Teddy Jackson (left) and his crafting-partner display some of their crafts from last year

Avid painter and skilled carver, Jackson displays Christmas Trees he crafted last year that sold out

On Saturday, December 2, the Yukon Association for Community Living (YACL) is having its annual Christmas Craft Fair and Open House.

I stopped by their location on Fourth Avenue and spoke to Shonagh McCrindle, the employment program coordinator, to find out more. I was surprised at how roomy the space was and how welcoming, with comfortable couches and chairs.

The place was active with staff working on their tasks and a few crafters busy with their projects. One participant, Faith, introduced herself and explained that she made scarves and had various products available year round, changing it up by the season.

Along with scarves, there will be a number of other handmade crafts for sale, including coffee mix, cookies in a jar and a variety of handmade, decorative items. Throughout the fall, YACL has supported a handful of people with disabilities to create their own art and craft items and the open house on Dec. 2 is an opportunity for these artists to sell their products.

Other artists like Becca Ross, an artist who uses beads and metal chain pieces, works more independently. She will have some of her original jewelry pieces at the craft fair and open house, and Yukon woodworker Matt Grunder will be featuring several of his handmade pieces for sale, too.

The Yukon Association for Community Living was founded in 1964 and is a member of the Canadian Association for Community Living. The community living movement was started in Canada by families who hoped that their loved ones would be allowed to live in, and be supported by, the community.

“We were founded on the idea of a community where everyone is accepted,” explained YACL Executive Director Colette Acheson.

“Whitehorse has always been a very open place and we see daily the many ways that the general public is inclusive and invites people with disabilities to be involved in every aspect of life here.”

Staff will be on hand at the open house to share information about the organization and available services. The YACL offers several ongoing programs for families, children, teens and adults, including a monthly dance, a weekly Peer Mentor Youth program, employment and pre-employment support, life skills and sexual health training, along with special interest workshops for families on various intellectual disability-related issues.

But do come out and see for yourself how effective this Yukon organization is. Come out for the snacks and coffee sponsored by Atlin Mountain Coffee Roasters, or to enjoy seeing the crafts and meeting one of several artists and crafters.

The Yukon Association for Community Living Annual Christmas Craft Fair and Open House takes place Saturday, December 2 from noon until 5 p.m. They are located in the Yukon Inn Plaza on 4th Avenue, across the street from McDonalds.