CLEC

“Lunch Mob” planned for Oct. 31 in support of hiring people with an intellectual disability

 

 

Special to the RTT

 

Community Living Essex County supports over 700 people who have an intellectual disability so that they may live in a state of dignity and share in all elements of living in their community with an opportunity to participate effectively.

One element of living in a community is contributing through gainful and meaningful employment.

Community Living Essex County’s Career Compass has joined The Ontario Disability Employment Network’s (ODEN) provincial campaign to promote Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) by choosing to host their first ever “Lunch Mob” at a local business that practices hiring people with disabilities.

A “Lunch Mob” is based on the “Cash Mob” concept. A group of people converge on a business (in this case a restaurant) on a set date and time, buy a meal, meet other “Lunch Mobbers,” while supporting the chosen local business.

This “Lunch Mob” will be held at Riccardo’s Italian Restaurant, a business that has employed someone with an intellectual disability for over two years. Riccardo’s is located at 65 Sandwich St. N. in Amherstburg.

Members of the community are encouraged to stop by between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. for lunch Oct. 31. Please RSVP with Riccardo’s Italian Restaurant at 519-736-4333.

Right across the street, Joe Meloche Ford, another inclusive employer that has hired someone with an intellectual disability through Career Compass, is hosting a can drive in partnership with WE as part of the “WE Scare Hunger” campaign to assist food banks in local communities serving people who require food assistance.

“Lunch Mobbers” are encouraged to stop by Joe Meloche to also donate canned goods or other non-perishable items to support their “WE Scare Hunger” campaign.

To learn more about DEAM, be sure to like Community Living Essex County’s Career Compass Facebook page (Facebook.com/CLECareerCompass) and follow them on Twitter (@CLECareerCompass).

For more information about the services available to people with an intellectual disability and their families, contact Community Living Essex County at 519-776-6483, or stop by the main office located at 372 Talbot St. N. in Essex.

Community Living Essex County pleased with 2017 golf tournament

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

Community Living Essex County (CLEC) held its 27th annual Charity Golf Classic last week and were happy with the results.

The tournament, held last Thursday at Sutton Creek Golf Club in McGregor, drew fewer golfers this year (126) than last year (143) but manager of community relations and resource development Tony DeSantis said CLEC is still hopeful of reaching its $20,000 goal.

“I think we made more than last year because have more corporate sponsors,” said DeSantis.

CLEC made $18,000 from the 2016 Charity Golf Classic.

While the tournament was open to all interested golfers, part of the event was the Municipal Cup competition between the participating Essex County municipalities. Leamington – comprised of Mayor John Paterson, CAO Peter Neufeld, Brian Humphrey and Ward Hutchins – repeated as Municipal Cup champions by beating two Kingsville teams as well as teams from Amherstburg, LaSalle and Lakeshore.

Team Amherstburg was comprised of Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Councillor Leo Meloche, fire chief Bruce Montone and retired fire chief Al Reaume.

Community Living Essex County held its annual golf tournament last Thursday at Sutton Creek Golf Club in McGregor. Leamington repeated as winners of the “Municipal Cup” portion of the tournament, which was a competition between Essex County municipalities. From left: Leamington CAO Peter Neufeld, Brian Humphrey, Leamington Mayor John Paterson, Ward Hutchins.

Community Living Essex County held its annual golf tournament last Thursday at Sutton Creek Golf Club in McGregor. Leamington repeated as winners of the “Municipal Cup” portion of the tournament, which was a competition between Essex County municipalities. From left: Leamington CAO Peter Neufeld, Brian Humphrey, Leamington Mayor John Paterson, Ward Hutchins.

Community Living Essex County is grateful to the municipalities, DeSantis added, noting CLEC operates in each of the seven county municipalities. He noted Amherstburg’s re-entry into the Municipal Cup portion of the tournament and said it was DiCarlo’s first year in the tournament.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of the communities,” said DeSantis.

DeSantis called this year’s tournament “a positive experience” and believed people left happy with the day. He paid tribute to long time volunteer Fred Mitchell, who not only golfed, but recruited golfers and sponsorships. The team of volunteers was also thanked with the volunteers and golfers also recognized by board of directors 2nd vice president Sue Desjarlais and CLEC director of operations Karen Bolger.

A final fundraising total will be announced in the coming weeks.

Community Living Essex County supports over 650 people with an intellectual disabilities and their families. For more information on the agency, visit www.communitylivingessex.org.

Community Living Essex County celebrates “REAL Change” initiative

 

 

Community Living Essex County (CLEC) celebrated its “REAL Change” initiative last week as the agency seeks to modernize the way it delivers services.

