Human Library – A Unique Learning Experience

On May 4, CPABC Family & Individual Support Worker Tammy van der Kamp took part in Lochdale Elementary School’s Living Library event.

The Living Library is an innovative, interactive learning experience, designed to foster understanding of real human diversity.  Living Books take aim at issues like racial and religious biases and other common prejudices based on ignorance, by introducing students to real people who can provide insight on these misconceptions.

Burnaby’s Lochdale Elementary students had an opportunity to meet with members of the community that volunteered their time in an effort to dispel attitudinal barriers.

As a Living Book, Tammy’s title was ‘Wheelchair Career Woman: Anything You Can Do, I Can Do, Too’.   Students rotated from station to station – Living Book to Living Book – discovering at Tammy’s station that people with disabilities are, first and foremost, people, with all of the same hopes, dreams, and fears as their able-bodied peers.

The kids also had an opportunity to meet with an RCMP officer, a nurse, a corrections officer, a scientist, a film director, an openly gay person, an alternative healer, and a priest, among others.

Students wanted to know all about Tammy’s job – “What does a Family Support Worker do?”, and how she managed tasks like data entry with limited hand function. They were fascinated to learn about the voice-activated software on her computer.

PADS Service Dog Breeze the Golden Retriever did her part to demonstrate some of her working dog skills by taking Tammy’s jacket off several times throughout the morning.

The Living Library is a practical and simple way to impart the message of human diversity, which meshes neatly with CPABC’s Elementary School Disability Awareness Presentation program.

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