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


Toskan Casale Foundation and the “Youth and Philanthropy Initiative” (YPI)


by Jeremy Leung and Milton (WH) Chan, Grade 10 Students Crescent School, Toronto, Grade 10 - It was our greatest pleasure to inform Community Living York South that our presentation of your organization has won a $5,000 donation for your charity group. My partner, Milton, and I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to you and your organization for your full support in the above project. I started volunteering in your (respite) camps in Grade 8. The opportunity to work with individuals with an intellectual disability has made a profound impact on my life. Each year I kept going back to your camp (winter and summer) and brought along my school friends to volunteer. The connection with this population has broadened our vision and passion for the individuals in your group. When we were assigned the school project, Milton and I knew exactly that your organization was the one that we wanted to present. There were 2 rounds of competitions; the first round was within our class. The 4 finalists presented in front of a panel of 8 judges. We were so thankful that Anita Leung agreed to meet with us on such short

notice and off hours. Community Living’s prompt response, detailed answers to all of our questions through numerous exchanges of emails, and the referral to Raymond S. and his father added colour and richness to our presentation. Their testimony and unique story was revealed through our YouTube video for Community Living York South. Milton and I are very touched by the enthusiasm of your organization; we felt the urge when you told us your organization’s need. It is our honor to work with Anita and your organization. I just want to let you know, it does not end here, my younger brother is impressed by the fact that we can do something for the community and he is asking his friends to donate to your organization instead of sending presents to his birthday party. In the end, we want to thank you once again for your full support and look forward to working with you again. More about YPI on Page 7

One-stop Shopping for Families of York South! by Sarita Wiggan, Community Support Coordinator In early January, Community Living York South unofficially launched a toll-free phone number for general inquiries from families connected with the Association as well as members of the community seeking to access information about Community Living York South and/or Southern York Region programs and services. Between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, callers of 1-877-737-3475 are connected with a live attendant. After See Toll-Free on Page 

insiDe THIS ISSUE Strategic Planning Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12–13

54th Annual General Meeting & Family BBQ . . . . 5

In Memoriam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Community Living Month 2008 . . . 16–17 President’s Report . . . 2 Weekend Respite . Details . . . . . . . 18–19

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 Strategic Plan I am pleased to report that Community Living York South is now finalizing its new 3-year strategic plan. The strategic planning process began late last year when the Board of Directors approved the engagement of David Sheridan of Shercon Associates Inc. to assist the association in the development of a work plan for the strategic planning process from which we could prepare our new Strategic Plan for 2008 to 2012. David’s wealth of experience and expertise in the development of strategic plans has proved to be an invaluable resource to the association and, on behalf of Community Living, I would like to thank David Sheridan for all his assistance throughout the process. Many of you were personally involved with the strategic planning process which included input from all of our stakehold-

Executive Director’s Report Don Wilkinson, Executive Director Bill 77 - Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act The government of Ontario tabled legislation on May 15, 2008 to replace the Developmental Services Act. If passed, Bill 77, or the act referred to as Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act 2008, will replace the Developmental Services Act, now 35 years old. The new bill would provide the government with the framework to make changes for people who have an intellectual disability to access supports and give the province the authority to provide direct funding to individuals through community agencies such as Community Living York South or through a local access centre. The government will create new access centres throughout the province of Ontario at an unknown cost to ensure that all people who have an intellectual disability have access to a fair, equitable and flexible system.

ers including staff, families and members of the association, our community partners, the board of directors, volunteers and the individuals we support. Your input, whether through the interview process, completing questionnaires, being involved in one of the many focus groups or participating in the strategic planning day, has helped shape what will become our new strategic plan. I was pleased to see the wonderful exchange of ideas and dialogue emerging throughout the process and particularly on our actual strategic planning day held on Saturday, May 3rd. It was also terrific to see how much consensus there was amongst all of the stakeholders on the direction that the Association will take given the many opportunities we have and in light of the challenges we face in achieving them. Thanks to all who participated in what I believe was an extremely successful strategic planning process. I look forward to working together with all of you in having the association realize all the goals set out in our new strategic plan. The Annual General Meeting It was wonderful to see such a great turnout for this year’s AGM and Family BBQ. Once the Auditor’s Report was shared with the See President on Page 

These access centres, similar to Community Care Access Centres for seniors, are often referred to as one-stop service centres and will be located in each region of the province. They would determine if people are eligible for service and will access people’s service needs according to an assessment tool. The assessment tool being used is the Support Intensity Scale from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The person’s score on this assessment would then determine the financial allocation the person would receive for day or residential supports. After the assessment is complete individuals would be placed on waiting lists for services and would be eligible for case management support. In the Region of York, the common access centre has been York Support Services Network. York Support Services Network and the York Region Planning Group (composed of agency representatives operating programs in York Region) have collaboratively worked together to manage access and determine allocation of funding and vacancies for the Ministry of Community and Social Services for the past 30 years. In York Region, 401 adults are waiting for day programs, 455 adults for residential supports and for case management support. Eighty-eight individuals graduated from school in June 2008 and See EXECUTIVE Director on Page 

Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

Doug Cronin: A Treasured Board Member Retires by Steve Klein, Director of Finance


oug’s background and experience as a Certified General Accountant was one of the criteria the Association was looking for in 2003 when a board vacancy needed to be filled. At that point Doug had spent one year on our internal Resource Review Committee and had become familiar with the Association’s homes, programs and its financial picture. With his knowledge and background Doug was a prime candidate for the Nomination Committee and, ultimately, was elected to his first three-year term in June 2002 and his second three-year term in June 2005. The Board of Directors were so confident in Doug’s abilities that they elected him as Treasurer every year for his entire 6 years on the board! Not only has Doug been an incredible asset to the board, but to the entire Association as a whole. It has been a pleasure getting to know him as a person. With his wonderful sense of humor and his laid back approach… he just seems to take it all in his stride! It is with sadness that we say goodbye to Doug upon his retirement as Treasurer and member of the Board and Resource Review Committee. We wish him and his wife, Shirley, all the very best in their new life up north. The couple are moving to cottage country where Doug can be the avid sportsman and boater that he is now – but on a full-time basis.

Congratulations to Our Staff! by Debbie Lewis, Director of Services At this year’s Annual General Meeting, 19 Community Living York South staff members were honoured for their years of service to the Association. Our staff received recognition for their significant contribution to the Association and people who receive support. Our many thanks to all for their years of dedication and service and our hope for many more successful years with us!

Staff Service Awards

Years of Service

Estrelita Abellon

5 years

Maurine Campbell

5 years

Maria Datol-Bello

5 years

Silvia De Abreu

15 years

Community Livings Launch New Look

Donna Fraser

5 years

Enilda Goncalves

5 years

by Brenda Crouse, Director of Community Development

Kelly Heimbecker

10 years

Community Livings across the province will be launching a new and improved logo and website as part of a re-branding initiative through Community Living Ontario. You may have already noticed an updated look to our logo. Community Livings across the province will be adopting a conversion of our old logo with two new and vibrant colours of blue and green. Our new logo starts with ‘Community Living,’ our name, and our address of ‘York South’, with the starburst symbol now following at left of the logo. Many people have described the logo as having many different symbolic images such as a sunburst representing different aspects of living in the community: home, friendships, work, school and recreation. Others feel the starburst represents hope, an emission of energy and an illumination of possibilities. In fact, the symbol is an abstract design. Its shape and “flow” are intended to convey a sense of vibrancy, movement and progression, in the same way that the Association and its people strive for inclusion and for community living for all. Community Living York South is still in the early stages of launching our new website. We will soon be rolling out our new design and adding more features over time. We encourage your feedback as we do so. ‘Members Only’ will be a feature of our website in order to provide up-to-date information to the membership of Community Living York South as well as a Message Board for families to connect or find help to solve a problem. Share this feature with your members, families, volunteers, and other contacts.