REAL Change is described as “a robust undertaking to transform the agency’s business and service delivery models in order to offer modern, relevant supports within a sustainable and innovative infrastructure. REAL Change has the potential to be a demonstration project for other service providers within Ontario’s developmental service sector.”

The project has been undertaken over the last two years, but CLEC executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero indicated that the celebration was not the completion of the project.

Sara Gavrelets, a Community Living Essex County support worker and a “REAL Change” champion, discusses her experiences with CLEC’s modernizations efforts during a celebration last Thursday afternoon.

Sara Gavrelets, a Community Living Essex County support worker and a “REAL Change” champion, discusses her experiences with CLEC’s modernizations efforts during a celebration last Thursday afternoon.

“It’s really not the end of the process or the end of anything,” said Wallace-Gero.

Wallace-Gero said the agency plans on continuing to go down the path of modernization and but noted “this is a very exciting day for all of us.”

Sue Desjarlais, a member of the agency’s board of directors as well as a REAL Change committee member, said the first few months were devoted to “taking things apart” and looking about how services were delivered.

“We’ve done something dynamic over the last couple of years,” said Desjarlais.

CLEC engaged the consulting firm People Minded Business (PMB) to guide it through the process with Janeen Halliwell and Jennifer Keilty-Friesen helping CLEC engage families and stakeholders in an effort to modernize services. Halliwell noted that it was important to develop “a culture of innovation” and that the strategic planning was both dynamic and diverse. She said the process was to not only find out what their goals were but to align them with a strategic direction.

Keilty-Friesen said over 200 stakeholders were part of the process. Direction that came up as part of the process included improving access to services, offering families innovative and affordable supports for those with intellectual disabilities, designing a responsible and sustainable business model and to provide leadership in the developmental services sector.

Janeen Halliwell discusses the REAL Change initiative during a celebration last Thursday. Halliwell and Jennifer Keilty-Friesen from the consulting firm People Minded Business (PMB) helped guide Community Living Essex County through the REAL Change process.

Janeen Halliwell discusses the REAL Change initiative during a celebration last Thursday. Halliwell and Jennifer Keilty-Friesen from the consulting firm People Minded Business (PMB) helped guide Community Living Essex County through the REAL Change process.

Consultation took place with a number of groups, including Ensemble and New Day. The former is a parent-driven group with parent consultant Kelly Runnalls noting their voices were heard throughout the REAL Change process.

Marilyn Goddard, also representing Ensemble, said there was no time when the voices of parents not get heard.

“Change is a good thing,” said Goddard. “It presents us with exciting possibilities.”

Karen Bolger, director of operations with CLEC, outlined the five pilot groups that were part of the REAL Change process. Forward First Marketing helped establish communication and marketing strategies to reach all audiences, while CLEC also joined the Central 33 Leamington Hub in order to foster greater collaboration with multiple organizations in order to improve response to families. Another pilot was “My Support Link” with the purpose of that being to be an innovative web-based application for people with intellectual disabilities and their families to connect with one another and to share resources and access.

“Select A Break” was developed to provide “right fit respite options” that are affordable, flexible and sensitive to individual and family needs. That program is expanding into Amherstburg and Tecumseh.

“The Right Support in My Home” group is to develop a full range of community residential support options which provide the right level of support to promote independence, self-determination, community involvement and contribution. Part of that is the Smart Support options, something CLEC’s director of supports Corey Dalgleish called “a game changer.” Smart Supports involves the ethical use of technology to aid in providing supports including medicine dispensers, cooking assistance, video calls and more. Dalgleish added that technology will be used with full permission of everyone involved.

Keilty-Friesen said CLEC took a “huge stop” by not only developing plans, but actually putting them in motion.

“People have more support options through this initiative,” added Halliwell. “This agency is leading the way in providing supports in a modernized sector.”

For more information on REAL Change, call 519-776-6483 or visit www.communitylivingessex.org/about-us/realchange/.

Two big fundraising totals roll in for Community Living Essex County

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

Community Living Essex County (CLEC) is celebrating a pair of large fundraising totals.

From Nov. 24 to Dec. 24, Community Living Essex County benefited from over one hundred dedicated volunteers who operated the annual Gift Wrapping Booth fundraiser at Devonshire Mall in Windsor.

For the past 24 years the gift-wrap booth annually raises a significant amount of money in support of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. These funds assist CLEC to respond to people who live in Essex County and help address a variety of needs. The gift-wrap booth also provides a unique opportunity to acquaint thousands of holiday shoppers with an understanding of the goals and work of Community Living Essex County.

