CLEC

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.”

Libro aids numerous local organizations with grants

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Libro Credit Union has helped local organizations and agencies get a bigger “piece of the pie.”

Teams of Libro representatives travelled to roughly a dozen area locations last Thursday to distribute grants under its “Prosperity Fund” with two of the stops being in Amherstburg. The River Lights Winter Festival received one of the grants with $5,000 to help them with their “Downtown Holiday Nights” component of the festival.

River Lights co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven said the money will be put towards the 2017 event as opposed to this year’s. She said the “Downtown Holiday Nights” will be held the Friday night prior to opening ceremonies and feature a “Twelve Days of Christmas” scavenger hunt held in partnership with local businesses, ice sculpture artists, an outdoor holiday market, carriage rides and students from General Amherst and Walkerville high schools caroling and performing in the streets.

River Lights received $5,000 to assist the “Downtown Holiday Nights” portion of its  festivities. From left: River Lights co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven, Libro communications  manager Chad Lovell, Libro grant co-ordinator Christine Lajoie, Libro Amherstburg branch  manager Cathy Thomas, Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce president Carolyn Davies and River Lights committee member Ward Yorke.

River Lights received $5,000 to assist the “Downtown Holiday Nights” portion of its festivities. From left: River Lights co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven, Libro communications manager Chad Lovell, Libro grant co-ordinator Christine Lajoie, Libro Amherstburg branch manager Cathy Thomas, Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce president Carolyn Davies and River Lights committee member Ward Yorke.

The 2016 event will be Nov. 18 while the event the grant from Libro is helping to fund is planned for Nov. 17, 2017.

“The Chamber is always supportive of River Lights. It does a number of projects to stimulate the economy for the downtown core and represent Amherstburg to the rest of the county,” said Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce president Carolyn Davies.

Davies added the ACOC assists River Lights with some of its projects including the north and south gateways and decorating other buildings in Amherstburg.

“You are walking into wholesome, family fun,” Van Grinsven added of the entire festival.

More information on River Lights can be found at www.riverlights.ca or by calling 519-736-4642.

The second stop on the Amherstburg portion of Libro’s tour was at Firehorse Leadership Organization. Firehorse, which operates on the grounds of Sarah Parks Horsemanship, also received a grant for $5,000.

Michelle Stein, executive director with Firehorse, said the $5,000 will help them acquire equipment, run their programming and create a new round pen outside for the horses.

Stein indicated the programs that have and will be developed will be “very tailored” and feature a curriculum that youth will have to follow.

Firehorse Leadership Organization’s programs allow youth to develop leadership skills, positive peer-relationships, responsibility and communication skills through horsemanship. Stein said she met Parks several years ago and both discovered that horsemanship could bring out positive attributes in youth.

“We realized horsemanship and leadership is exactly the same,” said Stein.

Additional information on Firehorse can be obtained by contacting Stein at 519-796-3929 or by visiting www.firehorseleadership.com.

Libro Credit Union representatives were all over southwestern Ontario last Thursday giving out a “piece of the pie” as they were awarding grants under its “Prosperity Fund.” As an added bonus, they also distributed pies to the various successful organizations. One of the stops was Firehorse Leadership Organization, which operates out of Sarah Parks Horsemanship. Firehorse received $5,000 last Thursday afternoon to expand and upgrade its programming.

Libro Credit Union representatives were all over southwestern Ontario last Thursday giving out a “piece of the pie” as they were awarding grants under its “Prosperity Fund.” As an added bonus, they also distributed pies to the various successful organizations. One of the stops was Firehorse Leadership Organization, which operates out of Sarah Parks Horsemanship. Firehorse received $5,000 last Thursday afternoon to expand and upgrade its programming.

Among the other Windsor-Essex County recipients of funding was Community Living Essex County (CLEC). The non-profit agency, which benefits over 650 people with intellectual disabilities and their families across the entire county, received $21,039 to help create a “Youth in Action” summer work program. That program will provide a minimum of 15 youth with intellectual disabilities between the ages of 16-29 the opportunity to obtain summer employment or start a small business and gain real-world experience in the process. It is an extension of CLEC’s Career Compass initiative, which is already connecting people the agency supports with employment opportunities.

Nancy Wallace-Gero, executive director with CLEC, said Career Compass has been a success thus far and now younger people can be assisted as well in finding employment.

“People with significant disabilities are finding employment and are being embraced by employers,” said Wallace-Gero.

The “Youth in Action” summer work program is new and Wallace-Gero believed it is unique.

Libro officials were at Community Living Essex County Thursday morning to present a cheque for $21,039 for CLEC’s new “Youth in Action” program. From left: Chad Lovell and Liz Arkinstall from Libro, CLEC manager of supports Derek Roy, Sandy Laurier, Libro president Stephen Bolton, CLEC executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero and CLEC director of operations Karen Charette.

Libro officials were at Community Living Essex County Thursday morning to present a cheque for $21,039 for CLEC’s new “Youth in Action” program. From left: Chad Lovell and Liz Arkinstall from Libro, CLEC manager of supports Derek Roy, Sandy Laurier, Libro president Stephen Bolton, CLEC executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero and CLEC director of operations Karen Charette.

“This is a new initiative and I’m not sure anyone else is doing it,” she added.

The largest grant given by Libro Credit Union was $50,000 with that going to WEtech Alliance’s new Libro StartUP accelerator program. That program will provide mentoring and financial support to start up entrepreneurs, regardless of age, in Windsor-Essex County as well as Chatham-Kent.

“This innovative partnership is born out of a passion for community and a commitment to supporting the growing community of startup entrepreneurs in our region,” Yvonne Pilon, president and CEO of WEtech Alliance, stated in a press release.

WEtech Alliance and Libro Credit Union are looking to recruit five startup entrepreneurs who will be invited to start the program Jan. 1, 2017.

Interested applicants for Libro StartUP are encouraged to check the WEtech Alliance website www.wetech-alliance.com by mid-September for application information.

Another of the larger grants went to Access County Community Support Services, which received $20,000 for the Harrow Youth Centre. The closure of Harrow District High School led to the centre identifying needs for additional programming in Harrow for Grades 9-12, including opportunities to be engaged in their home community.

Stephen Bolton, Libro Credit Union’s president and CEO, said Thursday was “a really, really big day for us” and said Libro believes in giving back to the communities it serves.

“Libro is focused on growing prosperity in southwestern Ontario by transforming banking, and this is one way we do that,” Bolton explained. “As a co-operative, we believe we can accomplish so much more together through collaboration and partnership.”

The “Prosperity Fund” involved 41 organizations and community groups.

“Local decision-making is the heart of our program and very important to us,” Bolton added. “Each of our 31 branches has a council made up of owner-representatives who participate in the grant evaluation process and have a voice in the award selection. We believe that decisions should reflect the priorities of each community and our owner representatives help guide us through that.”