The LiveWorkPlay News

With your time and donations, we are helping the community welcome people
with intellectual disabilities to live, work, and play as valued citizens.

A Very Special Festive Feast

The December 6th Festive Family Feast will yet again feature a delicious meal, and guests dressed in their favourite holiday regalia. Red and green outfits are always popular, but there are no hard and fast rules: some guests will celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or other religious and cultural traditions, while others have unique hats or sweaters for enjoying the holiday season.
The festive feast is typically a casual event, but there will be three sets of special guests and ceremonies this year. It starts with MPP Madeleine Meilleur and representatives of the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) formally announcing "$62,000 over one year to enhance LiveWorkPlay's capacity to secure meaningful employment suited to the interests and abilities of persons with an intellectual disability." The work involved with this grant is already underway, and we look forward to thanking OTF, which has a history with LiveWorkPlay that dates all the way back to 1996.

A very special ceremony to follow will be the renaming of the annual LiveWorkPlay Good Life Award in honour of Rob More, a former LiveWorkPlay member who died tragically in the Ottawa bus/train crash of September 18. At a ceremony attended by co-leaders Keenan Wellar and Julie Kingstone, Rob's co-workers at IBM offices on Palladium Drive in Ottawa have renamed their leisure room "Rob's Room" and mounted a plaque in his hono
ur. His family and co-workers have stated many times that while they are still dealing with this loss, they believe that Rob was living the life he wanted to live - a good life. The Rob More Good Life Award will be given annually to up to 4 individuals with intellectual disabilities who realize important milestones in pursuit of their life goals. In 2013 this award went to Spencer Penny and Gage Emond.

Last but not least, we will have a video release party with our friends and partners at United Way Ottawa who visited Imperial Coffee in September to get the story about LiveWorkPlay member Matt Suttie. Matt was hired by Imperial Coffee after a successful summer placement where he impressed his supervisor Cam Legault and Regional Manager Mark McMahon with his can-do attitude, dedication, and willingness to learn. The United Way Ottawa team has produced other videos featuring LiveWorkPlay members and partners, including Jeremy/Parliament Cleaning Group and Melissa/The WORKS and Heather/Westin Ottawa.

Bringing People Together: News

Peter Doyle from the Metro Ottawa newspaper spent time with Alexis Dusonchet and Cooper Gage to learn about how they were matched as fitness partners through LiveWorkPlay. Alexis, who was elected for the first time at AGM 2013 as a LiveWorkPlay board member, talked abocooperut how being matched with Cooper is a great example of the organization's belief that "the community holds the answers" to making Ottawa a welcoming place for people with intellectual disabilities to live, work, and play. Celebrating a similar outcome from the LiveWorkPlay matching initiative, the story of Phil and Catherine (below on each side of Sass Jordan!) has generated interest from far and wide, including Thorold, Toronto, and Pittsburgh (see "Learning & Sharing" below).

There was a similar theme to an article by Hillary Rose in the University of Ottawa's Tabaret magazine. The November issue featured various alumni that have chosen unique career paths, and this include a story about LiveWorkPlay and Julie Kingstone who talked about her attraction and ongoing enjoyment of her role: “I have always been a problem solver. I love the feeling you get from being part of the solution."

Her interview on CBC Radio was not in direct relation to LiveWorkPlay but we were proud of how well Jessie Huggett acquitted herself in talking about her own life as well as issues impacting people with Down syndrome and other disabilities.
Keenan Wellar was featured in the "My Career" section of The Globe and Mail with a question and answer about his job. He invites you to let him know if his description matches your own understanding of his work. Keenan also made some news with United Way campaign co-chair Goldy Hyder, with the duo spending about 30 minutes on 1310 News "Talk To The Hand" with host Ed Hand. Their discussion touched on many subjects but focused in particular on the opportunities of employing people with disabilities.

First Trip Of 2013-2014: Victory!

LiveWorkPlay supports people with intellectual disabilities to enjoy travel, and in recent years joining in with motor coach tours has proven a great way to do it! It's a way to spend time with people you already know, but also to have the opportunity to get to know others. LiveWorkPlay staff and/or volunteers provide support, which is often in greatest demand to manage transition times during trips. But most of the time, their role is simply to be a part of the group, and facilitate conversations and natural interactions with other travelers.

