Fall/Winter 2016-17

This year Community Living Belleville and Area celebrated 65 years of supporting children, adults and seniors with an intellectual disability.

When we look back over the years and the transition from large congregate settings to community homes, we recognize that the journey of supporting people with residential options is ongoing. People want to live in homes that they choose. These could include community homes, apartments, home share, intentional community consortiums, retirement homes, etc. It is also important for people to be able to afford their homes as well and that there is a wider range of inclusive, community based options.
Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services, was recently quoted as saying, "There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to housing. To identify truly innovative solutions we need to work together to create sustainable options for individuals to support greater inclusion of people with developmental disabilities."  This poses the question:  Since all people are citizens of our communities and municipalities, where does the responsibility lie to provide affordable housing?  On Wednesday, November 30, 2016, a Developmental Services Housing Forum took place to bring together representatives from both the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Housing.  Chris Ballard, Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy stated, "We want to ensure that all Ontarians have the opportunity to realize their full potential and inclusive and suitable housing is a critical step towards achieving this."
Approximately 360 community agencies deliver a range of residential and community participation services and supports.  There are 70,000 adults with an intellectual disability in Ontario with varying needs. The Ministry of Community and Social Services created a Developmental Services Housing Task Force to encourage creative, inclusive and cost effective housing solutions for people with an intellectual disability.  This task force included some family members and the group was also present at the Housing Forum.  The Ministry of Community and Social Services also allocated $5.6 million for 18 housing demonstration or research projects recommended by the Developmental Services Housing Task Force. While the situation is getting focus and movement is happening, it is important for families and agencies to look to our municipalities and meet with builders to increase understanding of what housing options people want and how we work toward the vision becoming reality.
At Community Living Belleville and Area, we are partnering with families and a private builder to identify what is important for people to have in their homes and how technology can be built into affordable housing options for people who want to live independently.  Our Transition to A Home of Our Own project provides opportunities for people to develop the skills and confidence that will prepare them to live with no or minimal support.  We are fortunate, too, that there are experts on safe technology in our community working with the builder so that the requirements can be built in during construction. These partnerships demonstrate that there are members in our community who see the need and want to be champion builders.
It is very positive to see that these discussions on innovative housing options for people are important to our Ministry as well as the Ministry of Housing, and it is just beginning.

On behalf of our Board of Governors, Management, Staff and - most importantly - the people we support, I would like to wish everyone a happy and inclusive holiday and all the best in the New Year!

Chris Semark
Executive Director

Trish FitzGibbon (left) and
Sharon Wright
OF THE YEAR 2015-2016

Trish FitzGibbon was presented with our Volunteer of the Year 2015-16 award, in appreciation for her volunteer work with the late Sherri Courneyea.  See photo at right.

OF THE YEAR 2015-16

At our 2015-16 Annual General Meeting, we presented our Business Partner of the Year 2015-16 award to Union Gas. On hand to accept the award were Phil Langlois and Jody Smith.

In July 2006, Phil, Jody and a team of Union Gas employees, generously provided us with 57 hours of volunteer time to provide a much-needed facelift to the grounds of our former Queen Street out-of-home respite home, replacing dead shrubs with new ones, installing a sand box for the children to play in, landscaping a weed-overgrown area, assembling and installing a picnic table and widening the driveway to enable the children to have easier access to the wheelchair ramp and front sidewalk.

Our Board of Governors Vice-President, Ian Acton (middle), presented the Business Partner of the Year Award to Jody Smith (left) and Phil Langlois (right) of Union Gas
For many years, Union Gas has provided us with  grants from the Vancouver Foundation and the Spectra Energy Foundation in the thousands of dollars, asking only that we use the funds to help strengthen our organization and our community.  We have used those grants to, for example, purchase and install a "Dogipot Pet Station" at the Quinte Dog Park at East Zwick's Park, where a lady we supported made regular visits to the park to ensure that the bag dispenser was full.  We used those grants to purchase four beautiful literature/brochure stands which we in turn donated and installed at both the Belleville Public Library/John M. and Bernice Parrott Gallery AND at Volunteer & Information Quinte.  Some of the people we support made regular visits to the library, the gallery and VIQ to ensure that the stands were kept neat and tidy and that brochures were plentiful.

