Edition 25 - November 30, 2008




Every year my mom and I enjoy hosting a wine and cheese fundraiser for LiveWorkPlay, but not everyone can make it out to the farm in Russell for the party, so I'd like to get some donations from other people too!

LiveWorkPlay helped me move out on my own and get a job that I really enjoy, so please support me and other people with intellectual disabilities by making a donation to my special fundraising page.


There will never be another week like it - the Global Forum for Inclusion and the 50th Anniversary Conference of the Canadian Association for Community Living took place over the course of five days right here in Ottawa from November 17-21.

As the English language Ottawa area affliliate for Community Living Ontario, this was a great opportunity for LiveWorkPlay to add a local flavour to these events by contributing as volunteers, presenters, and hosts.

Volunteers contributed at the registration table, handing out translator headsets, and simply being handy to assist organizers and delegates who arrived from all over the world.

LiveWorkPlay was also involved in two of the conference breakout presentations. Jennifer Harris (pictured) presented on self-advocacy and decision-making in a session co-moderated by Julie Kingstone, and Dan Patton from MBNA/Bank of America presented on the employment partnership with LiveWorkPlay in a session moderated by Keenan Wellar.

SMILE participants also hosted two social events for self-advocates on Thursday and Friday evenings. Thursday evening was also made special by the inclusion of the LiveWorkPlay "Maybe One Day" public service message at the conclusion of the Sprout Touring Film Festival Ottawa edition.

The CACL also released the 2008 Report Card on Inclusion. While there have been many positive advancements for people with intellectual disabilities, there were also some difficult findings. This included the disturbing revelation that almost half of the Canadian public is "not very" or "not at all" comfortable being around people with intellectual disabilities.

Other highlights (or lowlights) of the report include: slightly more than 50% of people with an intellectual disability reported that they have little or no control over decisions about their everyday activities; unemployment for people with intellectual disabilities sits at 70%; adults with intellectual disabilities are three times more likely than non-disabled Canadians to live in poverty.

These findings are understandably upsetting to anyone concerned about building healthy communities. For the LiveWorkPlay organization, its constituents, and their networks it is a call to action. There is much work to be done to spread the basic message of inclusion, and we must do more involve, engage, and educate the general public about the benefits of welcoming people with intellectual disabilities as included citizens. Those who take up the challenge are not working alone! The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities now has more than 80 signatories (including Canada) and has been ratified by more than 40 countries, not yet including Canada.


If you attended last year's awesome event in the ballroom of the Crowne Plaza you left hoping for more of the same to ring in 2009. Well, you wanted it, you got it! Sticks n Stones is back to keep the dance floor rocking. The one significant change for this year will see the buffet being replaced by a plated rib steak dinner, which means no tables to clear off the dance floor, and more time to celebrate!

To purchase tickets to the New Year's Eve In Ottawa ballroom party go to NewYearsEveInOttawa!

What's also new for this year is the private members-only penthouse party! There will be a buffet dinner in the penthouse foyer, and DJ Paul "Bee Diddy" Hamilton will be spinning your requests all night long, and after dinner penthouse guests are also welcome to check out the ballroom.

To purchase tickets to the penthouse party you must be a member of a Journeys or SMILE family, a volunteer, or a staff member. Qualified purchasers can also order tickets for guests they would like to bring along to the private party. For members-only tickets please click here.


This year's Halloween Family Fun Night event was made all the more special in that it was held for the first time on October 31. The banquet room at the Hampton Inn was filled with costumed Journeys and SMILE participants, parents, volunteers, and staff.

Activities including celebrity Match Game, Spooky Sights & Sounds, and a Murder Mystery that resulted in Daniel Harris being whisked away by Batman!

The evening concluded with a variety of entertaining and educational experiments conducted by Professor Jeff Manthorpe of Carleton University. It all ended in a big bang...you'll need to watch the video to get a feel for it!

Next up is the LiveWorkPlay Holiday Party on December 19. Please register online by December 15.


On November 21, representatives from the Canada-Ontario affordable housing program announced funding recipients arising from a public request for proposals. A plaque was presented to LiveWorkPlay co-founders Keenan Wellar and Julie Kingstone at a special ceremony hosted by the McLean Housing Cooperative in Ottawa.

LiveWorkPlay is to receive $700,000 towards the creation of 7 affordable homes. The funding is expected to cover about 2/3 of the capital costs, so there is plenty of fundraising work that remains, but this major contribution means that LiveWorkPlay can help more people and more quickly than would otherwise be possible.

Details are still emerging, but the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services has also committed to providing support dollars to assist in supporting those living in the affordable homes.

Work on the LiveWorkPlay proposal started back in 2006. The process for obtaining funds from the program is challenging, and also highly competitive. "This is a big step for LiveWorkPlay," said Chair of the Board Wendy Mitchell. "This is work that needs to be done, because people with intellectual disabilities simply do not have access to affordable housing, and we are pleased to be making a difference."


The annual LiveWorkPlay Family Conference provides an opportunity for people with intellectual disabilities and their family members to discuss challenging topics in an intimate setting with support from staff and community experts.

This year's special guest was Barrister Solicitor Heather Perkins-McVey, an experienced courtroom lawyer specializing in areas that include criminal defence and mental health law. People with intellectual disabilities often fall victim to misunderstandings by law enforcement and the justice system, and it is important that they can protect themselves by exercising their basic human rights.

As explained by Ms. Perkins-McVey, police and other law enforcement officials receive significant training for interacting with various populations in the community, but not every individual will have specific experience communicating with people with intellectual disabilities. Adding to this challenge, people with intellectual disabilities often seek to please authority figures, and may try to provide answers that are pleasing rather than accurate.


After reading this blog you may find yourself wondering how it is possible that so much can be happening with a small organization like LiveWorkPlay. It takes a combination of dedicated volunteers, staff, board members, families, and community partners to make it happen. And it also takes money, of which there is simply never enough.

LiveWorkPlay has a very short list of personal donors, but you can help change that! Making a donation has never been easier - it can be done as a single contribution, or better still via a monthly deduction. Just $8.33 per month results in a donation of $100 a year!

The United Way campaign is quickly coming to an end, and a directed contribution to LiveWorkPlay is a great way to get involved. The United Way is currently supporting both the ACES and Journeys programs, and recently featured a story about former Journeys participant Cara McGowan.

We hope you have enjoyed this 25th edition of LiveWorkPlayNews. If you have received an email about this blog in error and/or you would prefer not to receive future LiveWorkPlayNews messages, simply click here and follow the simple instructions. That same web page can also be used by newcomers who would like to join LiveWorkPlayNews, so feel free to share the address with friends, colleagues, and family who might like to subscribe.

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