Sault Ste. Marie: Pandemic restrictions may have limited some aspects of daily living in 2020-2021, however, at Community Living Algoma, it also resulted in enhanced partnership with area businesses and continued recognition of the value of volunteers who were absent during this period.
CLA hosted their Annual General Meeting, on June 24, with the theme of “The Best Journey Takes You Home.” This theme was in celebration of the many people supported who have moved, this past year, into community-based housing of their choice where they live independently with supports in place, as required.
The Zoom event, held earlier this evening, drew upwards 50 attendees including people supported, staff, volunteers and area businesses.
“We are very proud to have navigated through a pandemic that none of us fully understood or experienced previously and to watch the growth innovation, creativity and commitment that has created an environment of Positive Energy at CLA,” said John Policicchio, Executive Director. “Who could have imagined, back in March 2020, that the pandemic would be front and centre in our lives, in our country and in our world in June 2021.”
Policicchio expressed his appreciation to all the people that CLA supports and their families; communities across the District of Algoma and CLA’s employees for their dedication, commitment to each other’s wellness as well as for the children’ youth and adults with an intellectual disability, and their families, throughout the District of Algoma, during difficult and worrisome times.
This evening also saw a number of awards presented to area businesses and their staff plus individuals. Community Partner Awards’ recipients included: Laurel Carson at Metro Northern; Joni Cooke at Arthur Funeral Home – Barton & Kitely Chapel; and Vicki Bailey and Andrea Garcia at Northbridge Montessori. Community Partner Awards are for businesses who are making a positive difference for people with intellectual disabilities. Recipients are organizations who build and contribute to a culture of inclusion, a community of acceptance and respect for all people.
Volunteer of the Year Awards were presented to individuals who are making a positive difference for people with intellectual disabilities. This year’s recipients were selected for their volunteering of time; efforts or resources and included Jacques Ribout; Phillip Grisdale and Isaiah Pedatella.
Jacques, who is from Elliot Lake, is a member of the CLA Board of Directors and is the Chair on several committees. He was recognized for his role as a champion for inclusion and accessibility for all people and as Project Manager of renovations at CLA’s new Elliot Lake office. Due to COVID restrictions, Phillip and Isaiah were unable to actively participate as volunteers this past year, however, their recognition was in honour of their already-proven, above-and-beyond commitment to working with people supported.
The virtual AGM event also saw the soft launch of CLA’s new website (www.communitylivingalgoma.org) designed by Miramar Design Studio Inc., multi-media design house based in Sault Ste. Marie. The new bilingual site features many downloadable resources and meets Ontario Accessibility for Ontario Disability Act standards. In content, the website provides answers to how and why CLA supports people with intellectual disabilities in living their best lives.
Community Living Algoma provides supports and services to more than 720 people in the Algoma District who have intellectual disabilities or are on the autism spectrum. Community Living Algoma is committed to the advancement of a community in which all people are recognized as full citizens; achieve personal dignity; enjoy the benefits and responsibilities of independence and are supported to reach their full potential.