Union Gas has supported the Mayors' Challenge Charity Golf Tournament for many, many years - not only through very generous donations and sponsorships, but also through sending foursomes of golfers each and every year.  As well, Jody Smith has volunteered his time and efforts as a long-standing member of the Mayors' Challenge Golf Tournament Committee.  Jody recently introduced the committee to Mike Cooney, who also works for Union Gas, and we hope that Mike will continue in Jody's footsteps when Jody's future retirement plans come to fruition.

The efforts of Phil and Jody (and now Mike) and their employer, Union Gas, have made an incredible difference not only for us as an organization and for the people we support, but also for our entire community!  We are forever grateful to these gentlemen and to their employer, Union Gas.

Chris Semark (left) and Sharon Wright (right)with team Bonn Law

The team from Bonn Law did a tremendous job refurbishing a glider swing and picnic table on United Way of Quinte's Day of Caring 2016.

Great job, team Bonn Law! 

Team Bonn Law


In January 2016, we received a three year "Grow Grant" from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to enhance and build upon the success of our Job Readiness program.  The purpose of this grant is to provide people with intellectual disabilities with increased economic stability by preparing each person for the workplace and providing each participant with meaningful and competitive employment opportunities.  In February 2016, we hired an Employment Facilitator, Adam Penney, and in April we ran our first session of the Transitioning to Competitive Employment Program.
The Transitioning to Competitive Employment Program has three progressive sections.  People participating in the program start with in-class Job Readiness training.  This training focuses on workplace expectations, professionalism, attendance & punctuality and a variety of "soft-skills" which have been identified by local employers as essential to workplace success.  From there, participants move onto a Skills Building section.  In Skills Building sessions, participants go to local businesses and experience typical workplace duties and responsibilities.  This is an opportunity for each person to demonstrate their skills and apply what they have learned in class.  Finally, once the training is complete, participants have ongoing support from the Employment Facilitator to help reach their employment goals.  Using a person-centred approach to provide each participant with individualized employment support, we are already starting to see success!
Steve (right) at Donini Chocolate
In August 2016, Steve Lasher was offered the position of Production Associate at Donini Chocolate in Belleville.  Steve, who participated in our first group, did his Skills Building at Donini Chocolate.  Management and employees at Donini Chocolate were so impressed by Steve's personality, determination and abilities that they decided to find a suitable role for him in their workplace.  When asked how he felt when he got his job offer, Steve said "I felt like a million dollars, I couldn't believe it at first!"  Since then, Steve has been working steadily - he has taken on new tasks as well as additional shifts, and continues to thrive at work.  
Melissa baking cookies for DenMar Farms

In November 2016, Melissa was offered a seasonal contract job baking cookies for DenMar Farms' Christmas tree business.  Melissa's desire to bake created a perfect opportunity for her to showcase her skill in this area. Prior to Melissa securing this position, she had to produce a sugar cookie that would satisfy the business owners. Melissa's determination and skills learned through the Transitioning to Competitive Employment program helped to secure her position.  Melissa invites you to try her sugar cookies at DenMar Farms, which opens the weekend of November 25th.
Moving forward, we plan to offer the Transitioning to Competitive Employment program four times annually. We are continuing to reach out not only to the people we support and their families, but to local businesses and community partners.  Our goal is to engage our community in the celebration of a diverse workforce, and to create an understanding and approach to hiring people with intellectual disabilities that is not only respectful but inclusive and collaborative.  With the first year of our grant nearing an end, we are all looking forward to the next success stories to share and seeing the journey to our goal for people unfold.  
If you are an employer or know of an employer who would like to become involved in any of the following ways, please contact Adam Penney or Sharon Wright
  • Workplace tours
  • Workplace skill building opportunities; or
  • Employment opportunities (contract, seasonal or part time).