Sandra Henderson

10 years • online soon :

Dianne Hope

5 years

Dave Johnston

5 years

Wendy Ann Lonsdale

15 years

Lidia Martins-Rosati,

5 years

Fatemeh Najibzadeh

5 years

Tracy Paiva Jacqueline Palmer

10 years 5 years

Doug Parks

15 years

Karen Penton

20 years

Rahe Richards

20 years

Trudy Stephens

5 years

President  Continued from Page 

EXECUTIVE Director  Continued from Page 

membership and the election held for members of the Board, Debbie Lewis, Director of Services and Acting Executive Director, presented the results from our Strategic Planning Day. Community Living York South was honoured to have Dr. Charles Price, Pastor for the People’s Church, to swear in our Board of Directors again this year. On behalf of the Board, I would like to welcome all of our newest board representatives and look forward to our work together as we move forward with our new Strategic Plan and our accomplishments over the upcoming year. Kelly Forster, our Program Supervisor from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, was also in attendance and we were pleased that she was available to meet some of the Board Members and membership. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the staff for all of their hard work to make this year’s Family BBQ a hit. I would also like to extend our congratulations to all of the staff who celebrated and received their Staff Service Awards – from 5 years up to 20 years of service. Thank you for your years of dedication to the families and people we support. I want to wish everyone a safe and happy summer and look forward to seeing all of you in the fall.

have joined the people already waiting for day supports. These access centres are the government’s first step in Transforming Supports in Ontario for People who have a Developmental Disability. Community Living York South acknowledges the government’s initiative to strengthen services for people with an intellectual disability. The government is on target to close the three remaining facilities by March 2009, set up four community centres for individuals who have specialized care needs, expand Special Services at Home and have started the process of aligning salary levels in the developmental services field with other jobs in the social services field. The Lazy Days of Summer Spring has quickly passed and summer almost over. This summer I have taken a personal leave knowing that Community Living York South will continue with the mission of the Association because of the strong support teams that we have in place. To the staff of Community Living York South, thank you for your uncompromising support, care and advocacy for the people supported by the association. To our funders - the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the staff of the central east office, the United Way of York Region, Human Resources and Development Canada, The Trillium Foundation and all of our donors - thank you for your continued support of the organization’s work. To all the Board Members, thank you for your support and dedication to the work of Community Living York South. I want to extend our thanks to all of the volunteers, family members and community partners that work side by side with Community Living York South to make a difference in our community. And to the people supported by the Association: Thank you for inspiring us every day through your courage, perseverance and hope for an inclusive community. I hope that you will all have a wonderful summer and I look forward to seeing each of you upon my return in the fall.

Toll-Free  Continued from Page  hours, or when the attendant is not available, those seeking information can leave a voice-mail message with their contact information and inquiry for a follow-up call or email – whatever your preference! Popular questions include inquiries about funding, respite opportunities and available recreation programs or more info on our Community Support outreach program and initial intake for our services. The line serves also for general inquiries about Community Living York South. Those wishing to become a member or volunteer with the Association can also access the toll free number on how to get involved. The service’s official launch of the toll-free number is slated for September 2008. Look for your invitation in the mail over the next month.

Register now. For more info: 1-877-737-3475 Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

54th Annual General Meeting & Family BBQ by Sandy Fielding, Senior Secretary


t 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17th, Community Living York South opened its doors to approximately 340 people, which included 44 members, the people we support and their families, staff and guests for an evening of business and family enjoyment. Dr. Charles Price (photo top right) from the Peoples Church, which draws a weekly congregation of around 3,500 people, was very kind in accepting our invitation for the second year in a row to attend our event specifically to install our Board of Directors for the upcoming year and of course, to join everyone at the barbecue. Dr. Price is well known across Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and India, and was very kind to mention, during a speech, his special friend Tom (supported by the Association) who was thrilled to see Dr. Price at Community Living York South! Business was conducted in the usual fashion, along with the elections of the board candidates to fill the positions of outgoing members Doug Cronin (story on page 3), Alexandra MacChione, Ramalingam Rajadurai, and Sharron Rowan Toy. We are very happy to announce our four new board directors for 2008/2009. Congratulations and welcome aboard to Mariana Chu, Mazahair Dhirani, Subhash Sharma, and Janet Tsao. A special thank you to Kelly Forster, Community Living York

South’s Program Supervisor with the Ministry of Community & Social Services for taking time out of her hectic schedule to join us for the business meeting. Unfortunately Kelly had to forego the barbecue as duty called her away. Our barbecue this year was served up hot and delicious, compliments of Peter Anthos, “Fire It Up” BBQ Catering, located locally in Richmond Hill. Peter and his wonderful staff team served up some delicious hot dogs, hamburgers, Halal, veggie dogs and burgers with all the trimmings, including a few salads and lots of cold drinks. Desserts were compliments of Starbucks and the staff and individuals supported in our residential homes. It was a cool, breezy evening but the rain held off during dinner and the Vision Connections band played on. Following the barbecue staff service awards were presented for nineteen of our dedicated staff who reached a milestone in their career at Community Living York South. Awards were given out for five, ten, fifteen and twenty years of service. Congratulations to all for your years of service in support of the people who have an intellectual disability! Another Annual General Meeting & Family BBQ to go in the history books! Thank you to all who attended. We hope to see you again next June. • online soon :

“I am a Woman who has an Intellectual Disability” You see my disability, if you see me at all. You do not hear me, especially if I do not have a voice for you to hear or others always speak on my behalf and without my consent. You do not give me a chance, for fear that I will fail. You do not want to touch me for fear that my disability may be contagious. You do not want to love me because you think I do not feel love as you do. See my abilities and not my disabilities alone. I have a voice if you will listen, something to say if you listen to my body language, the sounds I am able to make – I will let you know how I feel. I have a great deal to offer you – friendship, love and acceptance, if you would just reach out to me and allow me into your inner circle. I can learn, if you give me the opportunity. I am a sexual being with all of the hopes and aspirations for a full life – the same dreams as you. See me for my similarities to you and not in our differences. I have so much to offer you, if you would only look my way. I have untapped potential, with skills and abilities if you would give me an opportunity to show you. I am a voter, a contributor to society, an untapped resource. One day my voice will be joined with all women with an intellectual disability and with the voices of women of other disability groups – for they too will accept me into their fold. I will take my rightful place in society, not as vulnerable person, but as part of a strong minority group. You will see, hear and recognize me - because I do have a voice with something to say and will not be overlooked. Written for a Round Table Discussion on issues facing women and organized by Susan Kadis, MP for Thornhill.

National Liberal Women’s Caucus Seeks Issues for Women by Brenda Crouse, Director of Community Development Thornhill- On June 5, I attended a Round Table Discussion at the Heintzman House in Thornhill on issues of importance to women and their families. The discussion was initiated by Susan Kadis, Member of Parliament, M.P. for Thornhill with representatives from many diverse organizations across the region. Community Living York South was invited as part of a series of round table sessions being organized in communities across the country. The Honourable Diane Marleau, Chair of Women’s Caucus and Member of Parliament for Sudbury, was requested by Liberal Leader, Mr. Stephane Dion to speak with women about their priorities and to inform them about Liberal policies that impact their lives. The Pink Book: A Policy Framework for Canada’s Future, Volume 1 and 2, was developed by the National Liberal Women’s Caucus in conjunction with women’s organizations to determine policy priorities. Some of the issues being addressed by the Liberals are outlined in their Executive Summary – the Environment, Early Learning and Child Care, Poverty/Child Poverty, Issues for Seniors including the Guaranteed Income Supplement and “Women’s Issues” for Gender Equality. Other issues raised by various organizations at our Round Table in Thornhill included the abuse of women and homelessness/having nowhere to go in an abusive situation with limited finances and limited assistance from legal aid; affordable housing for single-parent families, seniors and people with disabilities; issues facing newcomers in employment and the lack of recognition for their formal training in country of origin; issues surrounding grandparents raising their grandchildren because both parents are holding down 2 jobs; other issues for seniors including living below the low-income threshold and limited assistance for them to remain in their homes; gender equality with recognition for equality for all citizens and the diversity of our communities; the right to choose natural and homeopathic alternatives with a more proactive approach in our health care system to pharmacological interventions; Bill 77 Legislation and recognition at the federal level of the challenges and issues facing people with an intellectual disability for the availability, accessibility, and affordability of services; and many more discussions including women’s views on defence and not just the ‘soft issues’ that are typically determined as just ‘women’s issues’. After the meeting, I was able to forward my discussion notes onto Ms. Susan Kadis, M.P. Community Living York South also has agreed to continue to keep her office informed about the public hearings and feedback surrounding Bill 77 and the discussions with many groups including the Provincial Executive Directors Coordinating Group, the Provincial Network on Developmental Disabilities, The Individualized Funding Coalition of Ontario and an ad hoc group of advocates from around the province that have agreed to meet to discuss the legislation. Our thanks to Susan Kadis for providing us an opportunity to share our experiences.

Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) by Anita Leung, Community Support Coordinator


hen Jeremy Leung and Milton Chan started volunteering at Community Living York South, little did they know that they could help Community Living York South to be a recipient of $5000 from the Toskan Casale Foundation in June 2008. The Toskan Casale Foundation launched the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative in 2002. It is a program that will help young people in our communities harness their creative and philanthropic energies, become active agents of positive change, and prepare for community leadership through education and practical experience. The objective of the program is to prepare youth to effectively change their world – starting now, starting with their own surroundings and communities. YPI was created to be a unique and innovative approach geared to high school students in Grades 9 and 10. Based on a curriculum prepared by a noted educator and provided to schools free of charge by the Toskan Casale Foundation, students will learn the fundamentals of philanthropy. Jeremy has been a long time volunteer with Community Living York South dating back to 2006. He helped out at May Day, Walkathon and summer camps. Therefore, when he and Milton were to choose one charity within the social service sector, their hearts already belonged to Community Living York South. They prepared

a proposal to request for funding. Using presentation skills, Jeremy and Milton introduced Community Living to their own class. Their proposal was selected to represent their class in a subsequent intramural competition. The final element in the complete program had each class team presenting proposals on the charities they were championing to an independent judging panel. Then as Jeremy and Milton were one of these finalist teams, Community Living York South received $5,000 from the Toskan Casale Foundation. A big thank you to our volunteers, Jeremy and Milton!

Look What’s ‘Cool’ in Vaughan by Kyla Dover and Marco Rotolo


he Vaughan Day Program (VDP) has recently partnered with Operation Springboard’s exciting and unique Cool Factor program. Cool Factor (Anger Management E-Learning) is a 6 week computer program, with topics including arousal reduction skills, cognitive restructuring, behavioural/social skills and relapse prevention. The program is delivered through an interactive computer program that incorporates text, voice, video and interactive exercises/games and the process of each individual is tracked and given to all people participating. “I like the program, its fun and teaching me how to calm down,” states Marco Rotolo, a participant in the program. Everyone participating appears to be enjoying their experience with Cool Factor while gaining various tools to deal with feelings of frustration and anger. As support staff, we are going to be able to incorporate what the group is learning into their day to day activities. Our sincerest thank you to Liz Igoe, Kim Sikkema, and Stacey Bowman of Operation Springboard, for allowing us the opportunity to join their Cool Factor program and for their time and patience.

Station Creek Golf Course by Kyla Dover and Marco Renda


he Vaughan Day Program was hired by Station Creek Golf course in Gormley to set up the banquet halls for weddings, corporate events and tournaments. Everyone enjoys working with the staff and the variety of duties. Marco Renda says, “I enjoy setting the tables and I like working.” Some of the responsibilities include setting up tables, chairs, linens, and place settings, polishing silverware and folding napkins. The money earned will go towards the group’s trip to the Stratford Theatre Festival in the fall. • online soon :

An Unusual Day at the ROM

“We can only try our best and God will handle the rest” by Peter Sen, 2nd Vice President of Community Living York South


y younger son, Jonathan, has three major challenges. He hates ‘Autism’, apparently, because he thinks that daddy is giving too much attention to his elder brother Raymond, who has severe Autism. Added to this, my wife died five years ago of cancer and I was not able to pay much attention to him. Jonathan also has a lot of questions about his identity as a Chinese person which is also a common issue for many Chinese Canadians. He does not understand that people from different cultural backgrounds can contribute to the community. Lastly, he finds it hard to be a Christian, to be honest and helpful to people, because of the life circumstances that he was put into. These challenges bother Jonathan and I all the time. One afternoon, an opportunity presented itself. I received an invitation from Catherine Frazee, a professor at Ryerson, to attend a closing ceremony of the Disabilities Exhibition – “Out from Under: Disability History and Things to Remember”, held on July 11 at the Royal Ontario Museum. The exhibits were put together by the Ryerson University School of Disability Studies. It is the first exhibit of its kind in Canada to explore the history of Canadians who have a disability. In the beginning, I turned down the invitation because I was thinking of bringing Raymond to the exhibit and I knew that it could be a big challenge. After finding more about the exhibition and the time schedule I thought that it could be an educational tour for Jonathan. So I accepted the invitation. I had almost turned away a God-given opportunity. The Exhibition was great. By touring the exhibition before the ceremony, Jonathan learned the history of people who have an intellectual disability in Canada. We learned that people with disabilities should also have their rights. Jonathan learned that his brother Raymond should actually be respected by others. The closing ceremony was attended by a hundred people. Jonathan and I had the opportunity to speak on stage and light a candle. We chose to present a Bible verse from John 9:3 which said that it is not a sin to have a disability. Jonathan once again found Jesus is always by his side. We also identified ourselves as Chinese by saying one sentence in Chinese at the end of our presentation. Jonathan was trying hard to learn that sentence. I have never seen the level of self acceptance that he had. The following is what we said: “Jesus told people with disabilities that ‘neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life’”. We will remember this. 我們會記得這句話. This gave me an opportunity to go out with Jonathan on a oneon-one basis. This is something that many families, without a son

(or daughter) who have a disability, can do… but for us it is not as easy. On our way to the ROM, we stopped by the McDonalds just across the street for lunch. That was the McDonalds that I hung out at with my girl friends 27 years ago when I was studying MBA at University of Toronto. After all these years of working around the world, after leaving school, I came back to the same spot. The McDonalds was the same. We sat at the same table on the second floor. The difference is that this time I was with Jonathan, my son. I told him all about school and the McDonalds and everything then. It was like traveling through a time tunnel. Jonathan appreciated seeing and hearing the history of my life so much. When I was at school we thought that we were the most intelligent people in the whole world. The word “disabilities” was never in the vocabulary. Suddenly, I heard a familiar voice from the next table. It was from Alex, our friend with an intellectual disability. People who have an intellectual disability play a major part in my life. The trip to the ROM did help solve some of Jonathan’s challenges but more importantly, it brought us closer together. My goal is also to help people with intellectual disabilities. Jesus said that the presence of people who have a disability is to show the full picture of life. The author, Peter Sen is the second Vice President of Community Living York South, President of Heep Chi Association, active member at the Richmond Hill Chinese Community Church, a mortgage broker and a father.

Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

The Year of the Rat February 7, 2008 – January 25, 2009 By Anita Leung, Community Support Coordinator


hinese New Year is the most important traditional holiday celebrated by the Chinese worldwide. It is the first day of the Lunar calendar, so it is called the Lunar New Year. It is also referred to as the Spring Festival, since it is the beginning of the Spring term. Each year is named for an animal and 2008 is the Year of the Rat. Community Living York South celebrated Chinese New Year with Heep Chi Association with almost 100 people in attendance. A traditional Chinese buffet was served with a slide show of Chinese New Years cultural music and images to accompany dinner. Later, our keynote speaker for the evening, Brenda Crouse, Director of Community Development, provided an informative presentation on Community Living York South’s “Past, Present and Future in Service Excellence” with translation provided by Anita Leung, Community Support Coordinator. After the formal presentations were over, Sam Kan played some celebratory music for the new year celebration on the keyboard. Vision Quest day program put on skits, a fan dance and sang songs to the enjoyment of all who attended.

The Chi Ping Dance Group by Ester Ng, Residential Supervisor


ver the past few years, the four ladies, Sau Mei, Kitty, Wai Chung, and Lai Ching, who live on Brillinger Street, have enjoyed going to dance classes and performing, on many occasions, for Community Living York South as well as various community events. As part of the Chi Ping Dance Group, the ladies also participated in performances with the other dancers from their dance troupe. They have had opportunities to perform at such venues as a grand opening of a Taoist Centre in Orangeville, Canada Day’s event at the Scarborough Civic Centre and the Chi Ping Dance Group’s Annual Gala at the Markham Theatre. Thanks to their dance teacher who has put a lot of time and effort into teaching the four ladies. I know that the ladies are very proud of what they have accomplished over the past few years and their ongoing successes in their performances. Their support staff and families are also very proud of the accomplishments they have made throughout this time. The most important thing is that the ladies really enjoy their dancing! • online soon :

Peace Tree Day Celebration by Kula Kulasegaram, Community Support Coordinator Community Living York South partnered with the City of Vaughan to celebrate Peace Tree Day on Friday, May 30 at Thornhill Regional Park. Councilor Sandra Yeung-Racco organized a committee to initiate this event in the City of Vaughan with sponsorship by former M.P, Mario Racco and other corporate sponsors. June 1 has been declared as Peace Tree Day from an initiative led by Chief Armand La Barge after seeing a family film, entitled, “The Peace Tree” made in 2005. ‘The Peace Tree’ tells the story of two little girls, one Muslim and one Christian, who dream of celebrating each other’s festivals, Eid and Christmas. They meet with resistance from their families and through their struggles, they create a unique symbol – ‘The Peace Tree’, a tree that highlights the symbols from all of our cultures and faiths, reflecting the beauty of “diversity in unity”. Aiishwariya Haran, star of “The Peace Tree”, was at the event as one of the Master of Ceremonies and introduced The Creative Theatre Workshop who performed ‘The Electric Slide’ dance to the cheers of the audience. Over 25 schools, elementary and secondary schools came out to watch the entertainment put on by schools and organizations across Vaughan. Ritu Bhasin, Committee Member, Brenda Crouse, and myself handed out Com-

munity Living bookmarks and buttons to many children as well as Community Living’s translated info flyers to passers by at our display booth while Nisha Damani, our placement student from Seneca College, busily painted Henna art designs on over 60 elementary school kids at the Community Living booth! Peace Tree Day is an annual festival for children and families of every culture and faith, celebrating peace and diversity of our community. It is a time to interact, explore and experience all the vibrant colors of diversity while working together to create new peace initiatives in schools and communities. For more information, visit the website:

Want to connect with other parents? Join us at a parent gathering! Call 1-877-737-3475 for more information


Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

The 2008 Asian Health Fair and ‘Taste of Asia’ by Ritu Bhasin, Community Support Coordinator Community Living York South had the honor of establishing a partnership with the South Asian Health Coalition. The 2008 Asian Health Fair event was a result of the cooperation and collaboration of the Federation of Chinese Canadians in Markham, the Association of Progressive Muslims of Ontario and many ethno-cultural groups working together in mutual respect and harmony. This Coalition was formed with the mandate to provide all residents of York Region and the Greater Toronto Area with information to promote healthy lifestyles. The South Asian Health Coalition partnered with the “Taste of Asia” Street Festival 2008 to host this years’ Health Fair. On June 28th 2008 Community Living York South was highly involved as the newest partner to the Coalition. This event was held at the Market Village Shopping Centre in Markham and consisted of representation of a number of dignitaries and performances including our very own, the Creative Theatre Workshop, guest speakers promoting healthy living and about 35 social service agencies with a number of demos such as healthy cooking, Thai and Laughter Yoga. It was a huge success with thousands of people in attendance.

South Asian Heritage Day in Vaughan by Kula Kulasegaram, Community Support Coordinator


n May 3rd, 2008 Human Endeavour and Punjabi Community Health Centre collectively celebrated the South Asian Heritage Day and Awards Ceremony to recognize five individuals and five organizations that have made outstanding contributions to society. Awards were distributed by the Honorable Michael Chan, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, with many other dignitaries and community leaders in attendance. Dignitaries included the Honorable Jim Karygiannis, MP; Susan Kadis MP; Reza Moridi, MPP; Dr. Helena Jaczek, MPP; Mayor Linda Jackson of the City of Vaughan; Regional Councillors, Mario Ferri, Gino Rosati, Sandra Yeung-Racco, Tony Carella as well as Police Chief Armand La Barge, former MPP, Mario Racco, David Cohen – Councillor of Richmond Hill; Marlon Kallideen, Commissioner of Community Services, community service organizations and many others.

The event attracted more than 600 people from the Vaughan community and neighboring municipalities. Community Living York South had a display booth and distributed information on our services in 5 different South Asian languages. The following are the list of 2008 Recognition award recipients. Five Outstanding Organizations Community Home Assistance to Seniors (CHATS) for Best Partner and Best Organization Serving Seniors Diversity and Cultural Resources Bureau – York Regional Police for Promoting Diversity & Inclusivity Guru Gobind Singh Children’s Foundation for Helping Sick, Poor and Needy Kids The Region of Peel for Improving Accessibility Sur Sagar TV for Community Service through SSTV and Radio • online soon :


Strategic Planning Process




ommunity Living York South has completed a strategic planning process to review our progress and priorities from the previous Strategic Plan and establish future goals for the Association. The new strategic goals were developed with extensive stakeholder input. Planning steps included the following:

Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

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The project was initiated by the Community Living York South Board of Directors, the Executive Director and Dr. David Sheridan, in late 2007. An external consultant was recruited to facilitate the process and a project work plan was finalized in February 2008. In March 2008 a questionnaire was completed by 28 staff members. Questions addressed views of the agency, perceptions about significant external factors, feedback on programs and services and views on roles, priorities and future directions for the organization. Forty-two people receiving services completed a separate questionnaire covering similar topics. In April 2008 four community focus group sessions were held in Vaughan, Markham, Stouffville and Richmond Hill. A total of 65 participants attended, representing a cross section of self-advocates, family members, agency partners, staff, board and association members. The consultant also conducted telephone interviews with external stakeholders from other agencies, government and community groups. On Saturday, May 3, 2008, 76 internal and external stakeholders, parents, siblings, staff, people receiving support and community partners, participated in a strategic planning day at the Community Living York South offices in Richmond Hill. They reviewed the environmental scan data, finalized the agency “SWOT” analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), engaged in brainstorming activities and developed draft goals.

High Level Goals and Objectives The following high level goals and objectives were developed at the planning day and reviewed and refined by the board of directors. The goals preserve the existing service base of the organization and provide a new growth platform for an increased emphasis on services to individuals in the community. 1.0 Maintain Excellence in Direct Service Provision 1.1 Ensure ongoing quality improvement and innovation in client service. 1.2 Maximize utilization of existing facilities and equipment and obtain new physical resources as required. 1.3 Increase active participation in agency operations and decision making by individuals receiving services. 1.4 Establish links with businesses, municipalities, professionals and community groups for jobs, profile and funds.

