Strategic Planning Information Gathering Process Extended Into New Year
The strategic planning process is currently underway at our agency and in the information gathering stage. A vital component in developing an effective 5-year agency strategy that addresses the needs of the people we serve in our community is gathering and reviewing the input of all stakeholders including people we support, families and our employees.

While we have begun the process of requesting feedback in the form of survey submissions, phone interviews and participation in focus groups, we do realize that this time of year is particularly busy for everyone. The month of December is always hectic as we prepare for the holidays, but this year even more so due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic including public health restrictions in our community.

We want to ensure that everyone has ample opportunity to have their voice heard with regard to the future of supports and services offered by our agency, and therefore, the information gathering process will resume again in early January. Please consider taking some time in the New Year to participate in this important work. 

Congregate Day Supports - Building on Common Ground
Originally published in Community Living Ontario's Update Friday - December 11, 2020

To reduce the risk of infection during the pandemic, the traditional 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday congregate day supports, have ceased. Support organizations have stepped up in a myriad of ways, adapting through virtual and socially distanced supports. Some people have adapted very well. Others have not.

Going forward, how are we to provide these supports? Once everyone is vaccinated, will it be back to business as usual?

I believe we should seize this opportunity to re-imagine what day supports could look like.

If you asked people who have an intellectual or developmental disability, “In your ideal world, what would you like your daily life to look like?”. I believe most would want the same things as you and I.

They would hope to feel included, have a purpose and contribute meaningfully to their community. People want to explore their potential, have dreams, learn new things, and feel safe. Like you, people who have intellectual disabilities want a social life they can choose, not be told how to spend their days and who to spend it with.

If we asked parents what they want for their sons and daughters, I believe most would provide similar answers.

The same goes for most direct support professionals, managers, and Board members.

If we can all agree that these are typical of the things we all want in our lives, the question then becomes “How might we support “typical” for all?”

What would it take to move towards individualized, community-based supports?

When we attempt to answer these questions, we must also bear in mind that nobody should ever be the victim of another’s good intentions. This will be a shared decision process. We must take the time to listen and respond to each person’s questions: Can I still see my friends? How will you keep people safe? Will I still be able to count on the same hours of support? Then, a support plan must be developed for each person that is flexible to their needs and interests. It will be gradual. It cannot be rushed.

To support this transition, Community Living Ontario and its Executive Directors’ Committee, is hosting a Community of Practice. This will provide a forum for agency staff from across the province, to consider these and other questions. They will collaborate to examine the opportunities and challenges and to learn from others who have travelled this road, including families and people who receive supports. They will build upon the common ground of those good things in life to which we all aspire.

Government, unions, support organizations, families, people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, and people in all communities will need to step up and play their part.

There is evidence. We will be profiling people’s success stories in the coming weeks, of how they are living their lives in community and how they did it.

In this together.

Chris Beesley
Chief Executive Officer
Community Living Ontario
Reminder - Deadline Extended for Ontario's Reform of Developmental Services Survey Submissions
The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) has put out a survey asking what they can do to improve and reform Developmental Services in Ontario. This is an opportunity to help shape the future of developmental services and provide your feedback on how it looks for you right now. Your input is very important and the deadline has been extended to December 31st.

Please take a moment to answer some or all of the questions. Ensuring that MCCSS hears from people in our community is so important in ensuring that places like Community Living Essex County can continue to provide supports and services for people with developmental disabilities.
Still Looking for Gifts and Love to Support Local?
#ShopLocal Gift Baskets

The Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association is looking to make gift giving a bit easier. They have partnered with the Small Business Centre and a local organization, Local Provisions, to curate four special gift baskets filled with items from independent downtown retailers.

The #ShopLocal gift baskets feature an exciting and innovative array of products from over 14 small businesses in downtown Windsor. This year it’s more important than ever to show community spirit by supporting local businesses and boosting our economy.

These baskets range in price from $50 to $200, and can be ordered ahead for delivery December 11th to December 23rd. Support local!
Holiday Raffle - Not Many Tickets Remaining!
The Hello 2021 Holiday Raffle is fast approaching and tickets are selling fast! Don't miss your chance to win a hot tub spa, $5000 cash, a 55" Samsung TV, or a brand new barbeque. These tickets make great stocking stuffers and gifts for friends and family. The early bird draw is tomorrow, December 18th! You can watch a live stream of the early bird draw on Facebook and Instagram at 1:00p.m. Get your tickets today!
Giving Tuesday
December 1-December 24
Did you know Community Living Essex County is a registered charity? All donations, up to a total of $8,000, made during our Giving Tuesday campaign which runs from December 1st through December 24th, are being matched dollar for dollar by Libro Credit Union! Thank you to our great supporters at Libro Credit Union.

We encourage you to share our Giving Tuesday social media posts with your friends & followers!
Recipe of the Week
Chocolate Strawberry Jelly Roll

While most cake rolls seem time consuming and daunting, this version is foolproof, thanks to an easy and fun method of assembling the cake layer. Delicious strawberries and dark chocolate are added for the ultimate dessert.
Laughter is the Best Medicine
Weekly Poll Question
What is your favourite classic Christmas song?
All I Want For Christmas Is You.
Baby Its Cold Outside.
Last Christmas.
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.
White Christmas.
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.
Poll Results

What do you typically have for Christmas dinner?
Ham 6.8%
Turkey 79.5%
Surf and Turf 4.5%
Other 9.1%