At our Annual General Meeting, held on June 23, 2016, our Board of Governors was elected as follows:

Paul Richardson, President
Ian Acton, Vice-President
Tom Raycroft, Secretary/Treasurer
Martha Carr
April Nelles
Janice Quade
Martin Smit
Cheryl Vandermeer

Left to right:  Cheryl Vandermeer, Martha Carr, Paul Richardson, Janice Quade,  Tom Raycroft, Martin Smit, Ian Acton and April Nelles


We invited Donna McKeown to write her first submission for our PlainTALK Newsletter, since taking over her new role as Manager of Community Participation Supports in January 2016.

Over the past year, we have had many celebrations to share about where people have volunteered and how we've been able to incorporate our Community Participation Supports group within the community.

In May, Doug and Bev spent the day at the Mayors' Challenge Charity Golf Tournament observing the  "Hole in One" prize

Theresa volunteered with the United Way of Quinte's STOP! & Stuff the Bus collection in August

I am finding it very fascinating to be involved in such a wonderful, dedicated group of people who really are trying to put as many supports into place as possible. I've reconnected with people whom I haven't had an opportunity to see or spend time with over the past few years. I have met wonderful family members and various people from the Belleville area who are joining in on the opportunities that we host at 91 Millennium Parkway.

In April 2016, Meagan volunteered during the Daffodil Campaign to help raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. Meagan and Amar raised over $380.00.

Katlin provided education to students at Sacred Heart School in Batawa. The students were interested in learning about Community Living Belleville and Area.

Our vision of supporting people to volunteer in the community started many years ago, and at the present time there are well over eighty clubs, groups and organizations where people we support are spending their time volunteering.  All of this was in place before I assumed this role, and today I am continuing to keep up with all the activity.  I have so many people to acknowledge and thank for helping me be as successful as I can be in this new role, but I do need to extend my gratitude to Sharon Wright, the Community Participation Supports and staff team members, the Administration team and - most of all - the people whom we support. 


A big Thank You to all the teams that participated in the Continuous Quality Improvement Brag Book celebration in honour of Spirit in Quality Month in October.  People pulled out all the stops on their creativity, putting careful thought into the words they chose for each other and in putting the Brag Books together.  They are fantastic and everyone who had an opportunity to read through them enjoyed them very much.
Thank you to Bev Haight and Sara Stein of the Continuous Quality Improvement Committee for all the planning and organizing for the Brag Books.

On October 27th, we held a 'Celebrating 65 Years Together' BBQ at 91 Millennium Parkway.  Despite a cold wet day, many staff and people we support, as well as several Board members, came out for a bite to eat and of course cake!  Jim Burgess was the BBQ master, out in the rain flipping burgers and hot dogs for everyone to enjoy.  We watched our 'Past to Present' video that was created for our 2015-16 AGM and many enjoyed seeing pictures of themselves and of friends and staff.   It was a great time for all with lots of conversations, many laughs and the reminiscing of years gone by.  Thanks to everyone who made the day a success.
The Brag Books were on display during the Celebrating 65 Years Together BBQ for everyone to enjoy.

Our Brag Books on display at our 65th Anniversary BBQ


Karen Coltman, who began to work for Community Living Belleville and Area in 1997, passed away on July 11, 2016.

Karen loved to play golf, she was fun loving and had a great sense of humor.  She was also a dedicated and loving mother, a strong advocate for the people she supported and she loved working with the people at the home where she worked.  Karen is truly missed by her peers and especially by the people she supported, and by everyone else at Community Living Belleville and Area whose lives she touched.

Kevin passed away on September 19, 2016 at his home. He had just celebrated his 70th birthday. The staff who supported him miss Kevin and remember him for his sense of humor and little practical jokes. 

