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LiveWorkPlay Celebrates National Volunteer Week 2016!


Go Michael!

It’s National Volunteer Week, so although we’ll be celebrating our volunteers a month from now, we did want to take this opportunity for an extra “thank you” and a tip of the hat to volunteer, Michael Friedman who organized and hosted a comedy night fundraiser!

Like everyone else in Ottawa the spring thaw means our members are looking to get out in the community more often, and this opens up a whole host of opportunities for one to one matches and Friday meetups. If you’ve been considering volunteering at LiveWorkPlay, this is a great time of year to make it happen!


Manager of Employer Partnerships Jen Soucy is in Parry Sound meeting with leadership teams from surrounding agencies that are evolving their approach to employment for their members.

“It’s an exciting time across the province,” says Jen. “With the front door of sheltered workshops now closed, those agencies that haven’t already transitioned to a different approach are not reinventing the wheel, they are developing formal and informal partnerships with other agencies that can share what they have learned and suggest effective approaches.”

Of particular interest to many other organizations is the LiveWorkPlay Employment Task Force as well as our summer employment initiative and ongoing adult employment services. Funded by ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program, Special Projects) MCSS (Ministry of Community and Social Services Employment and Modernization Fund) and United Way Ottawa, all of our employment initiatives are yielding exciting results.

“We know that employers championing our candidates and our employment supports team to other employers is the best way to develop new partnerships, and we also know that when people with intellectual disabilities get summer jobs their chances for graduating into jobs as adults skyrockets,” says Jen.

Next week Julie Kingstone and Keenan Wellar will take part in the 2016 HSA Canada / Learning Community for Person-Centred Practices Gathering in Toronto. Julie will be sharing some of what we have learned about hiring practices and staff support in a person-centred environment, and Keenan will be introducing a panel discussion on “Organizational person-centred journeys.” The international panel includes Dimensions (all the way from the UK) and Mills Community Support (based just down the road in Almonte).


Member Ryan Nevitt, Board Chair Cathy Velazquez, and Co-Leader Keenan Wellar got together and pulled off a fun prank at the annual Foolish Family Feast. Held every year on the Friday closest to April Fool’s Day, this year’s event fell right on April 1 and it only seemed right to make a special effort to entertain our 150 guests. Pictured: Community Connector staff Stevie Voisine and Chelsea Gagnon hanging out with Paul “Captain Obvious” Knoll between courses.

Ryan got the joke started by calling Cathy to the stage to share some “big news.” Appearing to read word for word from a very serious document, a fictitious representative of the Senate of Canada announced that Keenan Wellar had been selected by a citizen’s committee to join the Upper Chamber in September. Confusion reigned, followed by a smattering of polite applause.

“They got me,” admitted family member Gisele Doyle. “It all made perfect sense!” There were more than a few comments along those lines, and some heartfelt confessions. “They got me too,” said Community Connector Caitlin Fortier. “I was seriously worried he was leaving LiveWorkPlay!”

It was all in good fun and Keenan could not keep the joke going for more than a few seconds. “Everyone was so quiet. I started laughing before I got to the podium!”


Last year it was announced that the former Recipe for Success auction and Engines of Success recognition event were being combined into one celebration, and it’s all come together very quickly and we are building up to what is sure to be an evening to remember.

Let’s start by dropping some names! Our keynote speaker is Canadian businessman and internationally recognized disability advocacy leader Mark Wafer. The evening is co-hosted by Sandy Sharkey and Dylan Black from BOOM-FM (and Dylan is also one of the hosts of Rogers Daytime). Last but not least (and certainly biggest) Alex Mateas from the Ottawa RedBlacks joins us to assist in an award presentation. Read more on our event page!

Major sponsors thus far include Dow Honda, WestJet, Quickie, Pylon, Constance Hudak and David Keay, VIA Rail, and Wellar Consulting.


As reported last issue, Algonquin College Public Relations Students are hosting a series of fundraising awareness events in March and April, and it’s been quite a ride!Member Janet Balcome has attended most of the events, and there was an entire LiveWorkPlay table at the Dreaming Under The Stars gala. At “Let It Brie” organizers wanted a LiveWorkPlay representative to deliver some remarks, and Janetjumped right up and gave a terrific speech with her parents David and Nancy in the audience.

People Connector Alex Darling and Community Connector Rebecca Coxon have also attended most of the events, and have been very impressed with the welcoming atmosphere, as well as the enthusiasm and work ethic of all the event teams. Check out this glow in the dark dodgeball action!

There is one event remaining (Live Paint Glow on Thursday night) but you can also thank ACPR representatives in person at Make A Buzz Ottawa on May 12!


The LiveWorkPlay staff team have all completed their Standard First Aid CPR/AED course with Canadian Red Cross. We started with several hours of an online course and test, and then we were lucky to have a fantastic in-class instructor. Patricia was with us for two afternoons that included working with each other to practice what we had learned, and then a final test before wrapping up with a hearty round of applause.

We were shocked to learn that although Patricia has been teaching the course for many years, she remarked that it’s unusual for her to receive applause. She is such a great teacher! Most of us have taken a First Aid course before (some of us many times) and everyone agreed this was one of their best experiences. Let’s face it, anyone who can manage these 20 people must have skills!

By the way, do you have an up to date First Aid Kit in your office, home, and car? They are available just about anywhere these days, including ordering them online.
You could save a life!


There are so many commemorative days, weeks, and months being celebrated it can be hard to keep track of it all, but LiveWorkPlay always makes an effort to recognize World Down Syndrome Day and World Autism Awareness Day.

This year Job Connector Kelsey McDaniel (fourth from left) received an invitation to a gathering on Parliament Hill organized by Senator Munsen and Senator Enverga. Kelsey has been working with an individual employed by the House of Commons, one of several federal employees with Down syndrome. In thinking about the remarks of the many excellent speakers, we penned some thoughts about the proposed Canadians with Disabilities Act.


By popular demand, we are now on Instagram! The LiveWorkPlay channel is just getting started, but please follow us! There has also been a ton of recent activity on our Facebook page, so please join in that fun too! You can also follow @LiveWorkPlay on Twitter, and check out our channel on YouTube. Want to catch up on your LiveWorkPlay history? Don’t forget our 20th anniversary book!