2.0 Expand Support to the Community 2.1 Increase programs, supports and resources for individuals who live at home with their family. 2.2 Continually identify, monitor and address needs and gaps in services for other key communities and target groups. 2.3 Leverage community resources by establishing and strengthening partnerships with local agencies and service providers. 2.4 Mobilize and support stakeholder advocacy initiatives. 3.0 Raise the Profile of the Agency and its Stakeholders 3.1 Communicate information in a timely manner to families, individuals receiving services and the community. 3.2 Increase public awareness of Community Living York South services. 3.3 Reduce stigma through public education. 3.4 Participate in community initiatives and ensure representation on local committees and groups. 3.5 Develop a communication plan with regular media contact, a website, central access to information and regular newsletters. 4.0 Develop the Agency Resource Base 4.1 Provide clear opportunities for staff growth, development and mobility. 4.2 Increase non-government revenue and non-traditional funding sources. 4.3 Develop a staff and board succession plan. 4.4 Maximize the use of technology in communication and program delivery. 4.5 Grow the membership base of the organization. • A first draft of the strategic goals reflecting the environmental scanning data and stakeholder input was reviewed by the board of directors on May 15, 2008. Revisions were made and are reflected in this second draft. The board of directors reviewed the second draft of the strategic goals on June 12, 2008. The board has approved the strategic goals and the Community Living York South management team will work over the summer months to develop a detailed implementation plan. The management team will submit a draft plan to the board of directors in August 2008. • Once it is approved by our Board of Directors, the new Community Living York South Strategic Plan will be used to guide the agency’s decision making as it maintains its base of service excellence and grows in new areas. • online soon :


In Memoriam “Our Boy” Michael Merizalde

Bill Brown March 29, 1949 – January 15, 2008 by Pamela Singleton, Team Supervisor

May 19th, 1974 – June 11, 2008 by Vicki Clayson, Residential Supervisor (Excerpts taken from Michael Merizalde’s eulogy given by Vicki Clayson at his funeral held on Tuesday, June 17, 2008) ords that come to my mind when I think of Michael are “love and laughter”. Michael gave love and was loved. When I first started working at Blackforest many years ago, Michael would jump up swinging his arms and smiling when support staff entered the home. Michael had the ability to warm your heart and charm you from the first day that you met him. He certainly knew how to bat his eyes; and his beautiful long eyelashes added to the charm. Michael lived for a good time, not a long time, but quality of life and happiness is what matters. He liked to party, loved mischief and loved to challenge his staff. I think myself, Mike and a few other staff liked to get into mischief … that’s why we all got along so well. We dressed the g-tube feeding poles as scarecrows so we could scare staff, hiding trolls in cupboards, had water fights, food fights with evidence on the walls, dancing in Mike’s bed, loud rock and roll music, sneaking ice cream on top of his Eggo waffles at breakfast time are just a few of the things Mike liked to do for entertainment. Another hobby of Michael’s was flirting…and he had that down to a fine art. Mike always liked to carry something in his right hand. When we’d go to the store he’d throw it on the floor in front of a pretty girl. At this point support staff made sure they didn’t pick it up, allowing Mike to flirt with these pretty young ladies. His four best friends were Katie, Rita, Rosie and Marnie… girls again. Although, he liked to watch sports with his pals Alan, Patrick and Jeff. Corrine, Jeffrey, and Linda will miss Michael dearly. Not only was he their roommate but Michael was like a brother to them. For all the staff at Blackforest, Michael was part of our family. For some of us, he was like our son. Michael was so lucky to have two families who loved him so much. The Merizalde’s had so much love to share with Michael. Mr. and Mrs. Merizalde, also known as mama and papa bear, his two sisters, his brother, his nieces and nephew all brought so much happiness to Michael. Thank you for being so supportive over the long stay at the hospital. Thank you, Irma, for Michael’s final prayers in Spanish. There’s not a doubt in my mind that Michael could have possibly left this world without knowing how much he was loved. Thank you Michael for showing us the time of our lives; your memories will remain in our hearts forever.




ill Brown began to receive supports from Community Living York South in 1986. Initially, he lived at Centre Green until 1999, when he moved to Stouffville. Bill was a valued employee at Loblaws until 2001. In 2002, he moved to Aurora. Three years later, he moved elsewhere in Aurora so that he could receive necessary medical supports while still being close to his friends - especially his buddy, Vern. Bill will be remembered for his love of music, dancing and his captivating smile; he loved socializing with people. Bill passed away, peacefully, on January 15th, 2008. He will be fondly remembered by his friends, family, and his support staff at Community Living York South.

Gini Campagnolo January 4th 1955 – April 29th 2008 by Kelly Heimbecker, Team Supervisor


ini first entered our lives and hearts in 1986 when she was welcomed into the York South family. Some of our best memories of Gini are the way she would light up a room when she entered it and the way she always embraced each day to the fullest, always ready for a new adventure. Any one who knew Gini knew about her love for all animals. Gini’s life long dream was to adopt a dog when she retired. “Don Wilkinson is going to buy me a dog when I retire,” Gini would always say when she came into visit us at 101 Edward Avenue. Gini enjoyed doing puzzles, shopping, vacationing at the cottage and spending time with family and friends. She also enjoyed her volunteer work over the years at the humane society. Gini was loved by many people and she will never leave our hearts. Thank you Gini, for all you have given us and for sharing your many gifts with all that you came in contact with on a daily basis.

Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

Creating Silhouettes with Eli Lilly by Kyla Dover, Community Support Worker


he Creative Theatre Workshop (CTW) was very excited to take part in the Eli Lilly National Volunteer Day initiative on Thursday, May 8th. Volunteers from Eli Lilly came to Vaughan to work together with the CTW to create life size silhouettes of dancers to display on walls at community events. This is the third year that Eli Lilly has chosen Community Living York South as their agency of choice to volunteer their time and talents. Everyone had a great time and the day was a success. Shahid from the Creative Theatre Workshop said “The art pieces are phenomenal. We worked so hard. The volunteers had a lot of talent”. We would like to thank Eli Lilly for their support and Mirella and Dave from Stroke of Art for assisting us with our project. The art pieces are currently on display at the Vaughan Day Program at 136 Winges Road for all to see. Thank you Eli Lilly! We look forward to seeing you again next year.

Volunteer Day with Pickering College by The Passport Day Supports Team


n April 24, 2008, the Passport team was ready and willing to be paired up with a group of students from Pickering College for their annual “Volunteer Day” for the second year in a row. The plan was to hit up some hot spots in York Region to promote awareness about our agency and its programs, services and events. We all trekked though the hazy, heated streets of Main Street in Markham, as well as Centre Street and Yonge Street in Richmond Hill with smiles on our faces! “I had fun” said Kapil. It wasn’t long before the boys from Pickering College realized there as nothing to be shy about. They just followed our lead! Kelly said, “It was good! The boys are nice.” We all did a great job introducing ourselves to local store owners – most of whom were willing to put our flyers in their storefront windows. Many bystanders were curious about our presence in their community. We walked up to many of them, introduced ourselves and told them about all the exciting things going on at Community Living York South. Some of them provided us with donations. Hopefully, we made a positive and lasting impression on all that we met. Our great day ended with a thank you lunch at Pizza Hut, made possible by the Community Living, which everyone was happy about. We ate until our bellies hurt, then headed back to the Yonge Street office to say our goodbyes. Donovan stated, “The guys were all nice. I liked the dessert pizza”. We got a letter from the staff member, Pina, at Pickering College that coordinated the day with us. She said that the students really enjoyed spending time with us that day and we hope to see them again next year. • online soon :


