to see and to be a part of.”

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