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A New Year Begins: Celebrating, Learning, and Growing Together

The LiveWorkPlay News – October 17, 2013
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With your time and donations, we are helping the community welcome people
with intellectual disabilities to live, work, and play as valued citizens.

A New Year Is Launched

Although our fiscal year runs July-June, the LiveWorkPlay community always associates the Welcome Back Family Feast and Annual General Meeting as the launch of a new year. This year’s AGM was hosted by Vice-Chair Al Mackey on September 27, with presentations from auditor Ross Holmes and co-leaders Julie Kingstone and Keenan Wellar. Detailed information is available in the Annual Report which includes biographies of the board candidates (all were elected). A highlight from the Board report presented by Mr. Mackey was the creation of three reserve funds: operations, capital (condominium), and compensation. Ms. Kingstone provided some additional financial analysis following the presentation of the audited statements by Mr. Holmes, with an emphasis on the importance of recent investments in staff training (see additional story below) and new technology.

UPDATE: Julie Kingstone mentioned at the AGM that LiveWorkPlay was expecting a decision about an application for a property tax exemption for the 7 condominium units the organization purchased in 2009 through an agreement with the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program. The application was successful. This will result in an annual savings in excess of $20,000.

Annual ReportMr. Wellar presented an operational overview, noting that there have been several subtle but important shifts in terms of what members see as important and what they want help with the most. Forty-five (about 50% of our active members) now live in homes of their own, and forty have paid jobs. While most still want some support in these areas, when prioritizing their needs, they are now more focused on growing their life in the community through new interests and friendships, or in some cases, moving forward in their relationship with a significant other. Increasingly satisfied with their home and work lives, many have also indicated a renewed interest in volunteerism, as a way to meet other people and also to give back to their community.

There is no doubt that AGM 2013 will be best remember for the “moment of noise” in memory of Rob More, a former LiveWorkPlay member who died tragically in the Fallowfield bus/train crash. The week of the AGM there were visitations and a formal service in Rob’s memory, so it was decided that a different type of tribute was in order. Following a poetry reading, the crowd of 150 got to their feet, and backed by the Ottawa Senators theme song, gave Rob a sendoff well-suited to one of the biggest hockey and sports fans this city has ever known. More than 100 individual donations in Rob’s memory have been received by LiveWorkPlay to date, many of them Rob More’s co-workers from IBM in Ottawa. Rob’s mother Julie, father Mike, and sister Becky have been extremely gracious to LiveWorkPlay in recognition of the support he was provided in his early 20s. The 300 mourners who attended his service shared endless stories about the young man who was enjoying life as a cherished member of his workplace, and a caring citizen who was known for his willingness to strike up a friendly conversation with someone new.

The World Around Us: Newsflashes

It is with great pleasure that we acknowledge the presentation of a “Community Hero” award to our good friend Professor Al Condeluci, Executive Director of Community Living and Support Services (CLASS) in Pittsburgh. What is the connection to LiveWorkPlay? Well, through presentations and consultations Al Condeluci gave us a big jumpstart in our efforts to learn about how social capital – having relationships including friends and particularly personal and professional networks – is a key to an included life in the community for people with intellectual disabilities.

Condeluci Community Living Ontario provides us this important update: back in the spring MPP Christine Elliott proposed to the Ontario Legislature the creation of a government Select Committee to address the urgent need for a comprehensive developmental services strategy to address the needs of children, youth and adults in Ontario.  On October 3rd, the legislature adopted an order of business motion identifying key elements and timelines for the work and reporting of this committee. The committee will focus on the following issues:

• elementary and secondary school educational needs of children and youth;
• educational and workplace needs of youth after secondary school;
• social, recreational and inclusionary opportunities for children/youth/adults;
• need for available and affordable housing options for youth/adults;
• the respite and support needs of families;
• how government should most appropriately support these needs.

The Committee will be able to call for papers and the assistance of people to help with its work and will have the ability to hold meetings and consultations in different parts of the province as they see fit. The Committee will present an interim report to the House no later than February 26, 2014, and a final report no later than May 15, 2014. LiveWorkPlay will provide any updates about opportunities to contribute to committee via submissions or testimony.

Coming Events: Mark Your Calendar!