The first trip of 2013-2014 featured motor coach travel to Buffalo for a National Football League game to see the Bills take on the New England Patriots. The home team emerged victorious, capping off a great day of tailgating and soaking up the atmosphere, as well as a visit to Niagara Falls. Check out the photos! The next trip is January 17-24 to Club Med Turkoise. For some this will be a first time visit, and for others it will be their second or third! Why? The welcoming and inclusive staff and guests - it's sort of like being on a bus tour where after a few days everyone knows everyone!

Volunteers: What A Force!

LiveWorkPlay had another great year at the Ottawa Timeraiser. It's a volunteer matching fair, a silent art auction, and a night out on the town. The big twist? Rather than bid money on the artwork, participants bid volunteer hours. This year Volunteer Coordinator Alex Darling and Cooper Gage represented LiveWorkPlay, and the table was busy all night long!
An new team of volunteers has come together as the original members of the LiveWorkPlay Employment Task Force
. Hosted by Manager of Employment Supports Jen Bosworth, the task force is comprised of individuals with a variety of backgrounds and professional networks who are committed to supporting LiveWorkPlay to helps match employers with great employees. The current task force membership includes some individuals who have previous LiveWorkPlay volunteer experience, as well as several newcomers who have been recruited through connections with community organizations and employers. Task force membership is growing, and we'll share more information about members and their roles in the near future.

Highlight: Ottawa Rec Sports

LiveWorkPlay has always believed that inclusive sports and recreation is critical to a welcoming community that respects and appreciates differences while building the connections that can only come from shared experience. There is no real reason for people with intellectual disabilities to enjoy sports and leisure separately from other citizens, but many of our members have reported negative experiences with being excluded or simply not connecting with non-segregated sports and activities. Individuals often blame themselves, but it's all about values, and there are lots of people in Ottawa who value inclusive thoughts and actions.
The organizers and participants of Ottawa Rec Sports provide a great example of what inclusion looks like. In addition to working to provide affordable, high quality sports leagues, Ottawa Rec Sports is also working to build a community environment in each of their leagues. As rec players, they love to see games where teams are getting along well, apologizing for fouls, and enjoying games win or lose. Their primary focus is on creating a league environment where players will face like-minded opponents and have fun games.

One of the biggest Ottawa Rec Sports enthusiasts is long-time LiveWorkPlay member Chris Jones (pictured, closest to the ball). Chris is not only an active member of his soccer team, he has made his mark on and off the field with his team mates. Chris is famous for his power, and is frequently called upon to "give it a boot" on goal kicks. His team often plays on fields distant from his home, and while he is perfectly happy to get to and from games on his own, sometimes play goes late into the night. No problem! Just like other players on the team that don't drive, Chris benefits from thoughtful car-pool efforts.

Learning & Sharing

LiveWorkPlay staff are always looking to stay sharp with the latest training, and also work hard to share with others, which is a great way to learn. Over the past month a sequence of opportunities and events had Keenan and Julie on the road to take part in a variety of highly relevant conferences, symposiums, and gatherings. This included attendance as well as contributions as panelists and presenters at the 2013 Learning Community for Person Centered Practices Gathering, the Toronto Polivery conference (where Policy meets Delivery), and the Interdependence Network symposium on Social Capital with Al Condeluci held in Pittsburgh at Community Living and Support Services.
The whirlwind week provided a wealth of experience and was immediately of use to Keenan in delivering a person-centred and social capital themed Presence to Contribution webinar to an Ontario-wide audience through the Community Networks of Specialized Care (CNSC). Also involved with CNSC, Community Connector Caitlin Fortier attended the recent Dual Diagnosis workshop and Supports Coordinator Allison Moores received up to date training about FASD (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders).

Please Stay In Touch!

Keeping up to date with LiveWorkPlay is easy. You can watch our news page at, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn! Looking to donate? Look no further! Full staff team contact information is available here. We recently received more than 1200 likes on our Facebook page, thank you for your support!
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