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Supporting People who have an Intellectual Disability • CALL TOLL-FREE 1-877-737-3475  •

Community Living York South Launches Toll-free Community Information Line


by Sarita Wiggan, Community Support Coordinator


n response to families expressing the need for easier access for pressing questions, Community Living York South has launched a new Community Information Line. “We heard what families had to say about the developmental service system being difficult to navigate. In this day and age of technology and long waitlists, families just wanted to be able to call someone to obtain an answer to an immediate question”, Above L to R: Richmond Hill Mayor Dave Barrow; states Brenda Crouse, Director of Community Community Support Coordinator Sarita Wiggan; Development for Community Living, “and our Below L to R: President of the Board Louis Laskovski; Mayor Barrow; York Region Police Constable Paul Chiang information line will have a Community Support Coordinator available from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday, to answer those questions”. This will be a valuable service for families who have a family member diagnosed with an intellectual disability seeking information on respite programs and developmental services from Community Living or another developmental service provider. “This new service will definitely be useful for families living in southern York Region”, stated Tula Femis, a parent. Our toll-free line, which has been in operation since January 2008, was officially launched in October in an unveiling ceremony with Town of Richmond Hill Mayor, David Barrow. Parents, family members and community partners from York Regional Police, York Support Services Network and York Region Public Board of Education were in attendance to help celebrate the launch. Linda Pourier, a recipient of our services, was among the evening’s attendees and had this to say about the festivities, “I was happy to speak to the Mayor and the food was good”. Funding to support the operation of this service has been made possible through the United Way of York Region. Without this assistance, there would be ‘no way’. For more information on how you can support United Way of York Region during this year’s campaign, visit

insiDe THIS ISSUE Adolescence What are the Challenges? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

United Way of York Region . . . . 5

In Memoriam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Christmas Card Winners . . . . . . 14–15 Message . the Board . . . . . . . 2 South Asian Holidays . this Autumn . . . . 12 COMMUNITY LIVING YORK SOUTH Community Information Line

1-877-737-3475 Providing information and resources for individuals who have an intellectual disability and their families

President’s Report Louis Laskovski, President of the Board of Directors


s I write this report I glance out my window and notice the change in seasons is well underway with fall making way for ‘old man winter’. And so it is coincidental that the theme of my report to all of you also happens to be about change. We, at Community Living York South are not immune to change. Changes in our current economic climate, and delivery of services within our own organization will create unique challenges for our organization. However, we should all be reminded that with change there is opportunity that can only be recognized if we embrace change and the challenges it brings. I believe that this organization is well positioned to face the inevitable changes underway and rise to any challenges that we face. Many of you are well aware that Don Wilkinson, our Executive Director, has taken a medical leave of absence. To many people, Don is the face of the Association. His presence and leadership are certainly missed. However difficult Don’s departure has been, it is also during this time that I would like to thank and acknowledge the efforts of Debbie Lewis, Director of Services, who, unselfishly, assumed many of Don’s responsibilities while juggling her own workload. The recent departure of Don has reassured me that this organization is full of great people and I applaud the efforts of Deb-

A Message From the Board


s you are aware, our Executive Director, Don Wilkinson, has been on a leave of absence from the Association since June of 2008 and was expected to return this fall. Don’s medical leave has now been extended into the spring until May 2009. On behalf of the Board, we extend our best wishes to Don and also wish him continued and improved good health while looking forward to his return in the spring. In the interim, Debbie Lewis, Director of Services, has been providing support to the Board and the Association in his absence. The Board of Directors would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Debbie for stepping in as Acting Executive Director to provide both stability and continuity to the people we support and to the Association for a seamless transition over the last 6 months. We would also like to thank all of the management and staff teams for pulling together as a larger team to ensure ‘business as usual.’

bie, the management team and all of the staff at Community Living for their devoted service. For those of you who have been following the recent legislative debates concerning the developmental services field, you will know that Bill 77 has now become law. Bill 77 repeals the Developmental Services Act and enacts new legislation relating to the provision of services and supports for persons with developmental disabilities. The new legislation will advance the opportunities available to people with an intellectual disability and an individual’s right to live and participate in mainstream society. We await the governments regulations as to how the actual delivery model with work and what changes our organization must make to adapt to the new system. I am pleased to report that our new Community Information Line: 1-877-737-3475, has now been officially launched. With the Mayor of the Town of Richmond Hill, Dave Barrow, in attendance, along with our community partners and families, our 1-877 number was officially unveiled at a ceremony at our Yonge Street office. The number will provide families with an easy access point for information about our services. Thanks to the efforts of Brenda Crouse, Director of Community Development, and all the Community Support Coordinators for making the number a new reality for families. Finally, I am pleased to advise that the Board of Directors will be meeting with the membership over the next months to update everyone on our Strategic Plan. This plan will be a guiding document for management and staff in moving the Association toward its goals. I wish to thank all who participated in the planning process that resulted in the Strategic Plan for 2008–2012.

