There are so many reasons to celebrate in 2022!
Our team at Community Living Huntsville is ready to kick-off both Community Living Month and our not-for-profit organization’s 60th Anniversary in May, and we are excited to take this opportunity to reintroduce ourselves and share how we can support families in North Muskoka.
60 Years in Muskoka
Since 1962, Community Living Huntsville has supported and advocated alongside children, and later adults, with developmental disabilities, and their families, to live dignified and meaningful lives as included, valued, and respected members of their community.
It all started with a group of parents who did not believe it was best for their children to live in an institution separate from their families and their community. Over the past 60 years, while programs and services have evolved, we have remained dedicated to growing a community where everyone can live with dignity, share in every element of living, and have equal opportunity to participate.
Today, our team continues to support children, adults, and families toward a more equitable future where everyone can live, work, and play in meaningful ways in North Muskoka.
Supporting Through Covid and Beyond
There is no doubt the past two years have been very challenging. But with our history of supporting people to connect with their community, we are optimistic for a fresh start for the people and families we support in 2022.
One of the ways we support our community is with our Children and Youth Services team, which includes Resource Consultants, Family Support Workers, and Child and Youth Respite Coordination.
Resource Consultants work with children aged 18-months to 6-years old, who have a developmental delay or are at risk for a developmental delay, and their families. We work with children and families in their homes, as well as in EarlyON programs, daycares, and schools, to assess development, provide recommendations to support development, and help build skills.
Your child does not need a diagnosis to access our supports. We accept referrals from parents, or through organizations, schools, and daycares with parents’ consent.
All children grow and develop at different rates, and our Resource Consultants, using our assessment tools, can help determine whether a child may need added support to further develop skills, like fine and gross motor skills or social skills, among others. We can support skills building through play-based activities and interactive learning that involves the family.
Our Resource Consultants also support licensed childcare centres to create inclusive environments and facilitate the transition to school. We work with our partners, like childcare providers, schools and community organizations, to connect families with other beneficial services, too, and nurture a network of support for families.
Family Support Workers
Family Support Workers support children and youth aged 6 to 18 or 21, who are diagnosed with a developmental disability, and their families through important life transitions – like moving from public school to high school to adulthood – and help connect families with information, funding, resources, community partners, and more, as needed.
Family Support Workers encourage young adults to create goals for the future and build the community connections that can help them achieve those goals. It is all about opening doors in an inclusive community where children, youth, and young adults feel a sense of belonging, value, and respect, and where they can participate and contribute in meaningful ways however they choose, now and into future.
During the pandemic, our Children and Youth Services team worked hard to remain connected to families in ways that met their unique needs. Every family’s circumstance was different. Some families, for example, saw virtual access to services as a boon, while others experienced seemingly insurmountable barriers in the shift to online. Our team’s goal was to walk beside families, listen to them, and, whenever possible, support them to overcome those barriers. Despite the tumult of the last two years, the team focused on inspiring possibilities for the children, youth, and families we support.
And that is the theme for Community Living Month 2022 in May: Inspiring Possibilities.
For six decades, Community Living Huntsville has remained dedicated to inspiring possibilities for the inclusion of community members who live with developmental disabilities, and their families. We know our communities are stronger when everyone listens to and honours the voices, respects the rights, and values the contributions of all community members.
To that end, we invite you to join in our Community Living Month celebrations:
- May 6 to 31– Community Living Month Best Decorated Window Contest: take a stroll along Downtown Huntsville’s Main Street to view participating Downtown Huntsville BIA members’ blue and green window displays
- May 6 – Community Living Blue and Green Day: a virtual selfie challenge in North Muskoka
- May 6 – Shine a Light on Community Living: blue and green outdoor light installations at Huntsville Civic Square, 37 Main Street East, Huntsville, and Community Living Huntsville, 99 West Road, Huntsville
- May 9 – Community Living Flag Raising at Huntsville Town Hall: a community celebration on Monday, May 9, at 11:30 AM with speakers and refreshments – everyone is invited!
You can find more details about upcoming events by visiting our website at clhuntsville.ca.
We wish everyone a very happy spring and are looking forward to a fresh start as our community reconnects in person!
You can learn more about our programs and services for children and adults, including Resource Consultants, Family Support Workers, Community Participation, Supported Employment, Planning Services, Supported Independent Living, and Supported Living, at clhuntsville.ca.
And if you have any questions about our Children and Youth Services programs or program eligibility, or would like to make a referral, please contact Stacey Bullock at 705-380-4144 or Stacey.Bullock@clhuntsville.ca.
By Stacey Bullock, Manager, Children and Youth Services and Alison Brownlee, Communications Specialist, Community Living Huntsville