Kevin always knew exactly what he liked and didn't like and expressed his feelings with absolute certainty. He was willing to try new things and was always curious about exploring. Kevin's gentle politeness and keeping things neat and tidy were appreciated. He loved going to restaurants, concerts and ball games and listening to "oldies".

Laurie passed away on April 6, 2016.  Laurie was a beautiful lady who truly appreciated her family and friends; she was an inspiration to many with her great passion for Country music.

Laurie was easy going and loved to laugh. She enjoyed the opportunity to take a trip to Disney Land with her sister, Candice.  This is a memory her sister and our staff hold very close.

Laurie's name has been etched in a beautiful stone at the Belleville Cemetery, with friends she grew up with. 


Maggie passed away on July 4, 2016.  Maggie was an inspiration and was an important part of the lives of many people.  Maggie put the "Possible" in Impossible.  She was elegant and strong, beautiful and unique.

Not a day goes by without one of us speaking Maggie's name.

Maggie's smile and spirit will live on for eternity and she will be  sadly missed by everyone, including her special family, the Stein's.

Ramon passed away on June 7, 2016.  Ramon, who enjoyed a full, rich and active life, will be fondly remembered by his friends and family.  He spent many days with his family and enjoyed visits with his grandmother Ruth, both at her home and at his.

Ramon was a gentle, pleasant and spiritual man whose faith was important to him.  He attended church with his Uncle Guy and Aunt Wendy.  Ramon volunteered at the Parkdale Baptist church breakfast club at Parkdale School for many years.  He also enjoyed giving back to his community through his involvement with the United Way of Quinte.  Ramon enjoyed spending time with his mom in Toronto and many family celebrations at Zwick's Park.  He was active with his friends.

A gentle soul graced our lives - Ramon will be forever loved and remembered fondly by all who knew him. 

Family Action Committee founders:  (left to right) Lisa Freed, Angela Kirby, Marilyn Jackson and David Kirby.  Janet Chouinard, Director of Child and Family Services is also shown in the background.

Family Action Committee

The local Family Action Committee has been busier than ever over the past year. In partnership, we continue to push forward with an intense focus placed on affordable housing, accessible housing, sustainability of the Transition to a Home of Our Own service and family engagement within our community and abroad. This work is no small task and we take this opportunity to thank the Family Action Committee for their incredible commitment, hard work and invaluable partnership.
During the agency's Annual General Meeting held on June 23rd, 2016, Community Living Belleville and Area recognized and celebrated the Family Action Committee as " Community Partners of the Year" for the 2015/2016 fiscal year. We are very pleased to share that this committee is expanding in its membership this year due to the efforts of the initial core group of parents who continue to go above and beyond in their efforts to bring about positive and inclusionary changes to our community

Over the past year, our partnership efforts expanded to include a partnership with a local builder and visionary leader, Mr. Phil Spry. Mr. Spry understands and appreciates the need for accessible, inclusionary and affordable housing for people with developmental disabilities. Thanks to Mr. Spry and his colleagues, we will be moving the successful Transition to a Home of Our Own service into a brand new "built to suit" apartment setting within the coming year. The apartment will be fully accessible with smart home technologies built into the design. This development not only provides the best laid out designs for those who are interested in participating in the Transition to Home of Our Own service but is also part of the foundational building blocks of a larger vision towards full inclusion, accessibility and elimination of the affordable housing shortage within this community. 
We are excited to share that three more individuals who experienced the Transition to A Home of Our Own service have moved from their family home to more independent living arrangements.
If you would like to get involved with the learning opportunities or the initiatives of the Family Action Committee-Community Living Belleville and Area partnership, please contact us.

Building Constructive Relationships Between Families and Staff

On November 9th, 2016, Community Living Belleville and Area had the pleasure of hosting a workshop lead by Darcy Elks. Darcy travelled from her home town in Pennsylvania to visit three agencies over the course of her recent stay. This one day workshop titled "building constructive relationships between families and staff" highlights the importance of building positive relationships between families and staff and how these relationships are an integral part of effectively supporting persons who receive services.

