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LiveWorkPlay News JANUARY 2012 (Archived)

LiveWorkPlay News JANUARY 2012 (Archived)

Please Like Us Again

Just a quick note off the top: if you have been a Facebook follower of the LiveWorkPlay page (or if you’d like to be) please “like” us again (or for the first time). The page name “LiveWorkPlay” recently became available, but the cost of acquiring the name was the Facebook limitation that page names cannot be changed if the page has more than 100 followers. To change the name we had to reduce our followers and now we need to invite everyone back again! Please go to facebook.com/liveworkplayfans and click the LIKE button at the top, and be sure to invite your friends to do the same!

In addition to the new name (which brings the main benefit of our page showing up first in searches for LiveWorkPlay) the other good news is that we did not lose any of our content: the hundreds of photo albums, videos, stories, and comments are still there. Never seen a Facebook page? Give it a try. You don’t need a Facebook account to view it. If you are on Facebook, please say hello!

Saying Goodbye to 2011

It seems like only a few weeks have passed since our last edition in the middle of November, and yet here we are in a new year!

The winding up of 2011 was dominated by two traditional LiveWorkPlay celebrations: the Festive Family Feast on December 9 and the New Year’s Eve Dinner & Dance on December 31. The Feast was heavily attended and the big hit of the evening was a simple reading of “good news announcements.” They were filled with stories of people with intellectual disabilities enjoying their homes, jobs, friends, and community! You can click here to read some of them.

There were some surprises under the Christmas tree for LiveWorkPlay. First, the Realtors Care Foundation came through with a donation of $3400! Later in the month a donor that wishes to remain anonymous contributed $2000 and a very nice note.

As it has for the past 14 years, the year ended with a LiveWorkPlay New Year’s Eve bash. In recent years members have asked for an affordable gathering in the comfort of familiar faces, which once again resulted in attendance in the 75-100 range. It was a great surprise to see the return of Carlo Lombard who provided DJ services on behalf of Quality Entertainment. Carlo does not work as a DJ very often anymore, but he stepped up for the opportunity to host the LiveWorkPlay party (he was our DJ three years ago).

The St. Anthony’s Banquet Hall buffet was delicious, but the highlight of the evening had to be from about 11:30 until midnight when absolutely everyone was on the dance floor!

The news for 2010 was dominated by the dramatic growth of the LiveWorkPlay volunteer team, and the scope and importance of volunteers in helping us realize our mission has continued to progress. New recruits appear on a weekly basis with strong attendance at monthly orientations.

There were important developments in all areas. In “live” news there is still nothing quite as exciting as when one of our members moves to a home of their own, and the daily successes of those who have made this transition are always newsworthy.

In “play” news there were trips to foreign lands and trips down the street for a night at the pub. People are getting out more, exploring new cultural and recreational opportunites, and expanding their social circles!

But the big story for 2011 has to be the explosion of LiveWorkPlay members seeking paid work in the community. The LiveWorkPlay profile as an agency capable of matching employees and employers has increased dramatically through involvement with the United Way Ottawa EARN initiative, as well as the co-hosting of the Building A New Workforce event with Rotary clubs from the Ottawa area.

Here Comes 2012

It’s been a flurry of activity so far in the new year. The LiveWorkPlay office is moving to 1223 Michael Street (just east of St. Laurent Shopping Centre). See the end of this blog for more details. The official move-in date is February 1, but the entire staff team has been pitching in to make the transition throughout the month of January. The goal is for a professional space where staff can do their work effectively, but also a welcoming place where LiveWorkPlay members and guests can feel at home.

Change is never easy, so just to make the move a little more exciting, LiveWorkPlay is supporting a ten-day bus and boat trip that departs on January 28. Members will travel by charter bus to New Jersey, take a tour of NYC and spend the night, and then board the Norweigian Gem which will motor south for a week in the Caribbean!

The fifteen members taking part in the trip have been saving to cover their personal expenses for more than a year. Travelling part of the trip by bus (the depature port is New Jersey) not only keeps it affordable, but it offers a more inclusive experience! LiveWorkPlay members will be travelling as part of a larger tour group, as with last year’s very successful New Hampshire bus trip. LiveWorkPlay members do require staff support at various times while traveling, but most of the time their needs are no different than those of other travelers. Being part of a tour group offers lots of opportunity for LiveWorkPlay staff to be in the background so members can have a great time making new friends.

