Happy Holidays from LiveWorkPlay!

Helping the community welcome people with intellectual
disabilities to live, work, and play as valued citizens! 
Ottawa, ON K1J 7T2
613-235-9550

The LiveWorkPlay Blog - December 19, 2012

  
Coming Events

LiveWorkPlay New Year's Eve Dinner & Dance tickets are now available. Get your tickets soon to avoid disappointment! This year we are once again using a "members-only" format: seating priority is for members and relatives. The party is selling out fast, so don't delay, get your tickets today!

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

Thank You For Your Generosity

LiveWorkPlay does not have a formal annual campaign for donors or a particular focus on donations in the holiday season, but December 2012 has certainly been a month to remember, with about $12,000 donated over a period of two weeks. We're putting a donation button next to this story in case you want to join in.

We are including in this total $4750 from the REALTORS Care Foundation, with support for the application from the Ottawa Real Estate Board. We thank realtor David Keay (father of LiveWorkPlay member Peter) for bringing this opportunity to our attention.

Another $5000 has come from anonymous donors or donors who do not wish to be identified. We are going to share one of their thoughtful notes (slightly edited for length):

You've had another busy year at LiveWorkPlay and we're so pleased for the recognition you received with the Top 40 Under 40 Award! Congratulations also to seeing so many members make the transition to their own living quarters where the can strive for independence, provide momentum towards employment and volunteers, and generally engaging more with other citizens. We have enjoyed reading the blog entries and seeing the evolution of this fine organization that has at its core the highest respect for every individual. We are pleased to be able to donate this year and hope that in a small way this helps launch and support these important individuals into gratifying lives in the community. Keep up the fantastic work!

Festive Family Feast

The usual revelry of this event on December 7 was enhanced this year by two surprise celebrations. Our longest-serving volunteer Pennie Styan is leaving the Ottawa area in 2013, so she was celebrated for her 15 years of service. Pennie has volunteered with groups, as a match with individuals, in support of events, and as a member of the Board of Directors, where she is serving until her departure.

A stealth operation had representatives from United Way Ottawa participating in the dinner as one of many partner organization guests, but staff member Elizabeth Cleland and volunteer Karen Soloman (CBC TV) were actually on hand to surprise Felice Miranda with a Community Builder Award. To say she was shocked is an understatement. Felice is known in the LiveWorkPlay community as the mother of member Gillian Gillespie and as a fundraising volunteer, but she has an active volunteer life all over the Ottawa community! You can learn more about Felice and Pennie by clicking on the video links above right.

Other News Buzz 

Volunteer Coordinator Fran Childs recently hosted 7 new recruits for an orientation session and there's no sign that things will slow down!

The "Project Capabilities" research team from Concordia University has started interviewing and filming with LiveWorkPlay members. Their timing is great, as many members have recently moved to homes of their own for the first time, or made a change from living with a roommate to living on their own.

The United Way Ottawa has also rolled out the new Gift of Change initiative, which features local talent like our own Melissa Cunningham helping promote an alternative to traditional gift giving.

With December 3 being United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the United Way Ottawa organized several media opportunities where Keenan could contribute in his role as a Focus Area Champion and share practical information from his 17 years of experience at LiveWorkPlay.

Our partners at Mills Community Support organized a two-day think tank on community-based support and person-centred thinking that also included Community Living St. Marys plus other facilitators and researchers. "We hope this is the start of building a network of people and agencies that don't question the need for a community-based approach. The focus needs be on success for the people we are supporting," said an enthusiastic Julie Kingstone at the event's conclusion.

We welcome Caitlin Fortier and Alex Darling to the LiveWorkPlay staff, having accepted contract positions as part of the Community Connector team. With Grace Hudson on maternity leave, George Kranitis finds himself in the position of team leader! There has been much to celebrate in the CC team, with a favourite moment being the huge turnout for an Inclusive Communities workshop (pictured above right).

In other staff news, thanks go out to Allison Moores who served as leader of operations during Julie and Keenan's vacation break in November, and to Daniel Harris and Anthony Stratton who have (as reported by members and families) done an amazing job of helping many people settle into their new homes over the past two months - this has included everything from setting up utility accounts to helping Alex Winstan with the assembly of curious furniture.

