Lennox and Addington Community Living Tour – October 31, 2019.
Today the Lennox & Addington County Autism Network had the opportunity to tour Lennox and Addington Community Living and this was our experience;
We were greeted by the receptionist, who was warm and friendly. She picked up the phone “Hi Deb, two girls are here to see you” click the phone went down.
She popped out of her chair and said “oh, I’d better open the door for Deb”. Sure enough seconds later, Deb comes through the door with her coworker Fran to welcome us for our tour.
I couldn’t help think to myself, isn’t this young lady happy to be here.
I liked that.
I observed knitting on her desk.
I love all things handmade, so I instinctively asked if she made the for fun or sold them.
In fact I do! She continued to tell me they were sold at “The HUB” located downtown Napanee. She went on to say they also sold; homemade fudge, knitted items as well as other items made locally by peoples of Community Living.
I was amazed and had no idea!
I promised I would check it out, and I will.
We trekked into the building, down a short hallway decorated with colourful paintings along the walls.
We reached a large home-like kitchen where several staff could be observed multi-tasking.
Staff prepping egg-muffin sandwiches for a snack, while another staff began organizing pecans for a client to crush.
This client appeared to be happily seated in her wheelchair positioned beside the kitchen island. She was effortlessly stringing beads of a sensory toy that was laying across her lap.
As we were making our exit, I could hear staff prompted her to “help-crush” an ingredient for the fudge they sell at “The HUB” downtown.
We moved along from the kitchen onto the open-concept dining-hall.
Here, many clients seemed to be enjoying artwork while waiting for their homemade snack of egg-muffins.
We were greeted warmly, lots of happy faces saying hello, asking our names and one of us even received a hug.
Next, onto the community room where we saw a small group laughing while playing charades.
To the side of the community room was the sensory room. I see so much potential in this area, someone has put a lot of thought into this area.
A large floor mat, great visual stimulation, calming, colourful water-bubble machine and an array of mirrors.
Moving onto the haunted hallway that held offices, a board-room and the entrance to their woodworking shop.
Deb shared that the group finished their Halloween haunted-hallway as they knew our tour was happening and didn’t want to scare us.
We entered the brightly decorated hallway orange and black streamers.
A few clients followed Deb’s tour into the hallway. They were very interested to know why we were there. More importantly one man wanted to “work”.
A very determined and comical man insisted he be put to work. He was using sign language to tell Deb “shred” and he wasn’t taking no for an answer. ☺️
Thankfully, with some tactful coaching Deb explained “first we will have our snack and then it would be time to work.”
With that the man’s face lit up, he blew her a grateful kiss and was on his way to the dining hall.
Deb and Fran lead us into the small boardroom to discuss services and how they support our community for adults with all types of abilities.
They explained DSO (Direct Service Ontario) or the “passport program” that allows families and/or individuals up to $5000 annually (depending on government changes).
As well as where you are on a wait-list for services such as Community Living supports which is a fee-for-service.
It was explained to us, in order to get a fee-for-service “passport” you must go through an assessment process which can take between 4-6 hours to complete.
But, often times this process can be broken down into multiple sessions to make it more manageable for each individual.
The questions are asked to make determinations on independence and amount of care/assistance required when receiving support.
Deb spoke about how Lennox and Addington Community Living helps facilitate support for students transitioning from high school into adulthood.
Ranging from work-programs, assistance with resumes or mentoring skills to begin working.
Should an individual not quite be ready for a job, but volunteering may be a better starting option to gain necessary skills hopefully leading to working opportunities.
With our tour coming to an end, Deb and Fran led us back to the entrance.
It is here we had the opportunity to speak with Barb Fabius the Executive Director of Lennox and Addington Community Living, where she has been employed for an impressive 18 years.
Interesting fact: Lennox and Addington Community Living celebrated 50 years serving our community last year.
Barb welcomed us into her office with a firm but friendly handshake ready to listen to our story.
We were left looking forward to beginning a partnership, to utilize space in their kitchen facility for adult cooking classes in hopes to encourage independence.
Lots of great ideas shared today to support our community with transitioning, mentoring, volunteering, working, adulthood, life-skills and independence.
To say we left feeling like our brains would explode with all this new information is an understatement.
Special thanks to everyone at Lennox & Addington Community Living who made this tour a very memorable experience.