SMILE participants Brodie and Heather (celebrating, right) served as the pioneers for OOOT-TOO, and they were clear upon the conclusion of the program that they were not in any hurry to return to their family homes - not because they do not miss their parents and siblings, but rather because they enjoyed the challenges and rewards of greater personal responsibility.
There was something in the air from the very start. The mingling activity was embraced enthusiastically by parents, participants, and siblings as they sought out personal details from others to fill in their bingo card. The holiday quiz games were also received with a nice mix of competitive spirit and togetherness. And it was all capped off perfectly with special guest Maureen Moloughney whose marvelous guitar and voice sent everyone home wanting more.
The BMO Fountaion of Hope Employees' Foundation has contributed $5000 to LiveWorkPlay in support of the On Our Own Together affordable housing initiative (permanent housing). Kanata branch manager Peter Strittmatter dropped by in person to present the cheque (pictured right).
After a very busy fall season SMILE participants and staff gathered in the banquet room of Biagio's Ristorante to celebrate their accomplishments. Everyone remarked on the increasingly meaningful nature of the achievements being celebrated. "I moved out on my own" and "I am enjoying my volunteer work at the Ottawa Food Bank" and "I am taking the bus instead of getting a drive with my parents" are examples of what some participants chose to share.
Originally scheduled for 90 minutes, the evening stretched to more than 150 minutes as the workshop attendees created their own accounts, became familiar with safety and security issues, learned how to use privacy settings, and practiced communicating with their inbox, wall, and applications.