From left to right:   Kimberly Gavin, Laurie Frandsen, Linda White, Donna Vanderkloet and Darcy Elks

This workshop is designed in a way that assists staff and families to interact through group discussions to better understand one another's perspectives and to encourage the building of good staff-family relationships. A big thank you goes out to Darcy for a wonderful and informative day and to Community Living Ontario for sponsoring this event for us to enjoy and learn from. 

Family Home Providers
Community Living Belleville and Area has expanded family home based supports over the past year with welcoming four new faces to those seeking this support model. We now support fourteen children, youth and adults in our family home services. These families are skilled dedicated families who provide loving and supportive family environments to those they support. The Ministry of Community and Social Services and Ministry of Children and Youth Services are on a continuum of encouraging and supporting family home based support. We know children require a sense of family in order to thrive and more adults with developmental disabilities are choosing family home support versus residential group living options, if they are not able or not ready, to live a more independent lifestyle

We thank the many families that currently offer full time, part time and respite services in their home. This is a large commitment and we are grateful for their supports. The wait list continues to grow and we are always looking for more family home providers who would like to join others in opening their life and home to a child, youth or adult. This can be a very fulfilling and rewarding opportunity. If you would like more information or know of someone who might be interested in providing this service, please contact us. 

Families First
At Peterborough Zoo

Community Living Belleville and Area is pleased to announce the continued support of the United Way of Hastings & Prince Edward!

Through the Community Impact Strategy area "All That Kids Can Be", we have received a three year grant, worth $33,500 per year to sustain program services.

Families First receives only limited funding through the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.  Without financial assistance, we would be unable to offer this vital program to the most vulnerable families in our community. With annual support from the United Way of Hastings & Prince Edward, we are able to continue to ensure that children with disabilities and their families are valued and supported members of our community, and children have the opportunity to reach their full potential. We can continue to help families overcome barriers, build resiliency and become self-sufficient.  Through the support of Families First, we will reduce the feeling of isolation that families and youth feel, and support them to know that they are part of an inclusive and caring community.

Families First currently supports 25 children and youth from 22 families.  Support occurs from a holistic point of view, understanding that what impacts one child in the home also impacts siblings.  Parents receive additional support through the provision of resources and tools that we offer, such as the Positive Parenting Program.  We connect families to our community where they can access help to address issues such as poverty, housing and mental health.  Parents are typically unaware of resources available in our community, potential funding sources for respite and how to navigate the Developmental Services system.

Engagement with Families First ensures children/youth with developmental disabilities are known within the Developmental Services sector, ensuring better continuity of service and transition into adulthood.

Families First has a vast and positive impact on families in our community.


Our 33rd Annual Mayors' Challenge Charity Golf Tournament was sold out on June 7, 2016.  A great day was had by all!  We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the golfers, volunteers, donors and sponsors.  A special thanks to the Mayors and the Warden, to the fine folks at Trillium Wood Golf Club and to Auctioneer Extraordinaire, Mr. Boyd Sullivan!  As well, we'd like to thank the members of the Mayors' Challenge Charity Golf Tournament Organizing Committee:

Ian Acton, CogecoTV
Mike Cooney, Union Gas-A Spectra Energy Company
Don Dafoe, Bell Canada
Patti Gillman, Community Living Belleville and Area
Matt Hamilton, Medigas-A Praxair Company
Jim Pine, Hastings County
Christine Semark, Community Living Belleville and Area
Jody Smith, Union Gas-A Spectra Energy Company
Sarah Tummon-Button, City of Belleville

Team Quinte West, winners of the 2016 Mayors' Challenge Charity Golf Tournament

Team Hastings County

Team Belleville

Team Prince Edward County


Our 4th annual Who's Your Caddy Ladies' Golf Social was, in a word, FABULOUS!