In partnership with Families Matter Coop, LiveWorkPlay hosted parent, speaker and advocate Darcy Elks on November 1st for an informative and thought-provoking workshop on Supported Decision Making! A take home message: Support for decision making should be respectful, non-controlling, non-stigmatizing and in as typical a way as possible!

A contingent of 7 represented LiveWorkPlay in support of the Silver Anniversary of the Community Foundation of Ottawa.

Chair of the Board Cecelia Taylor shares the news that with Pennie Styan and Dan Patton leaving the board early in 2013, recruitment of prospective new members is underway, with orientation and training opportunities already organized for February and March.

Thanks to the Canadian Association for Community Living and People First of Canada, LiveWorkPlay took part in a special event at the Parliament of Canada "Breakfast with MPs: Building an Inclusive Labour Market." This November 27 event included a short speech by member Emily Menard.

The following day in a related event LiveWorkPlay co-leader Keenan Wellar presented at the 2012 Federal Policy Forum. With this year's theme being employment and disability, the Employment Supports staff team of Jen Bosworth and Ali Sochasky were pleased to attend with colleagues like Joe Dale from the Ontario Disability Employment Network.

Congratulations to Ali who joins her LiveWorkPlay colleagues Keenan Wellar (initiate member) and Jennifer Bosworth (full member) as a Rotary Club of West Ottawa Rotarian!

Sunny Times Ahead

Is there a better way to put the "Play" in "LiveWorkPlay" than a trip to Club Med in the Caribbean? Supporting travel for our members is a longstanding tradition, and the next trip is right in the middle of January, a great time for a week on the beach! Stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates and news throughout the trip!

Pictured to the right, the group got together for a pre-trip meeting in December. There is a nice mix of experienced travelers and newcomers on this trip, and there wasn't much need for staff members to answer questions, because someone else with trip experience always had the answers!

How Do You Like Us Now? A Lot!

Please go to facebook.com/liveworkplayfans and click the LIKE button at the top. If you've already done that, be sure to invite your friends to do the same!


Struggling to find our YouTube channel? It doesn't get any easier to remember than this new URL: liveworkplay.tv!

LiveWorkPlay also recently celebrated 5000 followers on Twitter! Be sure to follow us @liveworkplay and be sure to favourite and retweet our news!

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.

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
613-235-9550

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 Qu├ębec 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.

Springing Into Summer At LiveWorkPlay!


Helping the community welcome people with intellectual disabilities
to live, work, and play as valued citizens! 
LiveWorkPlay [NEW ADDRESS!]
Ottawa, ON K1J 7T2
613-235-9550

  
On The Road Again 

LiveWorkPlay continues to support our members to enjoy inclusive travel with Ottawa Valley Tours. A group of 9 supported by 2 staff members joined with about 35 other travelers and headed out of Ottawa by motor coach to Nashville Tennessee.

Nashville proved a remarkable destination, with highlights such as the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry, and the General Jackson Showboat. But everyone agreed the highlight of the trip was spending time with everyone else on the bus, sharing special moments and making new friends.

Check out this series of video clips from the trip and you'll have no trouble understanding why this was a trip that nobody in the tour group will soon forget!

Join Us September 28

Chair of the Board Cecelia Taylor and her colleagues would like to remind LiveWorkPlay members and other supporters of the upcoming Annual General Meeting, which is part of the Welcome Back Family Feast on Friday, September 28. Ms. Taylor says that they greatly appreciated the patience and support of last years's AGM attendees.
 
"With the consideration and adoption of our new vision, mission, and values it was a very busy evening," says Taylor.

"For 2012 we anticipate a briefer AGM but we do have important information to share and we look forward to the opportunity to talk about progress in 2011-2012, as well as plans for the future."

Please note that ecause this event involves a meal, advance registration is required. The Welcome Back Family Feast is often the first opportunity to learn about new developments at LiveWorkPlay and attendance is highly recommended for all members and their family or other key supporters. 

