Fall Into Winter With LiveWorkPlay!

Helping the community welcome people with intellectual
disabilities to live, work, and play as valued citizens! 
Ottawa, ON K1J 7T2

The LiveWorkPlay Blog - October 28, 2012

Coming Events

Don't miss the opportunity to see Darcy Elks on Saturday, November 17 for her presentation and workshop "Supported Decision-Making: Wisdom, Life Experience, and Common Sense Needed." Co-hosted by LiveWorkPlay and Family Matters Co-op, you can register online right now!

This year's LiveWorkPlay Festive Family Feast is Friday, December 7! Register now for a delicious meal and some casual social fun.

LiveWorkPlay New Year's Eve Dinner & Dance tickets are now available. Get your tickets now to avoid disappoinment!

Mark your calendar: Register Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) workshop and panel on estates and trusts planned for February 9. Details to come!

The United Way Ottawa campaign is now underway! Don't forget you can direct all or part of your donation to specific charities (including LiveWorkPlay) or to a particular priority like "Improve work opportunities for people with disabilities."

Until November 16, support the LiveWorkPlay video submission for the 25th anniversary of the Community Foundation of Ottawa!

Annual General Meeting 2012

The September 28th AGM (an annual event also known as the Welcome Back Family Feast) brought out 150 attendees on a Friday night for some business, food, and fun!

Chair of the Board Cecelia Taylor was master of ceremonies. The business portion of the evening included a financial report by co-leader Julie Kingstone and an operations report by Keenan Wellar. We thank auditor Ross Holmes for participating via video! There were few year-to-year financial changes with the exception of the impact of the new partnership with Families Matter Co-op (Ministry of Community and Social Services funding) and a one-time $15,000 donation that came through the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa.

Special guests at the AGM included a trio of researchers from Concordia University. Professor Ann Davidson (at microphone) along with colleagues Christy Hannum and Stefanie Corona will be working with LiveWorkPlay members to produce videos that feature their views on life, disability, and more.

Speaking of video, a highlight of the evening was the showing of the United Way Ottawa production about Jeremy Robin and his employer Vaughn McKinney of The Parliament Cleaning Group. First shown at a UW launch event with more than 1200 audience members, there was a similar enthusiastic reaction at the AGM, as you can see (Jeremy salutes the crowd, pictured below).

The operations report discussed the growth of the staff team (2 positions), ongoing success with volunteer recruitment (now more than 120), and efficiencies realized by the new office space and better use of technology.

A timely "Live" highlight was the announcement of 8 individuals involved with LiveWorkPlay and/or Families Matter Co-op moving to the new Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC) building at the Beaver Barracks site (please see story below).

"Work" highlights included the new summer employment program that resulted in five jobs in 2012, and the growing partnershis with Rotary clubs of the Ottawa area. And of course the key to success with employment is employers, including ongoing partners like MBNA Bank (now part of TD), The WORKS Gourmet Burger Bistro (several locations), Tim Hortons franchises, and new partners like Westin Ottawa, Arby’s, Dow Honda, Parliament Cleaning Group, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

It was a remarkable year for "Play" thanks in large measure to the two new dedicated Community Connector positions, helping LiveWorkPlay members enjoy classes, courses, clubs and more with other citizens of Ottawa. It's all about belonging - it's pretty much a daily occurrence to see one of our members flashing a new membership card! The photo collage about says it all - from taking a cruise to joining the YMCA-YWCA our members are getting out and enjoying life!

Outgoing board member Mitchell Leitman was recognized for his extensive 7 years of service, while newly elected were lawyer Marina Abrosimov (third from right) and speech pathologist Cyndi Harrison (far right). Those returning include (left to right) Cecelia Taylor, Al Mackey, Pennie Styan, Dan Patton, and Joshua Amiel. The board completed a brief first meeting following the AGM and has already met for their first full session of the year. Watch for board members at upcoming events and please introduce yourself!

Back From Buffalo!

