Middlesex Community Living celebrates Community Living month by raising the flag and inviting the community for breakfast. Every May members of Middlesex Community Living join the Mayor of Strathroy-Caradoc Township on the front lawn of the Town Hall to raise awareness and the Community Living flag.
“We’ve been doing this for several years now” said Middlesex Community Living Executive Director Sherri Kroll. “It’s our way of kicking off Community Living month. For the month of May, our flag flies high atop the Town Hall flag pole for everyone to see”. The Strathroy-Caradoc Town Hall is situated in the heart of downtown Strathroy in a busy traffic area. The flag is a visual reminder to all who pass it that every community member is valued and appreciated for the skills and talents they possess. Also in May, Middlesex Community Living hosted the 14th Annual Mayor’s Breakfast. On May 20th, Middlesex Community and Strathroy- Caradoc Mayor Joanne Vanderheyden welcomed over 100 guests. Guests enjoyed a delicious breakfast of sausages, bacon, eggs, pastries, yogurts, juice and coffee. Mayor Vanderheyden addressed the group about the importance of building a strong and inclusive community where everyone was not only welcome but supported to grow and attain a prosperous quality of life. The members of Middlesex Community Living have ideas of their own on how to celebrate and promote Community Living month. In an effort to build awareness and give back to their community, members will be performing random acts of kindness throughout the month.
On Friday May 22, Community Living Essex County held their 10th Annual Mayors Luncheon. Each year, this luncheon is held to celebrate Community Living month in the province of Ontario, while serving as a public awareness opportunity for the communities we serve. The theme for 2015 was celebrating Ambassadors of Community Living Essex County. Municipalities , area businesses, service clubs, media, from across Essex County attended with CLEC volunteers, Board Members, direct support employees, Managers and Directors.
With employment as a central theme, the audience heard presentations from Tammy and Paul, two direct support employees who provided the audience a window into their world. Many times direct support employees are the first ones to make direct contacts to resources in the community – serving as our first ambassadors to the community. Eva, a self advocate spoke passionately about her experiences being employed, receiving her first pay cheque and the satisfaction she felt in knowing she was contributing to her municipality as a tax payer. Next, Rosa Amicarelli, Manager of Community Living Supports outlined the new “First Choice – Employment” program and its importance in promoting the hiring of people with disabilities to local employers and municipalities. Finally, Mike Siblani, Owner/Operator of several local Little Caesars Pizza outlets provided a positive and personal testimonial about his experiences as an employer who has hired people with intellectual disabilities. The event was extremely successful with 130 people in attendance, celebrating our community ambassadors. Visit Community Living Essex County on Facebook to see more pictures from the event.
Guest speakers Julian Escallon, Self-Advocate, and Jeff Dobbin, Partners for Planning Executive Director, joined the Parry Sound community to celebrate inclusion at the 9th Annual Community Living Parry Sound Breakfast with the Mayor. Jeff Dobbin provided an historical context of what life was like for people with an intellectual disability in the 1970’s when institutionalized living was the norm. As a sharp contrast to that old, outdated reality Jeff proudly introduced his friend Julian Escallon to demonstrate, in lived experience, what is meant by the term ‘living a meaningful life in community’. Julian is living proof that a person born with Down’s syndrome is an asset to their community and is able to make as big a difference to the world as any other person can. It was an uplifting and joyous event attended by over 100 people including businesses, residents, families, politicians and people served by Community Living Parry Sound. Local restaurant owner Mike Reeves of Wellington’s Pub and Grill donates the entire breakfast buffet and venue as their meaningful and generous offer of support for our goals of social inclusion.