Back in July of 1997, Keenan left his job in the IT sector to commit full-time to LiveWorkPlay, which was at that time known as Special Needs Network. In 1995, with Julie Kingstone, the organization had been incorporated as a non-profit with charitable status, and was focused on building an advocacy network. Two years later, with financial support and encouragement from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the organization expanded its mandate to offer direct support to people with intellectual disabilities and autistic persons.
“I want to thank my colleagues and board for the lovely card and gift. 23 years seems like a long time but I remember those days like it was yesterday – getting a few pieces of used office furniture at the surplus store, sanding and painting our first office, launching our website (a big deal in 1997), our open house, and our first family brunch gathering. We are in difficult times right now – all of us – but I look back at the near impossibility of how our little volunteer network grew into the LiveWorkPlay of today and realize that our community is resilient, determined, and resourceful, and although there are serious challenges right now and over the coming months, I am very hopeful for the future, and our ability to continue supporting a more inclusive community here in Ottawa and beyond.”