Volunteers and staff with Community Living Essex County help out at last month's gift wrapping booth at Devonshire Mall. The booth raised $18,000. (Photo courtesy www.twitter.com/clessexcounty)

Volunteers and staff with Community Living Essex County help out at last month’s gift wrapping booth at Devonshire Mall. The booth raised $18,000. (Photo courtesy www.twitter.com/clessexcounty)

With the help of a variety of local service clubs, church groups, students, businesses as well as families, staff and those supported by Community Living Essex County, the 2016 Gift Wrapping Booth raised $18,000.

“We are extremely appreciative and thankful for the support we receive each year from Devonshire Mall-Windsor, all of our volunteers and the public for keeping the holiday spirit alive,” states Tony DeSantis, manager of community relations and resource development with Community Living Essex County.

The results from September’s Ruthven Apple Festival were also noteworthy and celebrated by the agency.

The Ruthven Apple Festival committee hosted a luncheon recently and presented a cheque to CLEC for $50,000. It was the largest donation ever made to CLEC from the Ruthven Apple Festival.

“This is truly a special presentation today,” said DeSantis.

Remarking that it “seems like a long way off” since that beautiful weekend in late September at Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens where the festival was held, DeSantis recalled the “army of volunteers” that helped work at the 37th annual event.

Money raised goes towards transportation, either purchasing new accessible vans or repair existing vehicles. Vans are used throughout the agency, including some to transport people that are supported in Amherstburg.

Planning for the festival starts early in the year, DeSantis continued, and there is a lot of “behind the scenes” work that goes on to ensure the festival gets presented every year.

“There are a lot of moving pieces, a lot of pieces that have to be worked on,” said DeSantis.

“The members spend a lot of time on this (festival) and a lot of dedication,” added festival committee co-chair Gary Johnson.

Johan Klassen, a person supported by CLEC, also gave his thanks.

“I am very happy to be hear today,” he said. “I want to say thank you to everyone who helped make the festival a big success. See you again in 2017!”

The Ruthven Apple Festival raised $50,000 for Community Living Essex County. The presentation was made at Colasanti's Tropical Gardens last month.

The Ruthven Apple Festival raised $50,000 for Community Living Essex County. The presentation was made at Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens last month.

CLEC executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero expressed gratitude on behalf of the agency.

“From the bottom of our hearts, thank you very much,” said Wallace-Gero. “It’s just absolutely fantastic.”

Wallace-Gero praised the dedication of the committee members and volunteers that worked at the festival. She also pointed out the funds go towards accessible vehicles, adding those who use them will benefit.

“Our staff are grateful because they are driving safe, up-to-date vehicles,” said Wallace-Gero.

Wallace-Gero added they the people the agency supports will also be grateful, as the donation will allow them to ride in reliable vehicles to ensure they get where they want to go.

Community Living Essex County supports over 650 people with an intellectual disability and their families, with many of them in Amherstburg.

For more information on the agency, visit their website, “Like” them on Facebook or “Follow” them on Twitter.

Mayor cuts ribbon at Amherst Supply

 

by Jonathan Martin

When Amherst Supply first opened, all it sold was animal feed.

Now, around five years later, owner Ken Harris has watched Amherstburg mayor Aldo DiCarlo cut the ribbon at Amherst Supply’s “grand re-opening.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opened a store showroom displaying appliances, building products, hardware and accessories.

A barbecue for CLEC was held Saturday. Audrey Walker, Sue Olson, Cindy Winter, Lucas Olson, Ashley Olson, Kevin Meloche and Brittany Bolger were among those working the grill. Amherst Supply staff member Kristi Smith is not pictured.

A barbecue for CLEC was held Saturday. Audrey Walker, Sue Olson, Cindy Winter, Lucas Olson, Ashley Olson, Kevin Meloche and Brittany Bolger were among those working the grill. Amherst Supply staff member Kristi Smith is not pictured.

“I like to tell people it’s not just a ribbon-cutting,” DiCarlo said. “A business has had enough confidence in the town of Amherstburg to invest in it.”

Amherst Supply also held a barbecue Saturday in celebration of its expansion. The proceeds from the event went to Community Living Essex County.

“It was a fantastic surprise,” said Sandra Paisley, support manager for CLEC. “Amherstburg is a very giving community.”

For Harris, the cutting signified a new beginning.

“As much as it is about the opening of this new wing,” he said. “It’s also about reaching a point where I’m comfortable saying we’re a full-service building product store for Amherstburg.”