Community Living Month | May 2008

Celebrating 10 Years of May Day in Stouffville by Silvia De Abreu, Team Supervisor


n Saturday, May 3rd, 2008, Community Living York South celebrated our tenth annual May Day celebration at Latchum Hall in Stouffville. Our growing understanding that all people deserve the opportunity to be fully included in all that their community has to offer because it belongs to all of us was definitely shown that day. Children, parents, people supported and their families, staff, volunteers, the Whitchurch-Stouffville Fire and Emergency services, and Mayor Wayne Emmerson of Stouffville helped to make this event an overwhelming success. The day was full of fun filled activities. We had our first teddy bear clinic where children gave their teddy bears a check up. Children also enjoyed the arts and crafts tables and they even got a coloring kit to take home. The artists from Bates Way program, Rick, Alison, Len, Kevin, Dale, Cecilia, Paul, and Bill displayed their paintings. The festivities would not be complete without the music, especially the old tunes, provided by Kevin Blomerley. The highlight of the afternoon was Repitilia where all the kids got to touch the beloved creatures including snakes, and crocodiles. Special thanks go to: the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 459, for their generous monetary donation; Margaret King, owner of the Tim Horton’s on Main Street, for the donation of coffee and supplies; Howard Cooper, owner of the McDonald’s on Sandiford, for providing the orange pop; Rob Shortis, Jon Moyer, and Mark Carroll from the fire department for barbequing in the pouring rain; Vanessa Anderson and Matthew Nighswander for being our Master’s of Ceremonies; Kevin Blomerly for being our DJ; Jaclyn Veres for her hip hop dance routine. A special thanks to all the staff who worked tirelessly before and during the event and for the staff who supported people so that they could come on the day. Book your calendars now for Saturday, May 2nd, 2009 at Latchum Hall as we celebrate our 11th annual May Day!


Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

Community Living Month | May 2008 Community Living

Day with the Blue Jays by Barb Evans, Blue Jays Fan


n Sunday May 4, 2008 I was fortunate to be able to attend the Blue Jays game. The game was selected so that my friend and I could receive the Aaron Hill ‘Bobblehead’, but we were given the added pleasure of being at Community Living Day. An announcement was made to turn our attention to the third base line for a special presentation. Guests were introduced, as was Paul Godfrey, President of the Blue Jays. Standing next to Paul was a gentleman introduced as Walter. Walter stood proudly as the fans observed the cheque presentation being given to the Jays Care Foundation. Walter was attentive to all of his surroundings. After the presentation, as fans were giving the group a standing ovation, Walter happily waved to us as he walked toward the Chicago White Sox dug out. As Walter and his group passed the opposing player’s bench, the third base coach for Chicago went to shake Walter’s hand and to give him a brief hug. Without speaking a word, we could tell that Walter was thrilled. Walter continued to wave to all of his fans until he lost sight of us. I next saw Walter on his way to the T.D. Comfort Zone green leather seats situated along the first base line of the playing field. He charmed the hostess in his section. She sat with Walter for several minutes. I went to the game so that I could get a free gift. Little did I know that the gift I remember most is the joy that Walter brought to us all through his actions. He didn’t need to say a word.

Walter Nicoli and His 15 Minutes of Fame by Pamela Singleton, Team Supervisor


n May 4th, 2008, Walter Nicoli had his 15 minutes of fame when he assisted with the Opening ceremonies and a cheque presentation at the Blue Jays vs. the White Sox game at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Walter was presented with this honour in place of throwing the first pitch of the season. Several weeks ago, Walter entered a contest with Community Living Ontario. He authored an essay as to why he was the #1 Blue Jays Fan. Although Walter was the contest winner, he graciously supported a representative from another company to make the pitch. Instead, he assisted with the cheque presentation as well as enjoying upgraded seats in the Comfort Zone. He was offered complimentary lunch, popcorn, peanuts, beverages and ice cream. At the end of the third inning, Walter was delighted to see himself on the big screen and waved to all of his friends and family. Walter is looking forward receiving his memorabilia from the Blue Jays and would also like to extend his appreciation to the team for this awesome experience: “Go Jays Go!”

Day at the Legislature by Doug Parks, Team Manager


delegation from Community Living York South attended Community Living Day at the Ontario Legislature on May 17, 2008. Our Self Advocates Council members, Lloyd Chafe, President; Kevin Greenfield, Vice President; Hannele Cormier, Pat McKay, Brian Murphy, Robert Murphy and Debbie Sakaguchi were accompanied by Community Living support staff of Karin Epp, Community Support Worker and Fatima Najibzadeh, Residential Supervisor, SIL Markham to the Day at the Legislature. • online soon :


What’s New with Weekend Respite by Sarita Wiggan, Community Support Coordinator


e are proud that the weekend respite program offered through Community Living York South is the only one of its kind in York Region. Participants and their families receive three days of relief (from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon) in which the participants are engaged in community-based programs that build and reinforce skills for independent living skills. Beginning last year, Community Living York South began this new and improved program at an apartment in Richmond Hill. Since then, over 63 people have spent the weekend, enjoying all the activities that they are interested in doing. Recently, Steven participated in the program with his friend Patrick. Following the weekend Steven’s mom remarked, “Chad (the staff) was wonderful. They went to a pub and watched a ball game, played mini-putt and attended a Jays game at the Rogers Centre. They had a very full and busy weekend. Mom had a great weekend also!”

Patrick’s mom commented that: “Patrick enjoyed the weekend at the apartment. It was good that he went with a friend and I think that for him it was the key. All-in-all, with the boys being as compatible as they are, it was a success!” The program serves individuals 18 years of age and over who have the ability to participate safely in apartment and community settings and are able to perform daily living activities with minimal support. Gaining independent living skills - shopping, use of money, cooking and cleaning, and learning how to use public transit can all be a part of your children’s weekend respite experience, not to mention choosing the weekend’s activities and opportunities to form new friendships. If you would like to book a weekend for your son or daughter, please call of Community Living at 1-877-737-3475. Weekends book quickly so call now!

Member Discounts for Weekend Respite by Cheri Evans, Community Support Coordinator


ur weekend program is gaining popularity. Here are some testimonies of parents and participants. “I hope she wants to come home!” said one of the parents who got a weekend of relaxation while her daughter spent the weekend with Community Living. “I think the program is great. They go with a friend or (matched to) someone that they would like and then the kids come up with what they want to do for the weekend. They do some cooking, they clean the apartment and they get to see what living on their own would be like. It’s great. When my daughter went they went to the beach, had a picnic and she had a great time!” says Barb whose daughter recently attended respite. After hearing this, 3 other parents signed up for a ‘Family Membership’ with Community Living York South in order to benefit from the $50 discount for ‘members only’ on a weekend registration. “There are not a lot of respite


programs that are right for our kids,” says one parent supporting someone diagnosed with a mild intellectual disability, “He would like that program (weekend respite) because he wants to live on his own. He could see what it is like (to live independently).” “I had a lot of fun! I brought movies and we stayed up late. The staff helped us make breakfast,” says Andrea. Her friend, Lori, also spent the weekend at the apartment and had this to say about her experience, “I went to a dance and danced a lot. We stayed up really late and had fun. It was good!” A senior parent supported by York South said, “We really can use the break, we love having (our daughter) at home, but we need a break from helping her all the time. She needs a break from us too. “ If would like to book a weekend for your son or daughter, please call of Community Living’s toll free number at 1-877-737-3475.

Book now before its too late!

Call 1-877-737-3475 to book a weekend.

Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

A Unique Weekend Respite Experience C

ommunity Living York South offers a unique community-based weekend respite program that is not available anywhere else in York Region! All of the activities are customized to your son or daughter’s individual interests. We are located in the heart of Richmond Hill in an apartment setting just east of Yonge Street on Major Mackenzie Drive.