Also on the horizon: the March 30 Foolish Family Feast and the Recipe for Success Annual Live & Silent Auction event on April 12. Auction planning is already well underway, and LiveWorkPlay is thrilled to announce the return of the dynamic hosting duo of Derick Fage (Rogers TV Cable 22) and Sandy Sharkey (BOB FM 93.9).

According to last year’s guests, in terms of auction events with multiple hosts, this inaugural effort by Derick and Sandy rivaled an all-time favourite from the year 2000, when Cyndi Edwards, Jim Watson, and Dave Smith had the audience laughing and bidding up a storm. Mayor Watson opened the live auction last year, and was joined in the audience by Councilor Scott Moffatt, MPP Yasir Naqvi, and other notable names. We hope they will return in 2012 and that many others will join them!

Tax Planning? Don’t Forget RDSP!

The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) helps Canadians with disabilities and their families save for the future. If you are a Canadian resident under age 60 and are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (Disability Amount), you are eligible for an RDSP. Earnings accumulate tax-free, until you take money out of your RDSP. Parents or guardians may open an RDSP for a minor. With written permission from the holder anyone can contribute to the RDSP. Once you open an RDSP, you may apply for the Canada Disability Savings Grant and Canada Disability Savings Bond.

To learn more about how the RDSP works, see RDSP Overview. You can also attend an RDSP session in Ottawa on February 6 at the Ottawa Public Library.

A New Year For People First Ottawa
People First of Canada, People First of Ontario, and LiveWorkPlay Working Together to support the launch of a new English chapter of People First in Ottawa in November 2010. It was quite a busy first year. The chapter hosted its first Annual General Meeting on January 14, expanding the Board of Directors to 5 members. The membership also voted to change the name of the chapter to People First Ottawa (instead of People First of Ottawa). The annual report spoke of a busy year in 2011 with much to be done in 2012.
Re-elected to the board (but shifting positions) were Emily Menard (President), Josee Varin (Vice-President), and Jennifer Harris (Secretary). Newly elected were Joshua Balanaser (Treasurer) and Jalynn Plaus (Member at Large). Josee is taking on some new responsibilities with People First of Ontario so she decided she could best serve Ottawa as Vice-President, providing experienced leadership when Emily is not available. One of the first actions of the new board was to announce that all chapter members in good standing are welcome to attend future board meetings. Before the meeting adjourned, members had already scheduled a meet and greet social event in February, a board meeting in March, People First of Ontario President Kory Earle as a guest speaker in April, and participation in the People First of Peterborough annual conference (expected in late May).
Reaching Out In The Ottawa Community & Beyond
It’s been a great couple of months for meeting new people and organizations. Locally this includes continuing to build the relationship with Families Matter Co-op and getting to know the team at Developmental Services Ontario Eastern Region (DSOER). Beyond the city limits LiveWorkPlay staff have been attending “lunch and learn” opportunities at The Mills Community Support Services, sometimes contributing as presenters, as was the case on January 13 when Fran Childs delivered “Creating a Welcoming Community
One Person at a Time” sharing the amazing outcomes from the LiveWorkPlay volunteer matching initiative.

Supporting social change requires reaching and engaging a wide audience of citizens who can contribute not only through their own inclusive attitudes and actions, but by helping to influence social policy at the local, provincial, national, and international levels.

One of the most important contributors at the provincial level is Community Living Ontario, which has been hosting a series of “Vision Blogs” at communityliving.ca which are described as “an opportunity for people who support the community living movement to write from a personal perspective on our key priorities…to share their own experience and thoughts on ways to move forward as a movement.”

The current Vision Blog feature is by LiveWorkPlay co-leader Keenan Wellar. Here’s a snippet from the article with the intriguing headline On Target: T-Shirt Model Generates Hope for a World that Includes People with Intellectual Disabilities.

