Working Together! Thanks to our direct support professionals!

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Community Living Algoma takes this opportunity to express their appreciation to over three hundred direct support professionals we employ who demonstrate their commitment, dedication, compassion and care for others.  They work tirelessly during these challenging times to ensure the well-being and safety of the individuals they support and their co-workers, while leaving their families each day.  We often hear of the many accolades and appreciation expressed to our first responders, health care workers and long term care workers and they certainly receive our applause and appreciation as well.  We wanted the community to also be aware of the heroes who work in the developmental services sector and make a difference each and every day for the children, youth and adults with an intellectual disability.

“We are very proud and appreciative of the special relationships that our employees have developed with the people they support.  Although the opportunities for being out in the community have been eliminated because of the pandemic, our employees have been very

creative and imaginative presenting opportunities for people to experience a meaningful day during these challenging times” states John Policicchio, Executive Director.

Community Living Algoma issues a communication report on a daily basis to ensure our employees are well informed about actions and measures to ensure the safety and well-being of all.  The report also provides information to employees about resources they can access to ensure they take care of their mental health.  The employees submit stories and photos regularly so that we can share the positive events on our Facebook page and website while we follow all the advice and guidance of the Ministry of Health and Algoma Public Health to ensure we are supporting the community to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 has presented us with a very challenging situation as our focus has always been to support people within their community to foster relationships, obtain employment, participate in meaningful and inclusive community events.  Not only have we had to adjust to the health impact of the pandemic, but we have had to isolate individuals primarily to remain within their homes which has been challenging as most were accustomed to being in their community and with other people on a regular basis. It is understandable that employees and the people we support are experiencing anxiety and fear. We are making every effort to keep a calm atmosphere and to make each day interesting and informative. We accept that one day soon, people will be fully engaged in their beautiful and caring communities throughout the Algoma District once again but for now, practicing physical distancing, hand washing, walks in the neighbourhood and activities within homes is how individuals have been fulfilling their day.

Karl J., a direct support professional with Community Living Algoma said, “I did not think I would ever see a pandemic in my lifetime but it is comforting to know that your employer has your back and understands the strain put on their employees.  Kudo’s to everyone, especially my co-workers who come to work every day and remain positive.”

Geoff G. another direct support professional said, “My employer has supported our team by ensuring the necessary personal protective equipment is readily available and has ensured that staff and the people supported are actively screened and healthy.  We have been able to explore flexibility with our schedules so that we are able to maintain our health and continuing to provide the much-needed support.”

Community Living Algoma extends its appreciation to Algoma Public Health for their leadership, guidance and advice; to our community leaders for ensuring the safety and well-being of all citizens; to the many volunteers and community businesses for supporting us; to CUPE Local 1880-CLA for exploring solutions together; and, to the provincial and federal government for ensuring the well-being of all Ontarians and Canadians.

We want to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful and generous volunteers and staff who utilized their social capital to enlist others to sew cloth masks and gowns. A community working together has amazing power and strength to make a difference.

Most of all, we express our appreciation to the direct support professionals, our heroes at Community Living Algoma.  Working together will get us through the challenges that are ahead of us as we all hope for warmer and brighter days ahead for the people we support, our employees and their families.

For updates and sharing of stories, please visit our website at: www.communitylivingalgoma.org/, and our Facebook page.

Stay safe, stay well.