Julie In The Spotlight 

Co-Leader Julie Kingstone spent most of the month of June (and even part of July) in the spotlight thanks to the Ottawa Business Journal & Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Forty Under 40 Awards. Julie was the sole award recipient from the non-profit sector for the 2012 edition of this popular and respected awards program.
 
"It was certainly a lot of attention and I am glad to have things back to normal, but it was also a great opportunity to highlight the work of the entire LiveWorkPlay community," said Ms. Kingstone.

"I also hope that the award helped showcase the non-profit sector as a place where leadership involves risk-taking and hard work in pursuit of outcomes that might be different from the private or public sector, but are no less challenging or important to the success of our community."

As part of the awards program Julie was profiled in the Ottawa Business Journal, attended a photo and video shoot, and received her award in a live presentation on June 21 at gala event with other recipients and supporters in a crowded banquet hall at the Hilton Lac Leamy Convention Centre.

You can view live footage from the gala as well as a post-event interview on Rogers 22 Daytime television. 

Going For Green On August 7

The annual LiveWorkPlay Charity Golf Tournament has moved up to the first Tuesday in August and has also shifted to the Kanata Golf & County Club! This year's tournament will feature no less than 3 hole in one contests with opportunities to win a car or $10,000 in cash as well as a number of skill contests that come with bragging rights in addition to prizes! 

This year's tournament is ahead of schedule in terms of sponsorship contributions, but we are quite behind on golfers! Many of our regulars have yet to register and time is growing short, so please put together your foursome as soon as possible and help us have another great day of golf. Join us after for dinner, awards, and a brief live auction (all included in the $150 registration fee).

Partnerships Key To Reducing Unemployment

LiveWorkPlay works continuously with employers across Ottawa to help identify (and sometimes create!) the right job opportunity for the right employee. We also work with community partners to help promote the employment of people with intellectual disabilities. LiveWorkPlay also networks with other employment supports providers in support of employment for individuals with all types of disabilities.

The ongoing relationships with Rotary clubs in the Ottawa area and the United Way Ottawa are examples of two of the most successful partnerships with respect to connecting with employers as well as building interest and excitement about employment of people with disabilities.

This is all coming together with an exciting new collaboration. United Way Ottawa has taken footage and still photos for a new video and web campaign that will featured Rotarian and employer Vaughn McKinney from Parliament Cleaning Group with employee Jeremy Robin, a LiveWorkPlay member.

As past-president of Rotary Club Ottawa South, Vaughn joined up with Ken Sparks from Rotary Club of West Ottawa as well as Jen Bosworth (Manager of Employment Supports for LiveWorkPlay and now a proud Rotarian herself!) and as a team they took a spring tour of all of the Ottawa area clubs to spread the word about the "Rotary at Work" employment initiative.

With this year's focus on summer employment, Mr. McKinney stepped up and decided to lead by example. He was introduced to Jeremy Robin, and the results so far are very encouraging for all concerned. Jeremy is now into his second month of employment, and the relationship may well continue beyond the summer. 

"What can I say, Jeremy fits right in here" said Vaughn McKinney. "This is what can happen when you give someone a chance. Jeremy has shown that there is no end to what he can learn and his positive attitude is an asset everyone in this workplace."

"Vaughn is a great guy and a great boss" said Jeremy. "It's been a very hard year with my mom and her health and it means a lot to me that I've been able to help out with this extra income. It feels great to be working and doing a good job."

Watch the United Way Ottawa website for the release of the video, and also watch for a United Way of Canada campaign that may feature LiveWorkPlay member and Works Gourment Burger Bistro employee Melissa Cunningham. The national office contacted United Way Ottawa about her story as featured throughout 2011-2012, and Melissa gave her consent for the story to be used again.

"I'm glad I have a job" said Melissa. "But I know lots of people who don't have one. I hope my story can help other people and they can get a chance like I got."

