THANKS FOR ALL THE LOVE!
Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, it’s always a good reminder for us to say THANK YOU to our volunteers, donors, and members. This is also Nonprofit Appreciation Week, and we’ve already received lots of encouraging messages. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s OK, it’s pretty new. It is based on legislation to recognize nonprofit workers and organizations by the Government of Ontario (Bill 9, Nonprofit Sector Appreciation Week, 2021). Did you know that 77% of all workers delivering vital supports and services from Ontario’s nonprofits are women? Learn more about what this means and what changes are needed to support decent work in the sector.
Our community dinner events are back up and running, and are as popular and important as ever. But we are going to need some help to keep it that way Costs are up. Way up! Which brings us to our big ask, and our new campaign to MAKE IT MONTHLY. LiveWorkPlay is seeking 21 new monthly donors for World Down Syndrome Day, March 21, 2023!
LiveWorkPlay is back to hosting our in-person community dinner events for people with intellectual disabilities, autistic persons, family members, volunteers, staff, and other supporters. The feedback is always overwhelmingly positive, and we want to keep delivering the Welcome Back Family Feast in September, the Festive Family Feast in December, the Ready for Spring Family Feast in March, and the Make A Buzz Ottawa recognition event in May.
We have a wonderful partner in St. Anthony’s Banquet Hall for hosting these events, but many of our members cannot afford the full cost, and keeping the event accessible means we need donations to keep these traditions going. The March event always includes a commemoration of World Down Syndrome Day (March 21) so we thought it would be fun to have a fundraising campaign built around this event, with a focus on building the sustainability of all of our dinner events. Last year’s messages was delivered online (great job Daniel!) so we’re very excited that we’ll be able to celebrate in person this year.
You’ll see the suggested monthly donation amounts are $21 or $42 or $63. Why? Well, we talk about it every year at our March family feast, because people with Down syndrome have an extra 21st chromosome. We even hold up a 2-1 with our fingers as a show of solidarity and in celebration of diversity. So you could donate $21 a month to honour that, or double that to $42 recognizing that a person with Down syndrome has one extra 21st chromosome, or triple it to $63 since each cell for people with Down syndrome has three separate copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual two. This is just a suggestion, we appreciate donations in any amount, and you will see on the form that you can also dedicate in honour or in memory of someone special.
SPEAKING OF FAMILY FEAST EVENTS…
Although we enjoyed the two outdoor summer barbecue events at TD Place in June and September, St. Anthony’s Banquet Hall has been home to something like 50 LiveWorkPlay gatherings, so it was a special feeling being back there for the Festive Family Feast on December 8! As the dessert rolled out, we were treated to another wonderful performance on the microphone and the keys by Kenny Hayes! This was also the occasion for the first ever live edition of The LiveWorkPlay News!
Keenan Wellar had to fly solo on this edition of TLN, because we haven’t yet figured out how to do a live broadcast with multiple news anchors and reporters, but we’ll get there! In the meantime, because the winter can be long and dark, Keenan did get together with Stephen MacPhee for a co-hosted TLN countdown on Zoom with breaking news reporter Julie Kingstone. There was some crossover between the top stories of December 8 and the top stories of January 24, see if you can guess which stories made both countdowns!
GUEST POST: FROM THE CAO TEAM
On February 7, Stephanie Cadieux, Chief Accessibility Officer (CAO) met with the LiveWorkPlay team in Ottawa and enjoyed hearing about their efforts and successes in placing people with a range of intellectual abilities in jobs that empower them to reach their full potential and contribute to the success of their organizations.
Every year, LiveWorkPlay supports 200 adults at work, at home, and in their communities and to date have helped place more than 175 people in federal public service jobs.
The CAO spoke with Co-Leaders Julie Kingstone and Keenan Wellar, and Workplace Inclusion Specialist Joëlle Perrier about the difference their work is making. Sharing insights with teams like this always energizes and fuels us to keep forging ahead. The conversation was so great, we forgot to take a photo, but luckily we snagged a souvenir. Congratulations to the whole LiveWorkPlay team on the important work they are doing!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HAPPY RETIREMENT
How cool is this? A very happy birthday to Daniel Pinsonneault and a happy retirement to Kathy Riley, what a great day to be on CBC together! This is a final celebration of Kathy’s work supporting accessible transit, as a long time partner of LiveWorkPlay and dozens of other Ottawa-based organizations. The story surrounds a BBC video featuring stories of accessible transit worldwide, and when they made inquires in Canada and found their way to Kathy, she knew who to call to find a great partner for the video! Check out their segment on CBC radio to learn more.
YOU WANT EVEN MORE VIDEO?