“Welcoming and including people with intellectual disabilities in our community requires a variety of critical supports…but I have a pretty good idea what most people with intellectual disabilities are after in life: they want a home of their own – to start out in a tiny little apartment just like so many of us did – to have their own dishtowels and a bottle of squeeze ketchup in the fridge. They want a real paying job. They want real friends – not just paid people catering to their “needs.” They want to love. And to be loved.

Message From Cecelia Taylor (Chair)

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to wish a happy new year to all of our members, volunteers, and supporters! It has been an exciting and busy four months since the Annual General Meeting. I am honoured to have been elected Chair by my colleagues, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share a brief summary of the work that the board plans to tackle for the remainder of our term in 2012.

We have 4 more official board meetings planned between now and the end of June. We will also meet again in the summer and fall for an AGM planning session. I thought it might be of interest to our members and others to know our schedule between now and June. Here it is in brief:

March

  • Financial planning and budgeting report review (quarterly)
  • Financial condition and activities report review (quarterly)
  • Strategic discussion: if financial surplus arises, what are appropriate priorities for disposition?
  • Strategic discussion: future growth of LiveWorkPlay: opportunities and limits.

April

  • Treatment of members policy report review (annual)
  • Treatment of staff policy report review (annual)
  • Communication and support report review (annual)
  • Strengthening of board: refining description of board member responsibilities.

May

  • Compensation and benefits report review, external (annual)
  • Compensation and benefits report review, internal (annual)
  • Strategic discussion: supporting the continuation of a quality staff team.

June

  • Financial planning and budgeting report review (quarterly)
  • Financial condition and activities report review (quarterly)
  • Strengthening of board: refining board recruitment and orientation process.

Most of these items are known as “policy reviews” and the scheduling of those reports repeats year to year. Between meetings the board works with the Executive Staff to say abreast of issues in the developmental services sector and other trends that could impact on the work of our organization. Where warranted, discussions about such developments become part of the formal meeting agenda.

From time to time the board reaches out to the membership for direct feedback on strategic directions. Last year our focus was on reviewing the mission, vision, and values and we received valuable input from members, partners, and other supporters. The outcome was adoption of our exciting new guiding statements at the AGM!

I hope that this has offered some insight into the governance of LiveWorkPlay. In future the board will look forward to sharing more with readers of the LiveWorkPlay Blog!

LiveWorkPlay Has A New AddressLiveWorkPlay
301-1223 Michael Street
Ottawa, ON K1J 7T2

613-702-0333

We are currently working to have our existing main phone number 613-235-9550 moved to our new location. Our new main phone number is 613-702-0333 and this number works NOW. When 613-235-9550 is moved (what they call “ported”) to our new location, it will simply be forwarded to 613-702-0333, so either number will get you to the same place. What does this mean?

It means starting NOW when you need to reach us by phone at the office, please call 613-702-0333 where you will hear a message with all of the new staff extensions.

As you all know, moving is difficult, and technology items like telephone systems are often the most difficult of all. If you experience any problems, we thank you in advance for your patience. It has been a very busy time continuing our daily work while moving our office and also preparing to support the Caribbean cruise trip which departs this Saturday. Almost half of the staff team will be on the trip, so please respect that our staff resources are at half of our usual capacity.

The staff members working in Ottawa during the cruise are: Allison Moores, Jen Bosworth, Natasshia Lee, George Kranitis, Daniel Harris, and Anthony Stratton. We’ll also have Jennifer Cunningham stepping in for some additional part-time duties.

Fran Childs, Grace Hudson, Keenan Wellar, and Julie Kingstone along with volunteer Andrew Waye will be supporting the cruise. Please do not leave them voice mail messages or send them emails while they are on the trip. Hold your communications until February 13. If your communication can’t wait until February 13, contact Allison at 613-702-0333, and she will help you or redirect your inquiry to another staff member working in Ottawa.

We thank you for your support. It is all coming together at the new office and we are looking forward to receiving many of you at the new location in the weeks to come.

Donate To LiveWorkPlay

If you like what we are doing and you can afford a financial contribution, donate online and choose from a selection of options such as a one-time contribution or monthly donation. Just $10 a month is a great help!

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