It’s a busy time of year, so invest a few minutes in registration for upcoming events, and update your calendars so you don’t miss out. The next two LiveWorkPlay events are the Festive Family FeFeast of December 6 and the New Year’s Even Dinner & Dance of December 31. Take advantage of earlybird pricing, don’t delay, register today! Upcoming partner organization events include the third installment of housingwworkshops hosted by Families Matter Co-op on October 23. Join most of the LiveWorkPlay staff team at United Way Ottawa Schmoozefest on October 30. All are welcome, but this event is a great way for existing LiveWorkPlay volunteers to introduce friends and colleagues to the organization in a social atmosphere.

UPDATE: golf tournament news! The September 19 golf tournament in partnership with Rotary Club of West Ottawa at Glen Mar Golf & Country Club was sold out with 144 golfers. The LiveWorkPlay portion of the proceeds in 2013 was about $10,000. That total came from a 3 way split of general proceeds of $21,000 shared with RCWO and Cystic Fibrosis Canada (Ottawa Chapter) plus additional dollars contributedGolfed via a segment of sign sponsors and a Dow Honda sponsorship that went directly to LiveWorkPlay. We thank Jennifer and Ivan Harris (right) for volunteering their day in support of the LiveWorkPlay sponsorship hole!

Looking ahead to 2014, we will be involved in TWO golf tournaments! THE BIG NEWS: Dow Honda will be partnering with us for a tournament tentatively scheduled for Sunday, July 27. Key to the new tournament is a guaranteed registration of more than 70 golfers, with all proceeds from the event going to LiveWorkPlay. We have also proposed that we continue our involvement with the RCWO tournament (to be hosted on a weekday in September) with the understanding that we will likely bring with us fewer golfers than in 2013, due to the influence of the July 27 Dow Honda tournament. If that all sounds confusing, don’t worry, we’ll nail down all the details and share them in the coming months. Play in one, or play in both!

Researchers Get Visual!

Aaron Johannes-Rosenberg became familiar with LiveWorkPlay through social media. After many online conversations involving his work at the Spectrum Society for Community Living in Vancouver, Aaron became interested in how he might spend some time with LiveWorkPlay members for his thesis at Athabasca University, where he is part of the Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program. He recently visited LiveWorkPlay and hosted a focus group on leadership (click here for details).

Visual Ann-Louise Davidson at Concordia university has a long history with LiveWorkPlay dating all the way back to the On Our Own Together projects in 2003-2004. She is now an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in Educational Technology at Concordia University. As part of a team with researchers Stefanie Corona and Christine Hannum, Professor Davidson interviewed LiveWorkPlay members and produced videos for “Project Capabilities” which are now hosted on YouTube.

Staff News: Training & Sharing

It’s been a busy month for LiveWorkPlay staff training, some highlights being participation in an informative dual diagnosis (intellectual disability and mental illness) seminar offered by Community Networks of Specialized Care here in Ottawa, and an Employment Symposium with Denise Bissonnette hosted by Rural Outreach Employment Services. This quality employment symposium offered in nearby Renfrew was attended by the entire Employment Supports team.

Julie Kingstone and Keenan Wellar will be presenting at the 2013 Learning Community for Person Centred Practices Gathering in Thorold, Ontario where they have been asked to share in particular the different ways that volunteers contribute to the LiveWorkPlay mission. They will drive north following the conference to meet with some representatives from the Ministry of Community and Social Services and Keenan will be presenting at a special conference for hundreds of policy staff from a cross-section of provincial government departments. On November 5 he will also present via videoconference an Ontario-wide session about moving from “Presence to Contribution” in supporting people with intellectual disabilities to live as included and valued citizens.

On a final note, congratulations to Alex Darling (Volunteer Coordinator) and Caitlin Fortier (Community Connector) on their recent one-year anniversary as members of the full-time staff team!

Please Stay In Touch!

Keeping up to date with LiveWorkPlay is easy. You can watch our news page at LiveWorkPlay.ca, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn! Looking to donate? Look no further! Full staff team (pictured) contact information is available here. We recently received more than 1000 likes on our Facebook page, thank you for your support!

With your time and donations, we are helping the community welcome people
with intellectual disabilities to live, work, and play as valued citizens.

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