Debbie has agreed to continue for the next six month period as the Acting Executive Director until Don’s return. We will start the process of hiring another individual to assist her on time sensitive projects through a purchase of service contract agreement in order that the Association can move towards Accreditation and the goals of our new Strategic Plan 2008–2012. The Board will continue to keep the membership, families, people supported and all staff teams apprised of our progress. Thank you for your continued support.

Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

“Adolescence... What are the Challenges?” by Brenda Crouse, Director of Community Development


n Saturday, October 18th, a 6 week workshop began in Richmond Hill for “Tweenies” aged 12 to 18 years. For the first time in York Region, youth who have an intellectual disability and their family members are attending a workshop together to address the challenges of adolescence as a family unit. The group is comprised of a mixed group of young men and young women, parent(s) and their siblings. Susan Ludwig, Sexuality Education Consultant, is the Facilitator for the workshop series that will be held across the region. Community Living York South initiated a partnership with York Support Services Network, York Behaviour Management Servi-

Trying to Find a Place to Fit by Brad Teague and Cheri Evans


iving with an intellectual disability is hard. What about also living with an intellectual disability and nothing exists for you that you can ‘fit’ into? That is the reality for people diagnosed with Mild Intellectual Disability. There are no day programs, employment programs, accommodation supports or funders that are a ‘fit’. The Ministry does not fund programs for this group of people; our IQ is too high. In this way, being ‘high functioning” is a barrier. We just need someone to support us and understand us. Community Living York South has the opportunity to help us thanks to United Way funding and the Community Support Program. We hold Social Groups and Parent Support Networks for people and families coping with these struggles. We hope that through these relationships we can help families create solutions and help people make friends. Having a group is a bonding experience and the parents get to talk about their problems. Not all disabled people are alike. In this group, we all have something in common. To get the dates and times for the Social Groups and Parent Support Networks near you please call Cheri Evans 905-771-0011 voicemail extension 640.

ces and families of York Region to offer this unique opportunity for families. Workshops run from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm for both youth and their parents to have the ‘language’ of understanding for adolescent challenges while giving parents an opportunity to share their experiences. Some of the information in this 6 week workshop is based on experiences that Susan has found to be important in her work with teens and their families. Here is a brief outline of the course content: 1. Feelings a. introduction to the four feeling faces b. Introduction to identifying the feeling experience in our own lives c. Introduction to developing the capacity to recognize feelings in others d. Learning ways to honour our feelings that are nondestructive and possibly constructive e. Integrating language about feelings into conversations (avoiding things like “don’t worry about that . . .) 2. Public/Private/Be Careful – learning to categorize things that pertain to: a. Places b. Clothing c. Body parts d. Behaviour e. Conversations 3. Changes of Adolescence a. Understanding changes to men b. Understanding changes to women The purpose of the group is three fold. First, it gives families accurate information and language to express things like feelings, their beliefs about privacy and body parts and their changes. Second, it serves as an ice breaker – starting conversations about issues that many parents find difficult to discuss with their teens. Finally, it offers an opportunity to participate in group interaction. The idea of “social circles” is introduced as being important to all adolescents. Activities are created to encourage good social skills like listening to others, taking turns, hospitality and courtesy. Participants enjoy their learning time and parents appreciate seeing their ‘child(ren)’ learning good social skills with others. In addition, we have seen informal parent networks form from these type of sessions – parents get a sense of connection with others and want to support each other. We plan for this workshop to be available across York Region and the next series will begin in the new year in Markham. Please contact 1-877-737-3475 to register today as spaces are limited! • online soon :

What’s Happening @ Bates Way Alison Arthur and Cecilia McGlade enjoyed a weekend away at the Holiday Inn in Yorkdale. They attended the first ever Rhinestone Country Music Festival at Downsview Park where they enjoyed Amanda Wilkinson, Jason Aldean, Derek Ruttan, Doc Walker and many other performers.