A small LiveWorkPlay contingent hopped on a charter bus with 50 other NFL football fanatics from the Ottawa area to see the Buffalo Bills take on the New England Patriots. The game was not close (sorry, Buffalo) but as the photos clearly show, that did not limit the fun! There was also a stop off at Niagara Falls.

Pictured right are Ryan, Alex, Chris J, Paul, Cooper, and John with volunteer Chris. Behind the camera were staff members Allison Moores and Grace Hudson.

Help Us Celebrate Community Foundation Of Ottawa

It's their 25th anniversary! They asked community partners to make videos talking and share what Community Foundation of Ottawa has meant to them over the years.

In the case of LiveWorkPlay, it's a 15 year relationship, so co-leader Keenan Wellar made a very personal (and hopefully amusing) tribute video.

Please help with the celebration by "liking" the video on YouTube and/or Facebook. With enough "likes" the video may be featured as part of a celebration event and there might be a profile story on CBC!

Making The Move

As mentioned in our AGM 2012 story, September-October saw LiveWorkPlay supporting many members to make moves to new apartments at Beaver Barracks. For most, this was not about their first apartment, it was more about their first apartment without a roommate. Many of our members' needs have evolved and they were ready to strike out on their own.

Caroline explores her new Beaver Barracks balcony!
"Sometimes people choose to have a roommate because they are concerned about social isolation" said Grace Hudson, part of the LiveWorkPlay staff team that helped coordinate many of the moves. "But when they get help with building and maintaining their social network, this concern fades away, and they often decide they want and need their own living space."

Roommate scenarios can also be financially motivated, because Ottawa apartments are expensive. That is why working with independent non-profit housing provider Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC) - which owns and operates Beaver Barracks - was critical to making many of these moves possible. Their inclusive model provides for different rental rates, including some units that are financially accessible to those who depend on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) housing allowance.

Moving to a brand new building usually means a lot of bumps along the way, but teamwork with members, family, and staff has been key to a relatively smooth transition. As people have settled in, and have quickly made connections to others in the building, and are getting involved in committees and social opportunities. Anthony Stratton and Daniel Harris, the lead staff members on supporting people in homes of their own, say they've noticed big changes. "It's always exciting to move somewhere new, but just like anyone else our members are really taking a lot of pride in setting up their own space" said Daniel.

Coffee Talk: Welcoming New Faces

There are some new faces around the office these days, including one very special visitor! After years of being in the adoption process, senior staff member Grace Hudson and her husband Chris have become parents, almost overnight! We welcomed Nate (pictured) as he made his first visit to the office on October 17.

Grace is now on maternity leave, after working furiously on a transfer of responsibilities that will be shared mainly between Volunteer Coordinator Fran Childs and newcomer Alex Darling (pictured left), who has accepted a contract position during Grace's absence.

September-October was definitely a challenge! LiveWorkPlay resources were stressed to the max in supporting so many of our members moving to new homes in the community (see story above) while at the same time managing several internal changes. The staff team extends a heartfelt thanks to all of our members and their family and other key supporters who helped us through these challenges by being understanding about many short-term inconveniences.

Golf Tournament Brings In The Green

It was another successful year for the annual golf tournament. Green fees and auction revenues were down slightly while sponsorship was up, with the result of about $13,000 of net proceeds. Jack Murphy was once again the volunteer champion for this event!

On-course volunteers Ivan Harris, Jennifer Harris, Suhail Choudhary, Ian Murphy, and Warren Murphy helped supervise contests. LiveWorkPlay members Lucas Rogers and Cooper Gage teed off once again as players in the tournament, while joining in for the first time were Patrick Farant (picture, middle left) and Justin Godin (picture, middle right). LiveWorkPlay staff members including Ali Sochasky spent the day roaming the course and capturing the day in photographs.

The "19th hole" was once again a great place to be, as about 130 guests gathered for a delicious meal in the Kanata Golf & Country Club dining hall to tell some tales of glory and discuss "the hole in one that got away." Dan Mooney from Rogers TV gave out awards and ran a brief but highly successful live auction. 