From Recipe For Success To Engines Of Success

Springtime at LiveWorkPlay always means event time! It started on April 12 with Recipe for Success, our annual auction and culinary adventure. More than $40,000 of net proceeds were raised thanks to generous bidders, donors, sponsors, and the energetic efforts of co-hosts Derick Fage from Rogers TV and Sandy Sharkey from 93.9 BOB FM. Special thanks to our presenting sponsor TD and their great team of volunteers!

Just four days later many of those in attendance at the auction gather on April 16 at the Canadian Museum of Nature for a special LiveWorkPlay ceremony celebrating National Volunteer Week. His Excellency The Right Honourable David Johnston Governor General of Canada helped in making this a very special evening. A clear highlight (see video link, right) was honouring current volunteer and board member Pennie Styan who is now in her 15th year of service!

Engines of Success is an annual celebration of LiveWorkPlay members, family, volunteers, employers, community partners, and others who help the Ottawa community welcome people with intellectual disabilities to live, work, and play as valued citizens. St. Anthony's Banquet Hall was packed with 250 guests that really got into the spirit of the June 14th evening with shouts of encouragement, applause, and even a standing ovation!

There was a lot to celebrate, including a variety of award winners. Melissa Cunnhingham and Heather McAdam received Ambassador Awards for their notable efforts in advocating for the employment of people with intellectual disabilities and their involvement with United Way Ottawa efforts to draw public attention to employment issues. 

Robert Jarecsni and Jeremy Robin were recognized with Good Life awards in recognition of their determination to follow their dreams. Graeme Fraser and Vaughn McKinney represented Ottawa area Rotary clubs and accepted the first ever Community Ambassador Award, presented to an individual or organization that partners with LiveWorkPlay to promote the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. The Media Award went to Axiom News, in recognition not only of their significant coverage of LiveWorkPlay stories and issues, but also for their dedication to sharing news about people with intellectual disabilities in a way that values and respects their place in society as citizens.

Last but not least, co-sponsors Wellar Consulting and young philanthropist Sneha Gupta gave out cheques of $200 each to four TOMORA (The On My Own Recgonition Award) recipients. TOMORA celebrates individuals with intellectual disabilities who move to a home of their own in the community and gives them a bit of cash to help ease the financial pressures of setting up their new living quarters!

After Engines of Success comes the longstanding tradition known simply as The Pool Party. It was yet another beautiful sunny day on June 16 as everyone headed out the Harris household in Stittsville for great eats, a spirited cannonball contest, and lots of great conversation. 

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 450 fans!

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 old phone number 613-235-9550 still works and you can also call 613-702-0333. Either number will get you to our complete directory!

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!

LiveWorkPlay Springs Into Celebration!


Helping the community welcome people with intellectual disabilities
to live, work, and play as valued citizens! 
LiveWorkPlay [NEW ADDRESS!]
Ottawa, ON K1J 7T2
613-235-9550

  
Recipe for Success April 12

The Recipe for Success Culinary Adventure and Charity Auction for LiveWorkPlay is almost here: Thursday, April 12 at St. Anthony's Banquet Hall.

We are thrilled to announce that one of our most important event traditions continues: our first and only title sponsor for the past 12 years has been MBNA Canada Bank, and now as TD Bank the tradition is continuing!

Also back (for their second year) as co-auctioneers we are thrilled to see the return of Sandy Sharkey from 93.9 Bob FM and Derick Fage from Rogers Daytime!


Also back as major prize donors are VIA Rail and WestJet with travel packages that will be featured in the live auction. By April 6 you will be able to see the entire silent and live auction program at http://recipeforsuccess.ca!


Celebrating National Volunteer Week (April 15-21)

It's always difficult figuring out how to honour the wonderful volunteers at LiveWorkPlay. So we are grateful to Volunteer Canada for helping us organize a very special guest to help us out: His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston Governor General of Canada!

On Monday, April 16, LiveWorkPlay is hosting a special volunteer recognition event at the Canadian Museum of Nature. The purpose is to recognize years of service.

"It's something we've always wanted to do," says Fran Childs, Volunteer Coordinator. "We have many volunteers with multiple years of service and we would like to acknowledge and celebrate their dedication."