Alison Arthur celebrated her 47th birthday as well as a landmark 30 years of being supported by Community Living York South with many friends on October 9th, 2008. Congratulations Alison.

A Coffee Break fundraiser was hosted by Alison Arthur on September 18, 2008. Alison raised $103.47 for the Alzheimer’s Society in memory of her love, Jimmy Farquahar.

Bill, Kevin, Cecilia, Alison, Jaime, Kate, and Cathy rocked to Brooks and Dunn and ZZ Top at the Molson Amphitheatre over the summer. “Bonjour”, said Dale Cameron as he visited his home town of V’al Dor in northern Quebec over the summer. He visited the mine where his father once worked, drove by the hospital where he was born, and walked down the streets where used to live. It was a trip of a life time.

Rick Yake, Alison Arthur, and Len Millar all participated in Art in the Park on the weekend of September 7 & 8, 2008 at the Markham Museum. It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the artistic talents of Rick, Alison, Len and other artists supported by Community York South.

Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

United Way of York Region’s 2008 Campaign by Anita Leung, Community Support Coordinator


ommunity Living York South, along with 40 other member agencies, once again participated in the annual United Way of York Region fundraising campaign. The United Way is a charitable organization dedicated to uniting people and resources in an effort to improve communities. People from all walks of life benefit from services offered by community agencies funded by the United Way. Take a moment to consider the impact such services have on the area you live in—even in your own family. Big Brothers and Sisters ( provides positive adult role models for children and youth. Yellow Brick House ( offers safe haven for homeless and abused women and their children. COSTI ( has services to help all newcomers to Canada attain self-sufficiency. The PalCare Network ( works to ensure people living with terminal illness can access quality healthcare. CHATS ( has a variety of holistic programs and services to meet the needs of the seniors. The Alzheimer Society ( is committed to the care of affected families and finding a cure. The Rose of Sharon is a support for young parents and their children. These organizations and many others are able to offer their valuable services to the community because of funding from United Way of York Region. Community Living York South assists over 1,500 families who do not receive ongoing basefunding from the Ministry of Community and Social Services for day or residential supports through our community support program. Many people involved in our residential and day programs were initially assisted by our team of Community Support Coordinators—a program that is partially funded by the United Way of York Region (UWYR).

î Lory, Caroline

î Sally, Lisa, David, Creni î Elisa, Kelly • online soon :

Thanks to our Corporate Sponsors for their generous help to make

î DJ Kevin Blomerley with his mom Bert

“Harvest and Haunts” such a Success!


Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

“Harvest and Haunts” Hallowed Eve by Brenda Crouse markham – On Friday, October 31, Community Living York South had a Halloween fundraiser dance at our Markham offices for the very first time! Kevin Blomerley volunteered his services as DJ for the night and rocked the house with his tunes while ghouls, ghosts and goblins danced to the ‘Monster Mash’, ‘Thriller’ and ‘Ghostbusters’. Seventy people were in attendance and a great time was had by all. $360 was collected through a minimal admission fee and desserts donated to Community Living courtesy of Starbucks. A little ‘devil’, Sandra Burnie, had this to say, “People are dancing and having a scary fun time.” A parent and local interior decorator and organizer, Sue Cox, got the ball rolling for us by putting the “Harvest” theme into action. She made our office come to life very quickly through her creativity and vision for fall from the various surrounding farms. All from Thicketwood put the “Haunts” theme into the mix with all the hay bales, ghoulie and scary décor – thanks Candice and Tara! “There was a whole bunch of people in costumes, a whole bunch of people dancin’ and some really good costumes. It was a really good night,” says Dayle Sullivan, or otherwise known as ‘Cleopatra, the Queen of the Nile’. “They’re happy”, said ‘Gangsta’ Fred Marcussen, “We need more Coke!” Fred helped out with patrolling the back door as one of the official ‘Bouncers’ – he even ‘packed a piece’ to help maintain public order with all of the creepy critters and monsters! We want to thank our Corporate Sponsors who donated pumpkins, Mums, cornstalks and many more decorative items. Thanks to Farmer Jack’s Garden Centre & Landscape Supplies, Kennedy Greenhouses and Forsythe Family Farms, Leo’s No Frills Highway 48, and Strawberry Creek Farms – your generosity helped make our event such a success!

