Guest blog from Derick Fage, host of “Let’s Chat with Derick”
Another episode of Let’s Chat with Derick is ready for your viewing pleasure. This time I chat with Keenan Wellar!
Keenan and his wife Julie Kingstone founded LiveWorkPlay 25 years ago. The organization provides direct supports and services in the Ottawa area to deliver its mission: helping the community welcome and include people with intellectual disabilities, autistic persons, and individuals with a dual diagnosis to live, work, and play as valued citizens.
Keenan and I chat about the biggest changes in recent years. Housing, jobs, and community engagement. We also discuss the impact of the pandemic, how they have responded, how people with intellectual disabilities and the sector that supports them has been faring, what are some of the long-term implications for the organization, and what should we be doing as a province to move in positive directions post-COVID?
This organization is not just an Ottawa success story, it’s a Canadian success story and one that should be copied in every community around the globe. I have met some incredible people through LiveWorkPlay over the years.
LiveWorkPlay recently celebrated a 25th anniversary at the Make A Buzz Ottawa online event on May 7. This celebration is normally held at St. Anthony’s Banquet Hall. Staff and volunteers worked for several weeks to create a unique online experience on Zoom for more than 200 registered guests who were treated to 90 minutes of interviews with members, families, volunteers, staff, and community partners, plus unique musical performances, and a live one hour online concert with Dave Kalil. The entire event has been viewed more than 20,000 times via the links at http://2020.liveworkplay.ca. An online auction also raised more than $7000 even though no donations were solicited after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11.