Community Living spreading message of inclusion
Sean Chase/Daily Observer During their annual general meeting, Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley recognized long-time staff members for their service. In the photo are (left to right) Jannie Porteous and Maureen McKinnon, who were recognized for 25 years service, Tina Williams, who was recognized for 20 years service, and Donna Locke, who was honoured for 30 years service. Missing are Carol Ripley (25 years service) and Chris Collier (20 years service).
Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley (CLUOV) is pledging to work further to remove societal barriers and continue aggressive spreading their message of inclusion.
The agency took stock of its work and progress over the past year during its annual general meeting Thursday night at the Clarion Hotel in Pembroke. In his remarks, executive director Chris Grayson challenged his staff and supporters to remain vigilant as they shift towards a more inclusive mandate as they continue to ensure quality of life for people in the community is enriched and enhanced.
“We are not standing for the status quo,” said Grayson. “We are not a status quo organization. We have demonstrated again and again that we are going to continue to do the right things for the right reasons.”
The organization has grown by 40 per cent over the past four years with an operating budget of $7.2 million. With the expansion has come the need to review efficiencies, succession planning and the over structure of the agency's operations, Grayson noted.
“We have momentum,” he said. “There are things that are always going to slow us down but that things are going so quickly in the right direction that a few speed bumps are not going to slow us down.”
Community Living will be focusing their strategic plan to reduce ownership and operations of housing stock and work with partners, landlords and entrepreneurs to find suitable community housing, Grayson added. The agency hopes to sign a 10-year deal in 2018 with the Petawawa Housing Corporation that could see three individuals relocate to the Riverview apartment on Victoria Street.
CLUOV had much more to celebrate this year. The agency has received the provincial James Montgomerie Community Award for demonstrating leadership and innovation in furthering the Community Living movement. It also won the Social Media Award for the effective use of social media to promote the 31 Days of Inclusion campaign in May. These awards were created by Community Living Ontario to recognize the work of their agencies and were presented on Sept. 13 during a ceremony in Niagara Falls.
CLUOV also presented the 2017 Executive Award to Mulvihill Drug Mart for their years as a supportive and engaging community partner. The business was hailed for ensuring the clients that Community Living support have the first aid supplies available in their homes. Furthermore, Mulvihill Drug Mart has gone above and beyond to monitor the health and wellbeing of their customers from Community Living wih the pharmacists having a thorough understanding of the medication histories of their clients, noted CLUOV chairwoman Holly Woermke.
The board of directors said goodbye to retiring members Elaine Clouthier, Jane Dougherty and Christine Reavie, and welcomed new members Bob Smith, Colleen Whittier and Elaine Neigel. Remaining in office as directors are Holly Woermke, Shelley O'Malley, Dave Marcus, Laura Mayo, Keith Rae, Bob Smith, Colleen Whittier, Elaine Neigel and Megan Evans.
The agency also recognized Donna Locke for an impressive 30 years of service. Maureen McKinnon, Jannine Porteous and Carol Ripley were recognized for 25 years of service. Chris Collier and Tina Williams were recognized for 20 years of service. For 10 years of service, CLUOV recognized Connie Edwards, Cindy Nicholas, Kristy Phinney, Amanda Quinton, Kim Rigo and Chris Saulier. For five years of service, the agency recognized Jennifer Angus, Nicole Fortin, Megan Fuisz, Brooke Mulvihill, Shelley Hawkins, Ashley Leedham, Elise Montgomery, Katelynn Paulusse, Tanner Schimmens and Holly Wagner.