David C. Onley Initiative

Taking a Showcase Virtual During COVID

Stiff and DCOI rallied to take its wrap-up celebration online. We were #AbleTo deliver an interactive and fully accessible digital experience in three weeks, as COVID quarantine restrictions began.

Quickly adapting to a new reality

In April 2020, few organizers had foreseen the potential—or necessity—of virtual events. We leaped on the idea to help DCOI celebrate two years of hard work. DCOI is a partnership between Carleton, uOttawa, Algonquin College and La Cité. It had advanced awareness of post-secondary students and graduates with disabilities in the Ottawa region. As COVID restrictions grew, the possibility of holding an in-person showcase evaporated. Instead, we spearheaded the production of a comprehensive, accessible celebration showcase on onleyinitiative.ca.

We designed an accessible webpage with compelling graphics and a comprehensive review of DCOI’s two-year run. In all, 109 guests attended the virtual celebration, and an additional 500 people visited the webpage in the first week post-launch.

“It was such an unusual time. We knew we wanted a way to share the achievements so many worked so hard for, but we had no idea what was even possible from COVID-19 quarantine. Stiff pushed us to not compromise on the scope of our ideal event. They worked seven days a week to make sure it was a success.”

– Julie Caldwell, Assistant Director, Program Operations, Read Initiative