Ready For Spring?
It’s been a long Ottawa winter, even for outdoor enthusiasts, but spring will soon be upon us, and with it comes the busiest LiveWorkPlay season! Here is a quick summary of upcoming events:
- March 13: A free event hosted by United Way Ottawa! LiveWorkPlay will be added to the Wall of Inspiration at Ottawa City Hall in recognition of our 2013 Community Builder of the Year award!
- March 21: The Foolish Family Feast featuring a delicious meal with great company and lots of funny hats!
- April 3: The Recipe for Success Culinary Adventure and Charity Auction with co-hosts Derick Fage and Sandy Sharkey!
- June 6: We celebrate our community with the Engines of Success annual recognition banquet!
Recipe for Success is our most important fundraising event of the year, and as always we are counting on the amazing team of members, volunteers, partners, and family who help recruit donations, sell tickets, and introduce guests to this evening of food and fun!
Inclusive Lessons Learned on Holiday Road
LiveWorkPlay travel support is all about helping people with intellectual disabilities enjoy travel experiences where they get to meet other people and other people get to meet them. The January excursion to Club Med Turks and Caicos proved a very rewarding experience, not just for the members of LiveWorkPlay who took part, but for the many guests who made connections and created shared memories. Consider the following:
From guest Will: I always go on vacation looking to recharge the batteries, and hopefully to meet new and interesting people. I was not prepared to meet 33 of them! I feel like I became a better man for having met and socialized with all of you. Thank you for teaching this hardened New Yorker that great people exist in this world. The second you left the resort, it became a totally different place, but full of the good spirit that you left behind. And not a single person I spoke to was not impressed by how fantastic every one of you made us feel about the people we met, but most importantly about ourselves. I will feel honored if our paths cross again.
Enjoy more quotes from guests as well as photos and video by accessing this article that was featured on the LiveWorkPlay news blog. Next up on the LiveWorkPlay travel schedule: a motor coach trip to Chicago!
Federal Budget 2014: We’re Willing!
The February 11 announcement that the Government of Canada intends to invest $15 million in the Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) initiative to “support employers to recruit and hire people with developmental disabilities” resulted in lots of email, telephone, and social media inquiries from LiveWorkPlay supporters, anxious to understand what this could mean at the local level. LiveWorkPlay has been cobbling together different funding sources for the past four years in an effort to sustain our very effective work in Employment Supports. We help match workers with intellectual and local employers, and we work with partners like United Way Ottawa to share success stories. Will the RWA initiative help us do more?
The short answer is that we simply don’t know what Ready, Willing and Able might mean for our employment efforts. It will take take time for CACL (Canadian Association for Community Living) and CASDA (Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance) to work with provincial partners and organize a process for distributing funds. You can read our full discussion of the Ready, Willing and Able announcement.
There have been many new jobs and employment partners developed in January and February, including an office position for Linda Gray with Engineers Canada! Other new employers include: Kanata Honda, Star Motors, and RE/MAX Affiliates Realty. We’ll be celebrating these relationships at Engines of Success!
LiveWorkPlay also contributed to the Legislature of Ontario Select Committee on Developmental Disabilities and will be watching for the response to Canada’s first report on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Volunteers: We Keep Asking, They Keep Coming!
It has been a busy two months for Volunteer Coordinator Alex Darling, with almost 20 new volunteers completing their preliminary training! In addition to one-on-one matches and taking part in Friday night social meetups, volunteers have been branching out into new areas of support for LiveWorkPlay, including the Employment Task Force and Fund Development Task Force. The latter is just getting going but the former is already yielding results, such as the Kanata Honda and Star Motors relationships facilitated by Andrew Bearss (Dow Honda).
The Board of Directors has also been hard at work, finishing a complete update of governance policies, rewriting the bylaws (with pro bono help from Gowlings) for compliance with new federal regulations and developing a LiveWorkPlay Theory of Change with coach Linda Graupner. The purpose is to not only explain what we do and how we do it, but to support that information with data, measurement, and evidence. We welcome your feedback! Elements of the LiveWorkPlay Theory of Change will also be incorporated into many upcoming presentations (see below).
LiveWorkPlay also supports members to give back to the community through other non-profit organizations, a great example being the recent Mitzvah Day hosted by the Jewish Federation of Ottawa which was attended by Caroline Matte, Cooper Gage, and Amber Smith. Cooper has also made two presentations to different committees of United Way Ottawa. Steven MacPhee is one of the latest Meals on Wheels Ottawa recruits, and organization that has been partnering with LiveWorkPlay for more than 15 years!
On Demand, On The Road!
Over the past three years LiveWorkPlay has made a concerted effort to do more sharing and learning with others. One result is more and more agencies and communities near and far are taking an interest in our work. Although availability to deliver pro bono workshops and presentations is limited mainly to local opportunities, many organizations in other jurisdictions are now prepared to compensate LiveWorkPlay for costs and staff time. This has resulted in a busy schedule over the coming months, with some presentations based in Ottawa, as well as others that will cover territory from Kingston to Seattle, with other possibilities still pending!
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 contact information is available here. We are approaching 6000 followers on Twitter and 1500 likes on Facebook, thank you for your support!