FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORONTO, ON, April 27, 2023 — This May, Community Living Ontario (CLO) leads the celebration for “Community Living Month.” An annual, province-wide awareness campaign, Community Living Month promotes authentic inclusion for the more than 100,000 people in Ontario who have an intellectual disability and their families.
People with an intellectual disability (which includes diagnoses such as Autism, Down Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome) face challenges in their cognitive functioning that affect areas of daily living. Because of this, they often face negative stereotypes and assumptions that underestimate their strengths, contributions, and potential, and exclude them from many parts of society.
Three subject-matter experts are available to speak with the media:
- Michael Jacques: President, Board of Directors, Community Living Ontario — Michael is a published author, board president, Sobeys frontline worker, and public speaker despite his not being able to read or write. Michael has also been awarded “Citizen of the Year” in his native Pelham, Ontario and lives with autism and intellectual disability. In his youth, Michael’s participation in CLO’s Reaction for Inclusion (R4I) youth movement taught him that he has a right to be part of the community, participate, and contribute to society in a meaningful way. “Until I participated in R4I, I didn’t fully understand the meaning of authentic inclusion,” says Jacques. “This knowledge has fostered real empowerment and success in my life, and in turn, allowed me to help others succeed.”
- Chris Beesley: CEO, Community Living Ontario — As the father of someone who has an intellectual disability, Chris lives inclusion every day. As CEO, Chris works with CLO’s 115 local associations, governments, policy makers and educators across the province. “It’s time that people with intellectual disabilities take their rightful place in society,” says Beesley. “We all belong, and Community Living Month is just one way we help to empower people with lived experience and educate others around what is meant by authentic inclusion.”
- Nicole Flynn: President, Council of Community Living Ontario — Nicole has been on Council since 2018 and currently serves as President. Hailing from the rural area of Madoc, Ontario, Nicole is a graduate of the Loyalist College General Arts and Science diploma program (not modified). Nicole considers herself a lifelong learner and one of her goals is to obtain a university degree. With a focus on human rights, diversity, and inclusive communities, Nicole believes in freedom, power, and prosperity for everyone. Nicole emphasizes the importance of recruiting self-advocates to increase the power of their voices and ability to be heard and seen as people.
Community Living Ontario is a nonprofit organization with 115 local associations dedicated to helping people who have an intellectual disability and their families advocate for meaningful inclusion in their lives and communities. Learn more at communitylivingontario.ca.
For more information or to book an interview, please contact Lisa Tabachnick, Director, Marketing, Communications & Foundation, at 416-447-4348 ext. 229 or firstname.lastname@example.org.