LEAD STORY: MAKE A BUZZ OTTAWA CELEBRATES CANADA 150 ON MAY 11
It’s one of Ottawa’s best-attended and most-enjoyed community celebrations! Make A Buzz Ottawa brings together an enthusiastic and diverse crowd of more than 300 to recognize individuals and organizations who contribute to a welcoming and inclusive community.
We are pleased to have Sandy Sharkey and Derick Fage returning as co-hosts, and to help us mark Canada’s 150th we have added an outstanding local talent, Brenden MacGowan. Brenden has wowed Ottawa Senators fans with his anthems, and is sure to thrill the Make A Buzz Ottawa crowd with his version of O Canada as well as a short set of songs selected just for this occasion!
Doors open at 5:45 for the reception, with a cash bar and free appetizers in the cocktail room. Enjoy the incredible silent auction, fun raffles, and free photo booth! By 7:00 we will move next door to the dining hall for a four course meal to enjoy awards and presentations that honour people with intellectual disabilities, volunteers, employers, and other community partners. There will also be a small number of exciting live auction items, including a return flight for two anywhere that WestJet flies (including Hawaii and Ireland!). Tickets are just $40! Get all the details including parking information at http://bzbz.ca/2017buzz40.
THIS IS A JAM-PACKED EDITION! Continue reading for stories about the West Ottawa Board of Trade awards, Foolish Family Feast, Empowering Ability podcast, a new development in employment supports, new staff members, QAM under pressure, the board’s strategic review, interesting training news, and don’t miss the story below about the Haven in Barrhaven!
MOVING IN TO THE HAVEN IN BARRHAVEN
What a great moment in life, moving in to your first apartment at the start of spring! We will be celebrating the important life transition made by each of these individuals with the My Own Home awards at Make A Buzz Ottawa 2017. It’s quite remarkable that EIGHT of our members are moving in to the Haven in Barrhaven this month, an incredible new non-profit housing development led by the Multifaith Housing Initiative.
Help with planning for their moves (like Daniel, above, who just moved in!) and to organize their paid and unpaid supports was delivered by LiveWorkPlay staff in partnership with Mills Community Support staff, utilizing the Helen Sanderson Associates “Just Enough Support” model. The initial planning work with individuals and families was supported with a grant from the Adobe Foundation. The project has since been funded with an additional grant from the Ministry of Community and Social Services Housing Task Force.
A GREAT NIGHT IN WEST OTTAWA
Thanks to a nomination by East Coast Limos, LiveWorkPlay was a Community Development category finalist in the West Ottawa Board of Trade awards on March 30. Although we were not chosen for the award, we celebrated all night long with so many employers in the room who have hired people with intellectual disabilities with help from LiveWorkPlay!
The organizers also did a wonderful job showcasing all of the finalists. Watch the video above to see how LiveWorkPlay was recognized!
FEELING FINE AT THE FOOLISH FAMILY FEAST
No surprise, it was a fun night. How can you go wrong wearing interesting hats and eating a delicious meal? There was a bit of extra excitement in the air with a visiting film crew from Anaid Productions. They were filming part of a demo for a potential video series about the relationship between LiveWorkPlay members and the staff team, with Caroline Matte and Daniel Harris in the spotlight! The photos tell the story far better than words can, check them out!
HELPING LAUNCH THE EMPOWERING ABILITY PODCAST
While attending and helping host the From Presence To Citizenship learning exchange in Toronto on February 8-9, LiveWorkPlay co-leaders Keenan Wellar and Julie Kingstone were introduced to Eric Goll, a family member of an individual who was working towards launching a new podcast called Empowering Ability.
Keenan agreed to be the guest on the first edition, and will be a part of the upcoming April 11 show that he was honoured to share with our good friend and social capital aficionado Al Condeluci from Pittsburgh. You can check out Eric’s podcasts from the image above. Keenan was also honoured to be featured in The Philanthropist which is profiling some of their contributors as part of their Canada 150 celebrations.
CELEBRATING WORLD AUTISM DAY AND DOWN SYNDROME DAY
Yes, there are a lot of commemorative days, weeks, and months, so many that it is hard to keep track of them all. But these are also opportunities to support inclusion that moves beyond “awareness” and like so many other people and organizations, LiveWorkPlay is helping to spread a positive message about how everyone in the community benefits when people with intellectual disabilities are welcomed and valued. Here is our Autism message and click here for our Down syndrome message.
Also featured recently on our Facebook page we shared a TED talk by Michele Sullivan that is right on point with these thoughts about difference and belonging.
ONTARIO EXPLORING BASIC INCOME
We are encouraged by progress towards a better social safety net, including Ontario’s basic income pilot. There is no one who does not see that the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) has many flaws and unnecessary limits and demands on people with disabilities, and hopefully there will be changes in the not so distant future. This is not only an issue for people with disabilities, it is an important conversation for all.
A NEW RELATIONSHIP FOR LIVEWORKPLAY: ODSP EMPLOYMENT SUPPORTS
Speaking of ODSP, LiveWorkPlay has just become a Service Provider in the Ontario Disability Support Program Employment Supports network. This means, for the first time in a long time, LiveWorkPlay has a long-term means of supporting our very successful work in bringing employees with intellectual disabilities together with employers that know we can help meet their human resources needs. This is brand new and we’ll be communicating about it more in the weeks to come. We have received great support from the local ODSP Employment Supports office as well as from the existing network of service providers in this region.
Minister of Community and Social Services Helena Jaczyk was recently making employment-related announcements in the York region, and we appreciate being included in her comments about organizations that are driving positive change. We are one of the smallest of Ontario’s network of more than 300 Developmental Services agencies, and one of our hopes is that by communicating about our work, we can be a part of a broader dialogue that can influence progress across the province. This includes our ongoing work with the From Presence To Citizenship network.