We are booking right now through to the end of the year!*

Winter Time Fun! by Cheri Evans, Community Support Coordinator “We had fun and maple syrup on March Break!”, says Ahmed. “Brandon bugged me - I’m not kidding, but it was fun that he bugged me!” Ahmed has camped with us for a number of years now and has made many friends while enjoying a variety of community activities in our March Break camp. “I went to the library and listened to CD’s. We had a Pizza Party and watched ‘Bee Movie’. We went out in the snow. It was good. The best part was seeing my friends.” With the help of fantastic staff and many volunteers we were able to have camp in 3 areas supporting both children and youth. We look forward to offering camp again in the years to come. March Break in Markham

WEEKENDS: Friday 6 p.m. to Sunday 5 p.m. * Excluding long weekends Eligibility: • 18+ years of age • The ability to be supported safely in an apartment setting and on community outings with minimal support. • The ability to perform all daily living skills (i.e. personal hygiene, bathing & dressing, etc.), with minimal assistance • We are single-staffed and therefore unfortunately cannot support those people with high behavioural, psychiatric and medical challenges as well as those people that require additional staff support to ensure their safety.

March Break in Richmond Hill

March Break in Vaughan

Cost for the Weekend • For members - $150 fee for the weekend (sign up for Membership!) • For non-members - $200 fee • Plus $50 minimum spending money for activities • 2 people are supported every weekend We apologize that our current location is not wheelchair accessible. All applications are reviewed on an individual basis in order to provide a fair and equitable decision to determine eligibility for the safety of all participants. Please call 1-877-737-3475 toll free to inquire about how to access this unique experience.

March Break: A Happy Camper’s Testimonial by Janice Liu Thank You Community Living York South for once again making March Break camp such a success! The week went by so quickly that I barely had time to even get to know each one of you, but it was a great team that we had. I hope that everyone had as much fun as I did, and found this experience truly rewarding. I’ve learned so much from all of you! Thank you! • online soon :


Here’s What is Happening in Our Lives

Just Say Know by Silvia De Abreu, Team Supervisor

by Cathy Johnston, Residential Supervisor …Mr. Rick Yake and Mr. Len Millar attended “The Creativity in Mental Health” evening in Barrie this past May. The gentlemen sold art cards with their paintings on them. Mr. Millar was excited to see other artists “who are just like me”. …Alison Arthur volunteered at the Markham Relay for Life for the Canadian Cancer Society on June 20, 2008. She volunteered in support of her friends and family. …The Town of Markham Music Festival was held on the June 21st weekend. The Bates Way Team held a bake sale on the Saturday. Many people from the community came to the Community Living York South’s Markham office for the first time. The money raised will be used for a group vacation to Memphis and Nashville in 2009. “Elvis, here we come!” The Wild Horse Saloon will be the first stop in Nashville. Our next Bake Sale will be held on Saturday, August 16th from 9am to 4pm at the Markham office at 144 Main Street North, units 5 & 6. …Mr. Dale Cameron has a wonderful gift of generosity. Every time he goes to Tim Horton’s, he puts his pennies in the box for the children to go to camp. Led by Dale’s example, I have started to put my pennies into the box. Even though it’s just a little each time, one by one these pennies will start to add up. Why don’t you follow Dale’s lead and help bring joy to a child.

Homemade Potato Salad by Jackie Palmer, SIL Community Support Worker


n June 16, 2008 Carla Monk celebrated her graduation from the Adult Literacy class located in Thornhill. Carla has loved learning and upgrading her literacy and numeracy skills through the functional Adult Literacy program with the Literacy Council York South located at Thornhill Community Centre. A ‘Pot Luck’ dinner was held for friends and relatives and Carla contributed her specialty, a home made Potato Salad which everyone enjoyed. Carla will miss the staff and all the friends she has made over the last 10 years and will use the skills she has learned with independently living.



n April 17th, 2008, Dave Hingsberger led a workshop in Richmond Hill on “Just Say Know”, increasing rights awareness for over forty people for the prevention of abuse. The workshop dealt with serious themes such as to how to keep safe and be safe, how to say “no”, and how to respond to bullying. All the participants attending the workshop had a chance to practice what they learned through role playing. The atmosphere celebrated personal power. Everyone that attended received a certificate and cannot wait for Dave to come again. Our many thanks to Dave Hingsberger and Susan Tough at Behavior Management Services of York & Simcoe for funding our workshop and making this a possibility.

“Bowled” Over for York South! by Jackie Palmer, SIL Community Support Worker


eal was honoured to be one of the athletes that was chosen to represent the 10 Pin Regional Bowling Team for Special Olympics Ontario. “I came in 3rd!” states Virgina “Neal” Gatten proudly. This year the event was held in Durham Region and Neal stayed at the Athletes Village for 3 days. Neal really enjoyed this experience and is looking forward to next year and aiming for first!

Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

Great Fun at Community Living’s Summer Camp by Benaldo Yeung, Sameer Rawal & Jaymie Cushing, students


he summer days are passing by in the blink of an eye! Campers are having fun, staff are having fun, and a great amount of discovery has happened too. The campers of Community Living York South have been learning how to become active members of their community through various activities such as: transit training, money training, and field trips. Our summer camps are held in three different areas; Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan. The Markham camp opened this year with a trip to Frankie Tomato’s Italian buffet. We travelled by bus, allowing the campers to experience and begin acquiring the skills to utilize public transit. A filling and delicious lunch was enjoyed, while socializing with new friends and old ones from last year’s camp. Our camps focus on the development of various life skills. The camps run out of a variety of community settings with Markham’s taking place at Grace Church. Richmond Hill summer camp is located right on Yonge Street with access to all services in the vicinity. Vaughan’s camp runs out of Maranatha Christian Reformed Church. Campers are able to do a lot of activities outdoors as well as indoors! We have opportunities to take advantage of the com-

munity friendly surroundings to play baseball, basketball, and even go swimming on hot sunny days. For individuals who prefer more low-key activities we explored our creative talents with arts and crafts, cooking, music therapy and money training games. We held an exciting science day where the campers were able to learn about density, structure, quicksand, and were even able to participate in making a volcano eruption! When asked some of his favourite things about camp, Ishaque Shaik, a camper, had this to say: “The camp is great, I love playing baseball outside, and I loved the trip to the mall.” The field trips are often one the most anticipated events of the week! So far our Markham trips have included: Markham Library, Markham Bowl, Cineplex Odeon, and Markville Mall. Some upcoming outings for campers to look forward involve: The Ontario Science Centre, Fantasy Fair, and the CNE! The camps are filled with such a variety of happenings that it is just impossible to write everything in a short article, but hopefully we will be able to keep you posted with more photos and highlights soon. Until then, here’s to lots more fun times, more adventures, new skills learned and many friendships made! • online soon :


Volunteerism at its Best by Brenda Crouse, Director of Community Development Richmond Hill – It was little known to me that The Choice of the Orient, a Chinese restaurant central to Richmond Hill, is a favourite haunt of the Women’s Auxiliary (and where they dine out on a regular basis), but on Tuesday, May 27th I was able to attend one of their “Ladies Night Out”, courtesy of Community Living York South. We wanted to express our continued appreciation to the W.A. for their ongoing volunteerism and commitment to people who have an intellectual disability. If I was expecting a quiet, sedate evening out, I was pleasantly mistaken. It is easy to see why this network of friends has been together for so long – because they sure know how to party! The evening was filled with laughter, stories….and of course, bottles of wine. Spending time with them, it was easy for me to see why the spirit of volunteerism has lasted. For 46 years this group of dynamic volunteers, comprised of mothers and friends, have volunteered their time and talents in order to help the Association to meet the ongoing challenges of funding, fill the service gaps for families and meet the needs of people supported. When one looks back over the years stretching back to 1962, it is phenomenal to see how this group of women has changed the face of Community Living York South, quite literally. Many of our residential homes have become ‘homes’ because of the warmth that they have injected into each space. Recreational and respite programs for families have started because of their financial contributions through their fundraising efforts such as garage sales, craft sales and other ventures. Families of the Association owe a debt of gratitude, for past and present initiatives, to this group of women. So on behalf of Community Living York South and all of the families and people supported who have had the quality of their lives improve because of the work you have collectively accomplished, thank you. And I want to personally thank each of you for the honour of spending just a few hours with you. I encourage other mother’s, sisters, aunts, friends and community members to join the Women’s Auxiliary – a stronger support group could never be found…. and the rewards never as great. It was my pleasure to introduce you to the members of the Women’s Auxiliary: Ester Jennings – original member Mona Craig Jean Nugent – original member Barb Eldridge Dot Schell – original member Anna Hinchcliffe Shirley Murphy Shirley Koster Sylvia Gipps Marg Sullivan Wendy Gipps Angela Carriere Sylvia Piechota Audrey Wilde Lynn Law