î Bill, Peggy, Fred

î Dan, Julian, Fatima

î DJ Kevin Blomerley • online soon :

In Memoriam Our fifth annual Bates Way Celebration of Life was held on October 18, 2008. We remember the people from within our agency and those loved relatives and friends who have passed away by lighting a candle in their memory.

Remembering Paul Larkin by Cathy Johnston, Residential Supervisor


hen I think of Paul, the first word that comes to mind is ‘determined.’ Paul was the most determined person I know and I admired him for that and he was determined to live life to its fullest. And Paul was determined to live his life, his way. He was determined to work, to cheer on the Leafs and the Blue Jays and to have his ‘Tim Horton’s’. He was always determined that the Jays and Leafs would win it all again one day. “Next year”, he’d say, “next year.” Paul was committed to his work. He loved to go the Blue Nose and see Nick, shoot the breeze, help out when he could. Paul was determined to go to work and he did, with or without bus tickets. Rain or sleet, it didn’t matter. Only a cold or a snow storm would keep him away. Tim Horton’s was very important to Paul. He liked to spend his time at the locations closest to home and location closest to Blue Nose restaurant. I know that Paul has made many friends over the years and drank endless cups of tea and coffee during his visits to Tim Horton’s. Paul was also determined about collecting. When Paul saw something he really liked—he collected it. Tim Horton mugs, pictures, collectable glasses, boxes, pucks, baseball caps, flags and posters. Paul loved to play Special Olympics floor hockey and SOO bowling. He carefully collected and maintained all the trophies and metals he earned over the years. Even though Paul collected a lot of stuff, he was also a recycler. He would collect the tabs from pop cans for wheelchairs. He was the best organic material green bin recycler I know. Blue box and garbage separated—no problem. Every garbage day, the garbage went out and he never forgot.

Paul loved his family - his older brother Michael and wife, Shirley, his twin brother, Peter and his wife, Christine, his sister, Mildred, his nieces and nephews and their families. He got a kick out of being a great-uncle. I used to tell him he made a ‘great’ greatuncle. He loved to visit with his family and he loved each and every one of them dearly. Paul wanted to be the best brother or uncle he could be and I think he was. Because Paul was determined to be out in the thick of life he met lots of people. I believe Paul made an impact on the lives of lots of people. Paul will be remembered by his neighbours as “a prominent part of our community,” “a character and will be missed in our neighborhood,” “we considered him family and he will be missed.” A close friend said that “Paul was a good companion.” “Paul made me realize how lucky we all are.” Paul had the biggest smile that lit up his entire face. You knew when Paul was happy. We all deserve to be happy. And if we all get out there, in the thick of life, we will have many more chances of meeting people and doing things that make us happy. I believe Paul was happy because he did just that. Paul was determined to be out there, to mix it up, to collect, to cheer, to love, to simply have a good cup of tea. Life is not that complicated. Paul knew that. It’s a good ‘cuppa’ tea or coffee; with or without a friend, in the thick of life. We’ll miss him.

Remembering Tom (John) Dembeck June 22, 1945–October 2, 2008 by Pamela Singleton, Team Supervisor


n October 2, 2008, Tom passed away peacefully at Lincoln Place Long Term Care Centre in Toronto. Tom received supports and services from Community Living York South from 1986 until May 2007. During this time, Tom shared with all of us his passion for music, playing the drums, his love of astronomy and his fondness for dressing up at Halloween. In his earlier days, Tom rode horses and listened to music. Tom will be kindly remembered by all his friends and sadly missed, especially by Nancy. Our thoughts are with you.

Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

Chi-Ping Dance Group’s 24th Anniversary Gala at the Markham Theatre by Debbie Lewis , Acting Executive Director


n Saturday, October 26, 2008 the Chi-Ping Dance Group held their 24th Anniversary Gala at the Markham Theatre. The packed theatre of family and friends, community partners and local dignitaries were treated to an evening of dance featuring many performers. We wish to highlight one particular performance, “The Umbrella Dance”, performed by Kitty Ho, Lai Ching, Sau Mei, Wai Chung, Chloe Lee and Stacey Ma (pictured). Congratulations to all the performers for their hard work and dedication to the performing arts. Debbie Lewis, Acting Executive Director of Community Living York South, presented certificates of appreciation to Miss Chi Ping Lau, founder and artistic director of the Chi-Ping dance group and to Miss Marie Kwok on behalf of the families of Kitty, Lai Ching, Sau Mei and Wai-Chung for their dedication and support of the ladies at their weekly dance classes and for the volunteer hours they have provided supporting them with their performances at Community Living York South events. Congratulations to all the performers!