Striking A Pose At The VOscars

As a first time nominee for the Volunteer Ottawa "VOscar Awards" LiveWorkPlay was a 2012 finalist for "best non-profit volunteer program." The deserving winner of the award was Rogers House.

The passion by and for LiveWorkPlay volunteers was well in evidence as the LiveWorkPlay table was given the unoffical prize of "most enthusiastic audience members" by event host David Gerow from CBC. Somewhat predictably, this announcement was met with raucous appaluse and even a few hoots and hollers from the "bee-button" crowd, which was a mix of LiveWorkPlay constituents included members, staff, directors, and volunteers. "I was really proud to be a part of earning that David Gerow award!" quipped staff member George Kranitis.

On The Road With Rotary, Working In Wisconsin

Vaughn McKinney (Rotary Club Ottawa South) joined with Jen Bosworth (LiveWorkPlay and Rotary Club Of West Ottawa), and Ken Sparks (RCWO) for their well-received presentation to District 7040 of Rotary International which is made up of 68 active Rotary clubs in Nunavut, Eastern Ontario, Western Québec and Northern New York State.

The trio presented on September 15 at the 2012 district conference, which was hosted by Rotary Brockville. Vaughn, Jen, and Ken shared a presentation about Rotary at Work ("It's good business!") and the employment of people with disabilities.

Just a few days later on September 19, LiveWorkPlay co-leader Keenan Wellar presented "Integrated Employment: Facing and Embracing the Opportunities and Challenges" to a state-wide conference in Wisconsin. Audience feedback frequently mentioned an appreciation for the manner in which the LiveWorkPlay approach to employment has evolved largely through critical self-evaluation, but also by seeking out the best practices of others.

While preparing for the conference with organizers, Keenan mentioned the importance of volunteers in supporting the inclusion of LiveWorkPlay members in the community, and soon had a second invitation! With help from Fran Childs he was able to quickly organize a well-received presentation about volunteer matching.

Duke of Edinburgh's Award

LiveWorkPlay would like to recognize member Gage Emond, who on September 12 received the Gold level Duke of Edinburgh's Award. This honours service to community, skills (exploring personal potential), adventurous journey (exploring the outdoors), physical fitness, and completion of a project working with others. LiveWorkPlay Community Connector George Kranitis was on hand to help capture the moment.

We congratulate Gage's Woodroffe HS teacher Jamie Hughson for assisting Gage and 4 of his peers to plan and track their goals on the way to achieving this award, which was presented on Wednesday at a ceremony presided by His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. LiveWorkPlay has connected with Mr. Hughson over a shared interest in promoting citizenship for people with intellectual disabilities and we hope to do more with him and his students in future!

How Do You Like Us Now? A Lot!

If you have been a Facebook follower of the LiveWorkPlay page (or if you'd like to be) please "like" us again (or for the first time). The page name "LiveWorkPlay" recently became available and we remove our followers to claim it. So, we need to invite you back again! Please go to facebook.com/liveworkplayfans and click the LIKE button at the top. Be sure to invite your friends to do the same!

In other news, we have upgraded our page to the new Facebook timeline format, and people really like it, as you can tell from this visual analysis! We are already back up to 490 fans! Shall we get that past 500?

LiveWorkPlay also recently celebrated three years on Twitter! Be sure to follow us @liveworkplay!

Reminder: Contact Information

Our office is near St. Laurent Shopping Centre at 301-1223 Michael Street, K1J 7T2. Our number is 613-235-9550 which also gives you access to an employee directory. To avoid disappointment, please make an appointment before dropping by. The office is really just a hub for our staff to do their work in the community, so it is not always certain someone will be available to receive you, or we may already be in a meeting.

Donate To LiveWorkPlay

If you like what we are doing and you can afford a financial contribution, donate online and choose from a selection of options such as a one-time contribution or monthly donation. Just $10 a month is a great help! Don't forget you can also donate through the United Way Ottawa campaign.

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