Due to space limitations, tickets (no charge) are available only to those who have received an invitation. All LiveWorkPlay members and their families are invited to attend. If you are a LiveWorkPlay volunteer we definitely want to see you at this event, so contact Fran for more information!

Foolish Family Feast March 30

After the long (but not so hard) Ottawa winter it was great to see a big turnout of 120 for the Foolish Family Feast at St. Anthony's Banquet Hall. Everyone comes out of hibernation at this time of year, and it's a great way to launch the exicting spring season at LiveWorkPlay!

The theme for this event used to change every year, but after a last-minute decision to have a "silly hat" theme in 2011 that proved wildly popular, it's now an annual tradition!

The hats were silly, the food was delicious, and the company was friendly and engaging! The evening was short on ceremony, but included presenting those who took part in the LiveWorkPlay Caribbean Cruise with some photo enlargements from the trip.


Recognition, Welcoming, Work!

The Foolish Feast offered a chance to recognize Alison Sochasky (pictured below left) who is nearing completion of a successful student placement with LiveWorkPlay as part of her Developmental Services Worker program at Algonquin College. Alison spent much of her time learning about Employment Supports with Jen Boswroth, but was also very active in supporting Recipe for Success. You will have a chance to thank her on April 12!


Jen and Ali have been very busy working on the new LiveWorkPlay summer jobs initiative! Fortunately some great partners have been enlisted, including funding support from United Way Ottawa and in-kind partnerships with the Youth Services Bureau and Rotary clubs of the Ottawa region. Our growing partnership with Rotary now includes a new LiveWorkPlay corporate membership.


Celebrating World Down Syndrome Day (March 21)


On this day, let us reaffirm that persons with Down syndrome are entitled to the full and effective enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Let us each do our part to enable children and persons with Down syndrome to participate fully in the development and life of their societies on an equal basis with others. Let us build an inclusive society for all. ~ United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

If this announcement reminds you of LiveWorkPlay's vision, mission, and values statements, it's not because the Secretary-General is borrowing our ideas. It's actually the other way around: our statements were strongly influenced by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities!


It was great to see LiveWorkPlay member Paul Knoll contributing to the celebration of this international event with a speech at his workplace, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.






Staff Retreat: Focus On Progress

The Board of Directors undertook an enormous strategic exercise in 2010-2011 that result in the new mission, vision, and values adopted by members at AGM 2011. In 2012 the board is now tasked with setting a course to realize those objectives over the long term.

It is with this backdrop that the staff team set aside a weekend in March to spend time together and reflect on how well their work is contributing to that mission. This included evaluating progress towards helping the Ottawa community be more welcoming and inclusive, helping members with their individual life goals, and discussing the staff relationship to the financial and strategic position of the organization itself.

One of the tools the team used is the document 9 Key Traits: Next Generation Organizations to consider LiveWorkPlay operations in the light of these Next Generation nonprofit characteristics:


1. Impact Driven
2. Finance and Business Savvy
3. Continuous Learning
4. Shared Leadership
5. Wired for Policy Advocacy
6. Multicultural/Culturally Competent 
7. Ambiguity of Work-Life Boundaries
8. Constituents as Thought Partners
9. Boards as Value Add

Check out the rest of the document and tell us what you think: is LiveWorkPlay traditional or next generation? You can answer this question as part of our Facebook poll.

LiveWorkPlay Golf Tournament 2012

Big news! By request the tournament has been moved up to August 7 to avoid the busy times that September brings.

More big news! ClubLink has offered the opportunity to host this year's tournament at the Kanata Golf & Country Club, 7000 Campeau Drive. After many years at ClubLink GreyHawk, it will be fun to try something a little different!
 
Report On The Ontario Budget

With information from Community Living Ontario, LiveWorkPlay has prepared a brief report on the March 27th Ontario Budget with information specific to the potential impact on Developmental Services.

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 350 fans!

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

New Office (And Old Number) Ready To Go

Last edition LiveWorkPlay was just getting settled into our new office at 301-1223 Michael Street, K1J 7T2. The minor renovations have been completed, and our old phone number is back up and running as well. You can reach us at 613-235-9550 or 613-702-0333.