L to R back row: Kitty Ho, Lai Ching, Sau Mei, Wai Chung; L to R: front row: Chloe Lee, Stacey Ma.

Taking the VIVA Builds Confidence and Encourages Freedom by Dee Manikam, Foundations Coordinator

n late September, York Region’s Accessible Transit Planner, Piragal Thiru (“PT”) visited the Richmond Hill Foundations (a group for transitional-aged youth) to talk about transit training and education. We discussed routes and the best way to plan out your trip in advance, whether by phone or online. Jason commented, “There are ticket machines at the VIVA bus stops that also validate tickets. VIVA is quick because it only stops at main intersections; it drops us off at our destinations without having to stop at every bus stop. VIVA is also comfortable and it has more room. When it is cold they always have the heater on to warm us up.” In the spring, York Region launched a travel training program, partnering with agencies like Community Living York South to work towards providing an improved service for people of all abilities. “I like VIVA because you have more access to it than YRT, which I find is slow and rarely comes on time. VIVA is always on time. I really like it when PT comes to talk to us about new bus information. I would like to thank PT for all his help for the past couple of weeks – you are welcome to come to our group any time,” says Christie. PT returned in October and took the group for a brief trip on the VIVA bus, to put into practice outside what the group had learned inside. “The VIVA comes on schedule,” said Adam. “It is comfortable

Photo: Piragal Thiru


î Jeremie, Christie, Jason, Adam, Sam and has more room than the YRT buses. The heaters on the bus make me nice and relaxed! Thanks, PT, for the bus information.” The program is aimed at individuals of all ages with intellectual, physical, communication or sensory disabilities, as well as seniors not familiar with taking transit. “The VIVA bus is good; I take it to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” stated Jeremie. “PT is very nice and kind; he took photos of us where the bus dropped us.” For more information on York Region’s myRide travel training program , you can visit, or contact Piragal at 905-7621282 or • online soon :

Having a Blast in Vaughan by Ritu Bhasin, Community Support Coordinator


ommunity Living York South, in partnership with A Stroke of Art of Vaughan, is providing a Friday Night Club for youth and young adults seeking social interaction and a creative outlet. The Club promotes positive friendships, creativity, life skills, social skills and is just a wonderful Friday night spot to hang out with friends. The Club is held every Friday from 7pm to 9pm at A Stroke of Art located at 8611 Weston Road, Unit #34. For booking and information on Friday Youth and Saturday Kids programs in:

Markham: Anita Leung Richmond Hill: Cheri Evans Vaughan: Ritu Bhasin

905-771-0011 Voicemail 267 905-771-0011 Voicemail 640 905-771-0011 Voicemail 523

Inclusive Basketball Club in Vaughan! by Ritu Bhasin, Community Support Coordinator


ome join a group of young adults for basketball in Vaughan. An inclusive basketball club has begun every Saturday from 6pm-8pm starting October 4th 2008 in the gym at the Al Palladini Community Centre located at 9201 Islington Avenue in Woodbridge. This is an inclusive group and all participants must be able to play without supervision as there is no staff support provided. The cost for each session is $5.00. Interested participants can contact Sukhpaul at the community centre at 416-834-3657 for more information.

Community Living   York South 2009 Dances

Saturday, February 14

Valentine’s Dance

Saturday, March 14 St. Patrick’s Day Dance for Special Olympics Saturday, April 18 Spring Dance Saturday, June 20

Summer Dance

Saturday, September 26

Blue Jay’s Dance

Saturday, October 31

Halloween Dance

Saturday, December 12

Christmas Dance

We hope to see you there!

Afternoon Tea

Fridays @ 2–5 PM • Call Cheri for Location

Friday Youth and Saturday Kids Club Your question answered: Funding • Respite • Social Groups • Etc. In an effort to re-connect/connect with some of our more ‘experienced’ parents, we will be offering a drop in tea and talk time for senior age parents. For info and to confirm attendance:

Cheri Evans at 905-771-0011 VM 640 10

Fall & Winter Sessions For booking and information on programs in:

Markham: Richmond Hill: Vaughan:

Anita Leung Cheri Evans Ritu Bhasin

905-771-0011 Voicemail 267 905-771-0011 Voicemail 640 905-771-0011 Voicemail 523

To volunteer, please call the coordinator (above) in your area.

Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

Living In York Region by Anita Leung, Community Support Coordinator Photos by Samuel Cheng, Catholic Communit y Ser vices of York Region


n Saturday, October 4, 2008, the “Living in York Region” resource fair was held at Market Village and Community Living York South was present with a display. Daniele Zanotti, CEO of United Way of York Region, remarked at the opening ceremony how exciting it is to see how the faces of York Region continue to change. This showcase was organized by Catholic Community Services of York Region Over 40 agencies participated and shared information on services available across York Region including addiction and mental health services, disabilities services, senior services and long term care, public health, employment and financial assistance, and domestic violence and child protective services. The Chinese Social Services Network York Region has made their 2008 agencies booklet available. Those interested in receiving a copy can contact: Anita Leung, Community Support Coordinator at 905-771-0011, extension 267.

L to R: Chair, Chinese Social Services Network; Daniele Zanotti, CEO, UWYR; Heidi Sin of Public Health ▶

Dean Wallace Celebrates His 69th Birthday of Dreams! by Vicky Szatko


umpkins, balloons, his blue tie, cake, bagpipes, pizza and coffee… just a few of Dean’s favorite things. Dean celebrated his 69th birthday this year by being surrounded by all of the things that he loves. Sharing this memory with some of his closest friends and family, tears of happiness filled Dean’s eyes with the piper playing his favorite songs in his honour. From all of your friends, may you have a whole year of everything that brings you joy. • online soon :


Autumn South Asian Holidays at a Glance by Kula Kulasegaram , Community Support Coordinator Ramadan or Ramazan (Muslim) takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, the month in which the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. All Muslims who are physically able fast from dawn to sunset and pray to foster patience, sacrifice and humility, in addition to purifying oneself from sins and practicing good deeds. From September 1 to 30, 2008. Ananta Chaturdasi (Jainist, Hindu) is characterized by fasting, worshiping, meditation and confession. For Jainists, it is regarded as the holiest period of the year and dedicated to the “Ten Virtues” (forgiveness, candor, contentment, truthfulness, self-control, penance, renunciation, non-possession, and chastity). For Hindus, the celebration involves processions of singing and dancing in worship of Lord Ganesha, as devotees, with their idols, make their way to nearby waterfronts. On September 14th, 2008. Navaratri (Hindu), literally meaning “nine days” in Sanskrit, is a nine-day festival of worship and dance honouring victory over evil. It is celebrated in different styles throughout India. Some celebrations include the worship of the three divine goddesses, Saraswati (learning and speech), Lakshmi (wealth and prosperity), and Durga (strength and courage). Celebrated on September 30th, 2008. Eid ul-Fitr (Muslim) marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid means “festivity” in Arabic and ul-Fitr means “break the fast”. It is a three-day celebration during which followers recite and repeat the phrase Allāhu Akbar (“God is great” or “God is the greatest”). Celebrated on October 1, 2008 (North America). Pavarana (Buddhist) falls on the full moon of the eleventh lunar month, which usually occurs in October. It marks the end of the rainy season in many Asian countries and is held after a 3-month retreat that is observed yearly by Buddhist monks and nuns. Pavarana literally means “inviting admonition or inviting others to advise one”. On October 15th, 2008. Diwali or Deepavali (Buddhist, Hindu) is a significant festival from which many legends have been born. It is currently celebrated with a “Festival of Lights” in which people of all ages light lamps


which symbolize personal victory over evil. The lighting of the lamps serves as homage to god for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace, courage and fame. Celebrated on October 27 (Sri Lanka), October 28 (South India) or October 29 (North India). Mahavira Nirvana (Jainist) is popularly known as Deepavali, “Festival of Light”, first mentioned as the date of the sage Lord Mahavira’s nirvana. For Jainists, the year begins with Moksha, Mahavira’s attainment of final enlightment and release). In this celebration lamps are used to symbolize the light of knowledge. Celebrated on October 28, 2008. Skanda Shashti Vratham (Hindu) is a six-day fasting that commemorates the destruction of evil by the Lord Murugan (Subramanya), who is the second son of Lord Siva. It is celebrated with the dramatic enactment of Soora Samhaaram. From October 29 to November 3, 2008 (period of fasting). Bandi Chhor Divas (Sikh) commemorates the 1619 release Guru Harobind from his imprisonment in Gwalior Fort by the Mughal emperor. The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India was illuminated with many lights in celebration of the occasion, and Sikhs have continued this annual tradition with lamps being lit outside temples (“gurdwaras”); sweets are distributed to all. The largest gathering happens at The Golden Temple which is lit up with thousands of lights.

Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

Settling in to York Region with the Help of Community Living York South by Elaya Nagulan


my name is Elaya Nagulan and I am the father of two children. My oldest son has special needs and his name is Vithushan.

I have lived in Maple for 3 years, but didn’t feel settled because I didn’t have any services or programs for my son Vithushan. I felt I didn’t know where to start until I got the information about Community Living York South from my child’s school. I am very happy I was put in touch with the Tamil-speaking staff at Community Living York South. She came to our home and did an assessment and intake. She explained the programs and services provided by Community Living York South, and about services around York Region for kids with special needs. That same day, my son was referred to York Support Services Network (YSSN) and the Community Needs List. She helped us fill out applications for Special Services at Home (SSAH) and Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD). Today my son is receiving ACSD funding and is on the waiting list for SSAH. We also received a free computer for my son through the

President’s Choice Children Charity, as well as an Access to Entertainment Card from Easter Seals Canada to take my son to the movies. This summer my son attended Community Living’s summer camp and he is now registered for the Saturday Kid’s Club on weekends. Now, we are connected with respite workers to receive in-home and out-of-home respite for my son. I have also referred another Tamil family to Community Living York South, and I am willing and excited to network with more families to share my experience and success. I want to help and I know there are more families out there in need of more support. I feel more settled now with the help of the Tamil-speaking staff at Community Living York South. Thank you Community Living. For more information on applying to/for: President’s Choice Children Charity, visit Access to Entertainment Card, visit

Character Community Day at Hillcrest Mall

Day of Caring with PowerStream

by Pamela Singleton, Team Supervisor

by Pamela Singleton, Team Supervisor


n October 28, 2008, team members and a self advocate from Community Living York South participated in The 5th Annual Character Community Day. In addition to having the opportunity to exhibit and display î Pamela, Carmen, Kim Community Living York South’s supports and services, Mayor Dave Barrow and other members of the Town of Richmond Hill Council welcomed and officially recognized all of the Character Community organizations across York Region. Professional singer, Errol Lee, and his troupe celebrated the event with song, dance and a message about honesty, empathy, respect and optimism and was well received by everyone in attendance. A sincere thank you to Carmen Kosem and Kim Dickinson for their participation in this event on behalf of Community Living York South.


n October 2, 2008, nine volunteers from PowerStream spent a festive morning diligently wrapping presents, eagerly preparing crafts and persistently assembling over 500 bags of crayons for Community Living York South’s Christmas holiday events. Bill Schmidt from PowerStream inspired his team to create “decorative genius” in cooperation with his other team members and people supported by Community Living York South. “A Day of Caring” is made possible every May and October in cooperation with the United Way of York Region. A sincere thanks to Bill and his team from PowerStream. Thanks also to the Community Living group—Kitty Fung, Anita Kumar, Fred Marcussen, Silvia De Abreu, Linda Underwood, and Ron Gumbs—for helping out with their support and participation. • online soon :


Everyone is a Winner Christmas Card

Contest Winners!

Lory Bonotto • 1st Place Lory enjoys doing art – painting and the use of other mediums. She also performs in theatres with her acting and dancing. She has a wonderful sense of humour and has great rhythm. Her favorite thing to do is to dance.

Emilio Paternostro • 2nd Place Emilio has recently joined the Creative Theatre Workshop group and enjoys art classes. He likes playing video games, watching wrestling and hopes one day to get a job.

A Budding New Artist Vlado Lebar • Honourable Mention


ello, my name is Vlado Lebar and I live in Stouffville. I share my home with four others who have become some of my closest friends, Katherine-Ann, Debbie, Monica and Dayle. I receive support from the wonderful staff of Community Living York South and came into service in July of 1995. Because of my friends and surroundings, I have really developed an artistic nature and a increased love of music and the arts. One of my favourite hobbies always has been listening to music. Julie Andrews is one of my favourite musical artists, especially when she is singing the music to “The Sound of Music” and “Mary Poppins”. I also enjoy the classical sounds of Josh Groban and recently discovered a new found love for country music. Other past times include long walks with my Mom and Dad. I really love to stroll with them and hear the sounds of nature, and in particular, the sounds of birds chirping and the leaves rustling. Fall is one of my favourite seasons of the year. While doing this art project for Community Living’s ‘Art Contest’, I discovered a new passion or hobby in painting. The feel of the paints on my fingers accompanied with classical music really inspired my creation. I am hoping that you will enjoy it as well.