SPEAKING UP ABOUT A QUESTIONABLE PRACTICE
In other news from across the province, Community Living Ontario has come out with a statement regarding the picketing of homes of people supported by Community Living Campbellford/Brighton, part of strike actions being taken by OPSEU workers (click here for their view on this issue).
“Community Living Ontario and its member organizations respect the right of organized labour to express its grievances through strike actions that include legitimate, responsible picketing.However, yelling, demonstrating and setting up portable restrooms outside people’s homes are hurtful and disrespectful,” said Hélène Morin-Chain, President of Community Living Ontario.
It is not our place to insert ourselves into a labour negotiation, but based on what we know from the reported experience of people with disabilities who have had picketing outside of their homes during past strikes, this is a practice that can be harmful to people who are simply trying to live their lives.
STAYING QAM UNDER PRESSURE
LiveWorkPlay became a Transfer Payment Agency (TPA) of the Province of Ontario in April 2016. Prior to that time our funding had always been directed through an existing TPA (first L’Arche Ottawa and later CMHA Ottawa). This change brought the benefit of a direct funding relationship, but also some additional work to be done with various reporting and regulatory requirements. Chief among these is the Quality Assurance Measures, an extensive auditing process (not a financial audit, we do that every year as well) that looks at more than 300 pages of different requirements. To make a long story short, it is mainly about policies and procedures, and providing evidence that they are being followed.
LiveWorkPlay has just completed our first ever QAM audit, which took place over a four-day period in March. Although we had prepared extensively and received a great deal of help from partner agencies such as Community Living St. Mary’s and Mills Community Support, we were also told that the process would be a learning curve, as that is a universally reported experience. It proved true, but issues identified by the auditor were all resolved within the timelines and parameters of the QAM regulations (in most cases ten days were allocated).
While most issues were technical in nature, and solved for now and for the future by reorganizing hard copy or online filing systems to track information differently (if you are one of our members expect to be putting your signature on a lot more documents – sorry, it has to be done!) a more challenging issue is the particular “training in behaviour interventions” that is required by QAM. It has been difficult to find available courses in our area and to find the time for staff to attend them. We are solving this by sending members of the staff team to complete training so that they themselves can teach the course to our staff and ensure that everyone is up to date.
Julie Kingstone (pictured) was the face of the process for LiveWorkPlay. “QAM is extensive and particular, but at the same time, interpretations are nuanced” says Julie. “It went very well for our first audit, and the adjustments we need to make for the future will put some additional demands on staff, members, families, and volunteers, but it’s well within our capabilities to do even better next year.”
In addition to Grace Hudson and Allison Moores contributing to the preparation and follow-up, one of two new staff members played an important role in the preparations. Meet them both, below!
WELCOME ANNA AND SARA, THANKS BRUCE. MAUREEN, AND TARA
Anna Nelson comes to LiveWorkPlay after many years of relevant experience with agencies in the Thunder Bay area, and was able to jump in quickly to assist with QAM preparations. Anna will now be the lead on ODSP Employment Supports intake and monitoring.
Sara Anderson comes from the amazing talent pool that is the LiveWorkPlay volunteer team, and having completed many hours and days of training, she has joined the Life Coach and Community Connector team. and she’s now happily started working with members.
Both Anna and Sara were introduced to the LiveWorkPlay community at the Foolish Family Feast and were warmly greeted by members and family!
Anna and Sara timed their introduction to LiveWorkPlay quite well, given training with Bruce Anderson had been scheduled many months ago!
Bruce (pictured right) spent the day with the team on March 22 for an interesting, challenging, and exciting discussion about skills, talents, and gifts – the main focus being on the latter, and more specifically, the concept of “core gifts.”
Maureen McKenna spent a day with the team back in January with an introduction to Appreciative Inquiry, and this was then followed up with coaching sessions delivered locally by Tara McRae at Valor & Solutions throughout February and March. The work of getting better at what we do is never done! That’s an important part of our culture at LiveWorkPlay.
STRATEGIC REVIEW PROCESS UPDATE
Almost six months of hard work on the strategic review process has been completed. Chair Cathy Velazquez wishes to thank all the former board members, current and former staff, members, and family members who have contributed. This has included building the historical scan (pictured) as well as the completion of targeted questionnaires as requested by consultant Mike Coxon, who has the board looking ahead to 2020. “Mike is constructing a draft for us, and we’ll work through that with him, and then look forward to sharing with our members and supporters,” says Cathy.
NEW LEAF COMMUNITY CHALLENGE UPDATE
We’re off to a great start with the goals established in our successful campaign to be this year’s Community Foundation of Ottawa New Leaf Community Challenge recipient! In addition to working towards 100 jobs for people with intellectual disabilities, the project budget includes support for new marketing materials, which are already in development. We’ll have more about our job numbers and the marketing project later this spring!
COMING TOGETHER: EMPLOYING ABILITY, MAY 6
Each year Coming Together is hosted by Service Coordination with a focus on topics relevant to all youth with intellectual disabilities transitioning to adulthood. The goal is to help individuals and families gain knowledge, tools, and awareness of resources in the Ottawa area. The event also aims to stimulate community collaboration and inspire new opportunities. Although topics are presented in English, French content literature and bilingual staff will be available. This year’s theme is “Employing Ability” and LiveWorkPlay co-leader Keenan Wellar will be contributing a presentation to help launch the event. Registration is available from the Service Coordination website.
ONE MORE REMINDER…JOIN US!