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!
 

Welcome To LiveWorkPlay 2012!

Helping the community welcome people with intellectual disabilities
to live, work, and play as valued citizens! 
LiveWorkPlay [NEW ADDRESS!]
Ottawa, ON K1J 7T2
613-702-0333

 
Please Like Us Again

Just a quick note off the top: 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, but the cost of acquiring the name was the Facebook limitation that page names cannot be changed if the page has more than 100 followers. To change the name we had to reduce our followers and now we need to invite everyone back again! Please go to facebook.com/liveworkplayfans and click the LIKE button at the top, and be sure to invite your friends to do the same!

In addition to the new name (which brings the main benefit of our page showing up first in searches for LiveWorkPlay) the other good news is that we did not lose any of our content: the hundreds of photo albums, videos, stories, and comments are still there. Never seen a Facebook page? Give it a try. You don't need a Facebook account to view it. If you are on Facebook, please say hello! 

Saying Goodbye to 2011

It seems like only a few weeks have passed since our last edition in the middle of November, and yet here we are in a new year! 

The winding up of 2011 was dominated by two traditional LiveWorkPlay celebrations: the Festive Family Feast on December 9 and the New Year's Eve Dinner & Dance on December 31. The Feast was heavily attended and the big hit of the evening was a simple reading of "good news announcements." They were filled with stories of people with intellectual disabilities enjoying their homes, jobs, friends, and community! You can click here to read some of them.

There were some surprises under the Christmas tree for LiveWorkPlay. First, the Realtors Care Foundation came through with a donation of $3400! Later in the month a donor that wishes to remain anonymous contributed $2000 and a very nice note.

As it has for the past 14 years, the year ended with a LiveWorkPlay New Year's Eve bash. In recent years members have asked for an affordable gathering in the comfort of familiar faces, which once again resulted in attendance in the 75-100 range. It was a great surprise to see the return of Carlo Lombard who provided DJ services on behalf of Quality Entertainment. Carlo does not work as a DJ very often anymore, but he stepped up for the opportunity to host the LiveWorkPlay party (he was our DJ three years ago).

The St. Anthony's Banquet Hall buffet was delicious, but the highlight of the evening had to be from about 11:30 until midnight when absolutely everyone was on the dance floor!

The news for 2010 was dominated by the dramatic growth of the LiveWorkPlay volunteer team, and the scope and importance of volunteers in helping us realize our mission has continued to progress. New recruits appear on a weekly basis with strong attendance at monthly orientations.

There were important developments in all areas. In "live" news there is still nothing quite as exciting as when one of our members moves to a home of their own, and the daily successes of those who have made this transition are always newsworthy.

In "play" news there were trips to foreign lands and trips down the street for a night at the pub. People are getting out more, exploring new cultural and recreational opportunites, and expanding their social circles!

But the big story for 2011 has to be the explosion of LiveWorkPlay members seeking paid work in the community. The LiveWorkPlay profile as an agency capable of matching employees and employers has increased dramatically through involvement with the United Way Ottawa EARN initiative, as well as the co-hosting of the Building A New Workforce event with Rotary clubs from the Ottawa area. 

Here Comes 2012 

It's been a flurry of activity so far in the new year. The LiveWorkPlay office is moving to 1223 Michael Street (just east of St. Laurent Shopping Centre). See the end of this blog for more details. The official move-in date is February 1, but the entire staff team has been pitching in to make the transition throughout the month of January. The goal is for a professional space where staff can do their work effectively, but also a welcoming place where LiveWorkPlay members and guests can feel at home.

Change is never easy, so just to make the move a little more exciting, LiveWorkPlay is supporting a ten-day bus and boat trip that departs on January 28. Members will travel by charter bus to New Jersey, take a tour of NYC and spend the night, and then board the Norweigian Gem which will motor south for a week in the Caribbean!

