Tony DeSantis

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.

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.

Inclusive hiring highlighted at Community Living Essex County golf tournament

 

By RTT Staff

 

The 26th annual Community Living Essex County (CLEC) was held last Thursday and early returns are positive.

The tournament was also used to highlight the benefits of inclusive hiring as the host golf course hires those with intellectual disabilities.

The tournament was a sell-out as all 144 spots were filled. A final fundraising total will not be known for a few weeks but CLEC administration was pleased with how things went, especially after hosts Sutton Creek Golf Club donated the $650 that went unclaimed in the skins game back to the non-profit agency.

“We had an outstanding experience,” said Tony DeSantis, CLEC’s manager of community relations.

Leamington captured the Municipal Cup as part of Community Living Essex County’s 26th annual golf tournament last Thursday. From left: Scott Legault, CLEC manager of community relations Tony DeSantis, Leamington Mayor John Paterson and Kyle Spearing. Both Legault and Spearing are supported by CLEC with Spearing also being employed at Sutton Creek Golf Club.

Leamington captured the Municipal Cup as part of Community Living Essex County’s 26th annual golf tournament last Thursday. From left: Scott Legault, CLEC manager of community relations Tony DeSantis, Leamington Mayor John Paterson and Kyle Spearing. Both Legault and Spearing are supported by CLEC with Spearing also being employed at Sutton Creek Golf Club.

Head golf professional Cory LaJeunesse noted that the course uses CLEC to hire staff with intellectual disabilities, including Kyle Spearing of Amherstburg. LaJeunesse said it has been “an absolute pleasure” to work with CLEC and said Spearing has been an inspiration to both staff and guests alike.

LaJeunesse encouraged other businesses to hire those with intellectual disabilities with CLEC’s Career Compass arm looking to fulfill such requests. LaJeunesse said there are many people with disabilities ready, willing and able to get to work.

“They dress the part and they work their butt off,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure to have Kyle. We’re more than willing to take some more.”

Spearing thanked both Sutton Creek and CLEC for the support and also thanked the golfers for coming out.

“Without your support, the programs Community Living Essex County administers would not be available to people like myself,” said Spearing.

As part of the tournament, CLEC also offers the “Municipal Cup,” given to the team from the winning municipality. This year, Leamington took home the cup and ended the town of LaSalle’s five-year winning streak.

DeSantis said they started the “Municipal Cup” component of the tournament in 2009 as a way to recognize and reinforce the partnership the agency has with the local municipalities. CLEC supports over 600 people with intellectual disabilities and their families across Essex County.

26th annual Charity Golf Classic welcomes participants

 

Special to the RTT

Community Living Essex County is pleased to announce that its 26th Annual Charity Golf Classic will be held at Sutton Creek Golf Club Thursday, July 14 with an 11 a.m. shotgun start.

All proceeds from the annual golf tournament benefit Community Living Essex County in support of people with an intellectual disability and their families across Essex County.

Highlights of the best ball scramble tournament will include a live and silent auction for items including Detroit Tiger tickets. Prizes will be awarded to teams with the best overall low gross and best mixed foursome and best ladies team low scores prizes will also be awarded for the longest drive, closest to the pin and more.

All participants will receive a prize.

CLEC golf

As part of tournament, Community Living Essex County has again invited municipalities from across Essex County to participate in the 8th Annual Municipal Golf Challenge. Municipalities will again be vying for both the “Municipal Cup” and bragging rights for the municipality with the lowest overall team score. The town of LaSalle will again attempt to defend their 2015 title.

Community Living Essex County welcomes the community to join in the fun and golf for a great cause.

To register for the tournament, or to find out more about outstanding sponsorship opportunities call Tony DeSantis Manager of Community Relations at 519-776-6483, ext 246, or e-mail him at tony@communitylivingessex.org.

Details’, including registration information is also available online at www.communitylivingessex.org. Go to Charity Golf Classic under the “Events” section of the website.

Last year nearly $15,000 was raised for Community Living largely in part due to the generous support of local corporate sponsors from across Essex County.

Career Compass aiming to link employers with those with intellectual disabilities

 

By RTT Staff

A regional employment service for those with intellectual disabilities has been officially launched though it has already has some success stories.

Career Compass, a group that operates under the umbrella of Community Living Essex County (CLEC), was launched last Friday afternoon though it has already been won the 2016 Ontario Disability Employment Network’s (ODEN) “Innovator of the Year” award for “promoting innovation in employment services for people who have a disability.”

An official launch was held for Career Compass last Friday afternoon at the office of Community Living Essex County. From left: Ryan Couture of Access Community Gardens, supported employee Steve Kwasnycia, manager of supports overseeing Career Compass Derek Roy and CLEC executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero.

An official launch was held for Career Compass last Friday afternoon at the office of Community Living Essex County. From left: Ryan Couture of Access Community Gardens, supported employee Steve Kwasnycia, manager of supports overseeing Career Compass Derek Roy and CLEC executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero.

Derek Roy, manager of supports overseeing Career Compass, said the idea came from ODEN with CLEC then re-branding its former “Ready to Work” strategy with a more business-minded initiative. After fielding more than 200 suggestions for a new name, it was decided that “Career Compass” would be the brand they would use going forward. The program was one of 37 recipients of the Employment and Modernization grant from the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

The name came from the idea of providing career options to job seekers and their families while guiding “forward-thinking” businesses in their inclusive hiring practices. Roy said Career Compass can give guidance to employers who want to hire someone with a disability and said the notion that the employment has to be full-time is unfounded. Many people would like part-time work to ease them into the workplace.

“Business owners are often under the impression that they must hire full-time,” said Roy, “but this really isn’t the case. We’ve found that starting at fewer hours and evaluating from there is ideal.”

Career Compass is also working on a summer student program with Roy stating the Career Compass team is working with local school boards on the matter.

Roy emphasized that Career Compass is connected with CLEC.

“We are one of the many arms of Community Living Essex County,” said Roy, adding that Career Compass has already exceeded many of its targets in terms of getting people hired.

Nancy Wallace-Gero, CLEC executive director, said the agency is very happy with the growth of Career Compass and called Friday’s event “a big celebration” of the employment services group’s early successes.

“Career Compass is a fabulous example of how organizations can modernize its services and meet the needs of the people,” said Wallace-Gero. “We are very proud at Community Living Essex County of Career Compass.”

Wallace-Gero added that Career Compass is “growing very rapidly” and that “it’s growing quicker than anything we are doing right now in terms of real success.”

Steve Kwasnycia, a supported employee at Access Community Gardens, said his employment is “going good for me” and it allows him to support his loved ones. Ryan Couture, nutrition workshop facilitator, credited the Career Compass initiative for its help in allowing his own business to grow.

“The support you guys ave been giving has been crucial,” said Couture.

Couture said he doesn’t want to lose Kwasnycia, calling him the “best partner I’ve ever worked with.” He urged other employers to give Career Compass a shot and said it is not about the disabilities, but rather the abilities of the workers.

Tony DeSantis, manager of community relations and resource development, shows the award Career Compass recently won.

Tony DeSantis, manager of community relations and resource development, shows the award Career Compass recently won.

Tony DeSantis, CLEC’s manager of community relations and resource development, added there are a lot of success stories like that of Kwasnycia.

“We have a lot of people with direct supports that are looking for work,” said DeSantis.

For more information about Career Compass or for employers looking for someone to hire, call 519-776-6483 with Roy’s extension being 211. People can also stop by CLEC’s main office at 372 Talbot St. North in Essex or e-mail Roy at droy@communitylivingessex.org.