Adriano Curatolo • 3nd Place Adriano loves doing art and participating in the Creative Theatre Workshop theatre group. He likes to have artistic input with his great ideas. Adriano also likes to go to the bowling alley with his friends.

Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

by Brenda Crouse


hanks to everyone who entered this year’s Christmas Card Art Contest for 2008. There were so many wonderful entries! Congratulations to the first place prize winner, Lory Bonotto with the ‘Dove of Peace’ for a prize of $200; two 2nd prize winners: Neal Gatten with her creative ‘Teddy Bear Wreath’ and ‘Under the Tree’ submitted by Emilio Paternostro for a $100 prize winning each; and two 3rd prize winners: Adriano Curatolo’s ‘Snowmen’ and

Marco Rotolo’s abstract ‘Christmas Trees’ for $50 each. Other entries deserve an honourable mention, both with the peace theme incorporated: Caroline Seed with a beautiful ‘Seasons’ painting and Shahid Butt with his interpretation for the ‘Celebration of Diversity.’ And of course, Vlado Lebar with his colourful abstract. All three entries will have their paintings placed on Community Living’s ‘All-Occasion Cards’ and will receive a monetary reward for their contributions.

Congratulations to all!

Relaxing Times Neal Gatten • 2nd Place


y name is Neal. I am supported by the Supported Independent Living program with Community Living York South. I love animals and have an aquarium with 2 goldfish, Bubbles and Bob. I would like to someday have a kitten as well. I do volunteer work at Treasures in Richmond Hill. I have a new boss whose name is Greg and he is nice. I put price tags on merchandise, straighten and fold clothes. I decorate my apartment for the holidays. I make holiday wreaths. I like all of them the same. I love doing arts & crafts. I am also a member of the Elvis Fan Club. I am going to an Elvis concert for the first time and am looking forward to it. I love to bowl and have won 4 to 5 medals with Special Olympics Ontario. I get my exercise walking in the mornings and sometimes in the evenings. I like to watch CSI and cooking shows on TV for relaxation. I like the staff at Community Living and I LOVE to go there for scrapbooking—it is relaxing!

Shahid Butt • Honourable Mention

Caroline Seed • Honourable Mention

Shahid has been with Community Living for 9 years. He is a ladies man and is very respectful. He believes in equality of all people to be independent.

Caroline is 27 years old and enjoys hip-hop dancing, acting, working on computers and watching TV at home. She can’t wait for Christmas to come.

Marco Rotolo • 3nd Place Marco enjoys art classes at Stroke of Art in Vaughan. Marco has had his art work displayed at the Vaughan Civic Centre as part of last year’s Character Community Awareness week. • online soon :


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Update is published by Community Living York South 101 Edward Avenue Richmond Hill, ON  L4C 5E5

Opinions expressed in Update are not necessarily the views of Community Living York South or the editors.

of York Region

Louis Laskovski (President) Wayne Maxwell (Treasurer) Phil Lanzarotta (Past President) Claudio Battaglin (1st Vice President) Peter Sen (2nd Vice President)

Cristian Mandachescu (Board Secretary) Lloyd Chafe Mariana Chu Mazahair Dhirani Shirley Ho

Ed Law Alex Lee Brendon Pooran Vera Power Subhash Sharma Janet Tsao

We receive 80% of our funding from the Ministry of Community and Social Services for our core services. Through grants, fundraising and our membership, we are able to provide community outreach. From the United Way of York Region we provide outreach through our Community Support program and community development and fundraising through the Trillium Foundation of Ontario. We are governed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership. Noi riceviamo l’ 80% dei fondi dal Ministro della communita’ e dal servizio sociali per i vostri servizi principali. Attraserso varie sovvenzione, i dovatori, varie fondi racolti e i nostri membri, possiamo attendate le provesioni alla conimunita’. Da Unita Way di York Regimi, siamo in grado di provvedere l’attentavtivo della programma supporto della communita’ e di svillupare and racolti fondi dat Trillium Foundation di Ontario. La nostra coumita’ e’ governata da un comitarto di direttori eletti dai membri.


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Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

Update Newsletter | Fall 2008  

In this issue: Toll-free Community Information Line Launch; UWYR’s 2008 Campaign; “Harvest and Haunts” Hallowed Eve; Autumn South Asian Holi...

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