The fifteen members taking part in the trip have been saving to cover their personal expenses for more than a year. Travelling part of the trip by bus (the depature port is New Jersey) not only keeps it affordable, but it offers a more inclusive experience! LiveWorkPlay members will be travelling as part of a larger tour group, as with last year's very successful New Hampshire bus trip. LiveWorkPlay members do require staff support at various times while traveling, but most of the time their needs are no different than those of other travelers. Being part of a tour group offers lots of opportunity for LiveWorkPlay staff to be in the background so members can have a great time making new friends.

Also on the horizon: the March 30 Foolish Family Feast and the Recipe for Success Annual Live & Silent Auction event on April 12. Auction planning is already well underway, and LiveWorkPlay is thrilled to announce the return of the dynamic hosting duo of Derick Fage (Rogers TV Cable 22) and Sandy Sharkey (BOB FM 93.9).

According to last year's guests, in terms of auction events with multiple hosts, this inaugural effort by Derick and Sandy rivaled an all-time favourite from the year 2000, when Cyndi Edwards, Jim Watson, and Dave Smith had the audience laughing and bidding up a storm. Mayor Watson opened the live auction last year, and was joined in the audience by Councilor Scott Moffatt, MPP Yasir Naqvi, and other notable names. We hope they will return in 2012 and that many others will join them! 

Tax Planning? Don't Forget RDSP!

The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) helps Canadians with disabilities and their families save for the future. If you are a Canadian resident under age 60 and are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (Disability Amount), you are eligible for an RDSP. Earnings accumulate tax-free, until you take money out of your RDSP. Parents or guardians may open an RDSP for a minor. With written permission from the holder anyone can contribute to the RDSP. Once you open an RDSP, you may apply for the Canada Disability Savings Grant and Canada Disability Savings Bond.

To learn more about how the RDSP works, see RDSP Overview. You can also attend an RDSP session in Ottawa on February 6 at the Ottawa Public Library.

A New Year For People First Ottawa

People First of Canada, People First of Ontario, and LiveWorkPlay Working Together to support the launch of a new English chapter of People First in Ottawa in November 2010. It was quite a busy first year. The chapter hosted its first Annual General Meeting on January 14, expanding the Board of Directors to 5 members. The membership also voted to change the name of the chapter to People First Ottawa (instead of People First of Ottawa). The annual report spoke of a busy year in 2011 with much to be done in 2012.

Re-elected to the board (but shifting positions) were Emily Menard (President), Josee Varin (Vice-President), and Jennifer Harris (Secretary). Newly elected were Joshua Balanaser (Treasurer) and Jalynn Plaus (Member at Large). Josee is taking on some new responsibilities with People First of Ontario so she decided she could best serve Ottawa as Vice-President, providing experienced leadership when Emily is not available. One of the first actions of the new board was to announce that all chapter members in good standing are welcome to attend future board meetings. Before the meeting adjourned, members had already scheduled a meet and greet social event in February, a board meeting in March, People First of Ontario President Kory Earle as a guest speaker in April, and participation in the People First of Peterborough annual conference (expected in late May).
 
Reaching Out In The Ottawa Community & Beyond

It's been a great couple of months for meeting new people and organizations. Locally this includes continuing to build the relationship with Families Matter Co-op and getting to know the team at Developmental Services Ontario Eastern Region (DSOER). Beyond the city limits LiveWorkPlay staff have been attending "lunch and learn" opportunities at The Mills Community Support Services, sometimes contributing as presenters, as was the case on January 13 when Fran Childs delivered "Creating a Welcoming Community
One Person at a Time" sharing the amazing outcomes from the LiveWorkPlay volunteer matching initiative.

Supporting social change requires reaching and engaging a wide audience of citizens who can contribute not only through their own inclusive attitudes and actions, but by helping to influence social policy at the local, provincial, national, and international levels.

One of the most important contributors at the provincial level is Community Living Ontario, which has been hosting a series of "Vision Blogs" at communityliving.ca which are described as "an opportunity for people who support the community living movement to write from a personal perspective on our key priorities...to share their own experience and thoughts on ways to move forward as a movement."

The current Vision Blog feature is by LiveWorkPlay co-leader Keenan Wellar. Here's a snippet from the article with the intriguing headline On Target: T-Shirt Model Generates Hope for a World that Includes People with Intellectual Disabilities.