We would like to thank all of our sponsors, including Presenting Sponsor Veridian Connections, Lunch Sponsor Boston Pizza Belleville and Dinner Sponsor Wild Hawg Catering.  Thanks also to prize/gift/activity/auction donors and to the wonderful folks at Black Bear Ridge Golf Club.

Thanks also to all of the awesome volunteers, including all of the musicians - Freddy Vette and the Flames, Definitive Entertainment, Bob Leonard, Rob Riddell, Rob Waite, Dave Bush and Greg Lott - and Master of Ceremonies Extraordinaire, Lorne Brooker!

A million thanks to all you wonderful women who make this day so  very  special!

KUDOS and heartfelt thanks to our exclusive cadre of Caddies:

Carson Arthur
Ross McDougall
John Bonn Tim McKinney
Taso Christopher Shannon Neely
Paul Couillard John-Ross Parks
Tim Durkin Barry Raycroft
Barney Goldberg
Dug Stevenson
Kurt Gregoire Kevin Wells
Colin Keiver Ryan Williams
Ryan Lapalm

We hope to see you all again next year!

The Fabulous Caddies of 2016!

Team Ryan Williams, Winners of the Spirit and Fashion Award

Team Kevin Wells

Team Paul Coolio

Team Taso Christopher


Please join us in extending best wishes to Janice Lynch, Linda Howe, Judy Graham-Bowness and Lois Hogan as they have all retired in 2016.
Collectively this group earned over 96 years of service!
We would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their hard work and dedication over the years and congratulate them on their well deserved retirement!

Janice Lynch

Lois Hogan

Linda Howe (left) and Judy Graham-Bowness


Pictured at left is a group of staff attending Non-Violent Crisis Intervention training, led by our Community Services Manager/CPI certified trainer, Tom DeHaan. 
Community Living Belleville and Area recognizes that human resource development is critical to the success of the organization.  Many training programs are mandatory requirements of the job for Direct Support Professionals as identified by the Ministry of Community and Social Services and others as identified by Community Living Belleville and Area.
We offer the following courses in house at Community Living Belleville and Area:

  • Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation
  • AODA
  • Back Care
  • CPR-First Aid
  • Defensive Driving
  • Fit Testing
  • Medication Administration
  • Non-Violent Crisis Intervention, CPI
  • Personal Outcomes Refresher
  • Workplace Violence


In May, we celebrated Community Living Month.  On May 12th, we were delighted to have the opportunity to host the Belleville Chamber of Commerce's monthly "Business Card Mingle." Snacks were provided by John and Denise Manley of Wild Hawg Catering and the event was well-attended, with about 60 people in attendance.  A big thanks to the Belleville Chamber of Commerce for helping us celebrate Community Living Month!


Team CLBA at United Way of Quinte
Day of Caring

Tanya delivers the Intelligencer

Team CLBA Rides the Big Bike in support of the Heart & Stroke Foundation - this  is our 6th year supporting such a worthwhile cause. Full of fun and generosity, we have contributed close to $3,000.00 over this period of time. Riding the Heart and Stroke bike are, from left to right, Irene Robbins (Team Caption), Whitney LeBrun, Sharon Wright and Jennifer Parks

Tamara stirs up something tasty

Tanya, Tamara and Sherry at Cobourg Beach

Sherry at Viva Las Vegas
Lucas' graduation photo

Jamyla, pre-grad, with her teacher Kyle
Dan celebrated his 40th birthday

CLBA contributes to Jolly Jammies for Sick Kids

Janet Chouinard
Sandra Coates
Patti Gillman
Donna McKeown
Katherine Potts
Chris Semark
Hilary Tugwood
Sharon Wright


Community Living Belleville and Area
91 Millennium Parkway
Belleville, ON   K8N 4Z5
Tel:  613-969-7407
Fax: 613-969-7775