Tree Dedication to Honour Women’s Auxiliary Members by Barb Eldridge & Mona Craig, mothers and Women’s Auxiliary members


n July 16th the Women’s Auxiliary gathered at the rear of the 101 Edward Avenue building of Community Living to dedicate a tree to its members, past and present. Amongst those in attendance were three of the original five members: Dot Schell, Jean Nugent and Esther Jennings. Unable to be with us for the dedication because of ill health was Lynn Law and Audrey Wilde. The Women’s Auxiliary began in 1962 with 20 members when government funding was not available for programs or items that were greatly needed by the people supported by Community Living. The group was originally comprised of mothers of a son or daughter with an intellectual disability and the other half of the group consisting of community members and friends, all working together towards a common goal. Over the years, a strong bond has grown amongst this wonderful group of women. If asked, each would say that they have received as much as they have given – satisfaction, the joy of volunteerism and a powerful network of support that has lasted. Debbie Lewis, Acting Executive Director, was kind enough to say a few words on behalf of Community Living and to express the gratitude of the Association for the dedication and long term commitment of each of the members. Brenda Crouse, Director of Community Development, also attended and took the photos. After the dedication, everyone was invited to a luncheon held at the home of Barb Eldridge. It was a most enjoyable afternoon.

Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

Look What We’ve Been Doing in Our Moving Forward an making Connections: Transition Planning beyond Graduation Held on January 29th at the Richmond Green Secondary School in Richmond Hill Speakers on transition planning, financial planning and social recreation options for person-centred planning with display booths from developmental services agencies, private services and transfer payment agencies; how to navigate the service system of York Region. Community Living York South participated in a display booth with other community services and a Team Supervisor presented on Parent Groups. The Elimination of Racial Discrimination March 30, 2008, Community Living York South had a display as part of the celebration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination event hosted by York Regional Police. This event is held in recognition to the Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa, on March 21st, 1960. Since 1966, March 21 has been recognized by the United Nations as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.


SSAH Advisory Committee Initiative

‘Family Care’ Parenting Workshops

A Workshop & Information Night for Families Held on April, 30th at the York Region Administration Centre in Newmarket. A variety of speakers providing information on future planning, funding, volunteerism, literacy, respite and recreation. Community Living York South, a part of the SSAH Advisory Committee, had a display booth.

An 8 Week Workshop from May 15th to July 3rd held in Richmond Hill. This 8 week Group program was designed to maintain positive family involvements which included parenting skills, stress management, positive relationship strategies, abuse prevention and legal aspects of family care. A partnership between Family Services York Region and Community Living York South.

Inclusive Recreation Resource Information Workshops At Vellore Village Community Centre in Vaughan Held on Saturday, June 14 A series of 4 “How Do I…?” Workshops offered to address access to recreational activities, funding and services in York Region for children, youth, adults and older adults. In partnership with the City of Vaughan, York Support Services Network, Vaughan Accessibility Advisory Committee, and ROYR. Community Living York South was there with a display booth along with over 60 community and resource and service providers participating.

Table-Side Chats – Topic: Respite, Recreation and Transition – February to April Held in the 5 towns of Stouffville, Markham, Richmond Hill, Thornhill and Vaughan. Discussion on resources, schools and Community Living York South outreach services and for parents interested in connecting with other families. York Support Services Network - Passport Coordinator, Inclusive Recreation Coordinator, Respite Coordinator; the Towns’ Parks & Recreation departments and other community service providers were invited to share resources and information at our table-side.

Do You Need Help?

How Do I…?

Drop-in with questions and take-out all the answers

by Ritu Bhasin, Community Support Coordinator

You MUST call to book an appointment time. Monday

2-5PM Markham, 144 Main St. N. Anita @ 905-771-0011 VM 267


2-5PM Vaughan, 136 Winges Rd. Kula @ 905-771-0011 VM 703

Wednesday 2-5PM Richmond Hill, 10155 Yonge St. Sarita @ 905-771-0011 VM 705 Friday

2-5PM Richmond Hill, 10155 Yonge St. 5-7PM – Community Needs List appointments only Cheri @ 905-771-0011 VM 640

Table-Side Chats – Topic: Future Planning, Wills & Trust – April to May Held in the 5 towns of Stouffville, Markham, Richmond Hill, Thornhill and Vaughan. Discussion on RDSP, Wills & Trusts, Henson Trust and Community Living York South outreach services. A Financial Advisor and lawyer provided information and advice on financial planning. Table-Side Chats – Topic Settlement – June to July Held in the 5 towns of Stouffville, Markham, Richmond Hill, Thornhill and Vaughan. Discussion on resources, schools and Community Living York South outreach services available for newcomers, new residents to York Region or parents interested in connecting with other families. COSTI, YRDSB Settlement and other community service providers were invited to share resources and information at our table-side.


n June 14th, the City of Vaughan, in partnership with York Support Services Network, Community Living York South, Vaughan Accessibility Advisory Committee and ROYR hosted inclusive recreation resource information workshops in the community of Vaughan. This event was a great success with a number of social service agencies and guest speakers including our very own Kevin Greenfield, and about 200 community members in attendance throughout the day. This event was organized to recognize the celebrations of ‘National Access Awareness Week’, Recreation and Parks month and Seniors month and Community Living was delighted to have taken part in this event. • online soon :

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Email Address: Charitable # 10822 6556 RR0001 * Tax receipts will automatically be issued for donations of $20 or more.

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Did You Know… Community Living York South can accept Bequests and/or other Gifts. Please indicate if you wish to receive material on: ☐ Gifts by Wills ☐ Life Insurance ☐ Gifts of Property ☐ Securities

PRIVACY POLICY: At Community Living York South we appreciate your support and we treat your personal information with respect. We do not trade your personal information. The information you provide to us will be used to keep you informed of events and fundraising opportunities in support of Community Living York South.   If you wish to be removed from our mailing list, simply contact us by phone at 905-771-0011 or by checking the box above. is generously sponsored by Update is published by Community Living York South 101 Edward Avenue Richmond Hill, ON  L4C 5E5 Editorial Team Don Wilkinson, Executive Director Brenda Crouse, Director of Community Development Cheri Evans, Editorial Staff Sarita Wiggan, Editorial Staff Barb Evans, Editorial Volunteer Hero Aban, Layout & Design Opinions expressed in Update are not necessarily the views of Community Living York South or the editors. Letters to the editor, comments, and unsolicited articles are welcomed and should be sent to the editors

of York Region of York Region

Board of Directors Louis Laskovski (President) Doug Cronin (Treasurer) Phil Lanzarotta (Past President) Claudio Battaglin (1st Vice President) Peter Sen (2nd Vice President)

Cristian Mandachescu (Board Secretary) Lloyd Chafe Shirley Ho Ed Law Alex Lee

Alexandra MacChione Wayne Maxwell Brendon Pooran Vera Power Sharron Rowan-Toy

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.


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


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Community Living York South UPDATE • Spring/Summer 2008

Update Newsletter | Spring/Summer 2008  

In this issue: Strategic Planning Process 54th General Meeting and Family BBQ In Memoriam Community Living Month President's Report Weekend...