"Welcoming and including people with intellectual disabilities in our community requires a variety of critical supports...but I have a pretty good idea what most people with intellectual disabilities are after in life: they want a home of their own – to start out in a tiny little apartment just like so many of us did – to have their own dishtowels and a bottle of squeeze ketchup in the fridge. They want a real paying job. They want real friends – not just paid people catering to their “needs.” They want to love. And to be loved.

Message From Cecelia Taylor (Chair)

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to wish a happy new year to all of our members, volunteers, and supporters! It has been an exciting and busy four months since the Annual General Meeting. I am honoured to have been elected Chair by my colleagues, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share a brief summary of the work that the board plans to tackle for the remainder of our term in 2012.

We have 4 more official board meetings planned between now and the end of June. We will also meet again in the summer and fall for an AGM planning session. I thought it might be of interest to our members and others to know our schedule between now and June. Here it is in brief:

March
  • Financial planning and budgeting report review (quarterly)
  • Financial condition and activities report review (quarterly)
  • Strategic discussion: if financial surplus arises, what are appropriate priorities for disposition?
  • Strategic discussion: future growth of LiveWorkPlay: opportunities and limits.
April
  • Treatment of members policy report review (annual)
  • Treatment of staff policy report review (annual)
  • Communication and support report review (annual)
  • Strengthening of board: refining description of board member responsibilities.
May
  • Compensation and benefits report review, external (annual)
  • Compensation and benefits report review, internal (annual)
  • Strategic discussion: supporting the continuation of a quality staff team.
June
  • Financial planning and budgeting report review (quarterly)
  • Financial condition and activities report review (quarterly)
  • Strengthening of board: refining board recruitment and orientation process.
Most of these items are known as “policy reviews” and the scheduling of those reports repeats year to year. Between meetings the board works with the Executive Staff to say abreast of issues in the developmental services sector and other trends that could impact on the work of our organization. Where warranted, discussions about such developments become part of the formal meeting agenda.

From time to time the board reaches out to the membership for direct feedback on strategic directions. Last year our focus was on reviewing the mission, vision, and values and we received valuable input from members, partners, and other supporters. The outcome was adoption of our exciting new guiding statements at the AGM!

I hope that this has offered some insight into the governance of LiveWorkPlay. In future the board will look forward to sharing more with readers of the LiveWorkPlay Blog!

LiveWorkPlay Has A New Address

LiveWorkPlay
301-1223 Michael Street
Ottawa, ON K1J 7T2
613-702-0333

We are currently working to have our existing main phone number 613-235-9550 moved to our new location. Our new main phone number is 613-702-0333 and this number works NOW. When 613-235-9550 is moved (what they call “ported”) to our new location, it will simply be forwarded to 613-702-0333, so either number will get you to the same place. What does this mean?

It means starting NOW when you need to reach us by phone at the office, please call 613-702-0333 where you will hear a message with all of the new staff extensions.

As you all know, moving is difficult, and technology items like telephone systems are often the most difficult of all. If you experience any problems, we thank you in advance for your patience. It has been a very busy time continuing  our daily work while moving our office and also preparing to support the Caribbean cruise trip which departs this Saturday. Almost half of the staff team will be on the trip, so please respect that our staff resources are at half of our usual capacity.

The staff members working in Ottawa during the cruise are: Allison Moores, Jen Bosworth, Natasshia Lee, George Kranitis, Daniel Harris, and Anthony Stratton. We'll also have Jennifer Cunningham stepping in for some additional part-time duties.

Fran Childs, Grace Hudson, Keenan Wellar, and Julie Kingstone along with volunteer Andrew Waye will be supporting the cruise. Please do not leave them voice mail messages or send them emails while they are on the trip. Hold your communications until February 13. If your communication can’t wait until February 13, contact Allison at 613-702-0333, and she will help you or redirect your inquiry to another staff member working in Ottawa.

We thank you for your support. It is all coming together at the new office and we are looking forward to receiving many of you at the new location in the weeks to come.

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!