Back in December the film crew working on behalf of the Family Support Network for Employment came to town and captured amazing footage from a private sector and public sector workplace. The segments are being used as module in a free course available from LifeCourseOnline. They launched the new module with LiveWorkPlay via a live webinar that included a 10 minute introductory video with employees, supervisors, and LiveWorkPlay staff, followed by a live Q&A that included employment specialist Laura Lobay. You can view the webinar on YouTube, and if you want to learn more, you can get the entire course for free! WARNING: some people get a little teary-eyed watching the segment with Finance Canada Chief of Staff Dan Carleton talking about employee Nadine Ghadie, matched by LiveWorkPlay and now making her way up the ranks!
And still more video! This time employment specialist Jen Broad teamed up with Laura Lobay for a presentation to the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA). This was a concise presentation of about 20 minutes followed by a Q&A with primarily a small business audience. LiveWorkPlay has become known for our employment partnership with the federal public service, which certainly deserves attention for the groundbreaking progress, but we started out working primarily with the private sector, and add new partners on a weekly basis!
PAINT NIGHT AT MHI!
As part of our ongoing partnership with Multifaith Housing Initiative we are pleased to help contribute to their efforts to build inclusive community! Many LiveWorkPlay members have the good fortune to be tenants at the Haven in Barrhaven, an MHI community where one of our Community Connectors Ron Kok, with support from his colleague Chris Floyd and LiveWorkPlay volunteer Dee Ann, was able to bring his gifts and talents as an artist to deliver an amazing Paint Night experience! “We painted ‘Snowy Morning’ apropos for how it looks around here these days” said Ron with a grin. [Pictured: 9 of 13 attendees, some had to leave before the paint was dry to make their way through the snow].
THANK YOU BOARD MEMBERS!
The 2022-2023 year is flying by for the Board of Directors who are already looking ahead to the 2023 Annual General Meeting in June. In addition to monthly meetings, each board member has a monthly committee assignment, and takes part in other activities as needed. This includes an annual Saturday retreat, a time to take a deeper dive into strategic issues and have generative discussions about the future of the organization. This year the board was joined by the co-leaders and consultant Mike Coxon for a strategic review process, and they look forward to speaking to the membership about how this has impacted on future plans.
Remebering David Charles Onley, C.M., O.Ont
Tributes are still pouring in for David C. Onley, who served as Ontario’s 28th Lieutenant Governor. He died on January 14 at the age of 72. As a champion for disability rights, if we were to choose just one statement to describe David Onley, it would be this: he told the truth.
In early 2019, when he delivered his review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) implementation, he described Ontario as “mostly inaccessible” and criticized the current and previous government for failing to follow through on the 2005 promise of making the province fully accessible by 2025. “This is a matter of civil rights, and people with disabilities are being discriminated against on a daily basis in multiple ways,” Onley said at the time.
Our direct interactions with David Onley were mostly related the championing of employment for people with disabilities through our partner networks like Rotary Club Of West Ottawa and Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN). In 2011 we helped host the “Building A New Workforce” event and LiveWorkPlay member Jennifer Harris had the honour of introducing the Lieutenant Governor.
David was unequivocal on this issue, and it made an impression: everyone who wants to work should be working. He was equally unequivocal that employing people with disabilities is good for business – if you have the help you need to do it right. Thank you David Onley for all that you have done to make this world a better place. We have touched on just one aspect of your efforts, but the impact of those efforts alone was huge, for our organization, the people we support, and the countless others who share a similar story across the province and indeed across the world.
SAVE THE DATE!
BREAKING NEWS! LiveWorkPlay is excited to announce that Ottawa will be the host city for the Community Living Ontario Conference 2023! Save the dates: Septetmber 27-29.
Community Living Ontario has had a busy winter helping to convene meetings across the province with representatives from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, including Minister Merrilee Fullerton.
In other conference news, Canada is home to the 2023 edition of the Global Summit on Supported Employment, which will be hosted by the Canadian Association for Supported Employment. LiveWorkPlay has submitted a conference proposal, and if accepted, will be representing our work to the world at the conference in Vancouver in early June.
THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS!
One day is not enough to recognize the more than 150 volunteers who support the LiveWorkPlay mission, that’s why you’ll hear more about this amazing group during National Volunteer Week in April! But our interim volunteer coordinator Batoul Auf didn’t want to let December 5, International Day of Volunteers, pass by without a tribute.
“We also want to celebrate the many people with intellectual disabilities and autistic persons we are involved in supporting who give back to their community as volunteers, contributing to incredible community-building partner organizations” said Batoul. [Pictured left: Janet voluntering and making a donation at Parkdale Food Centre and that’s Phil and Paige heading out for music festival season].
We give thanks to the hundreds of volunteers with direct connections to LiveWorkPlay, but also to every global citizen who dedicates one of their most valuable assets – their time – to strengthening our communities. We appreciate you!