One month is set aside to honour the tireless efforts of individuals, families, and community members who have worked diligently to foster more inclusive communities, particularly for people with developmental disabilities. Community Support month falls in October every year.
In 1981, the federal government made a historic decision and ended direct funding for institutions that housed people with intellectual disabilities. Institutions in British Columbia such as Tranquille, Woodlands, and Endicot Centre were such places that housed the most vulnerable people in our society, living apart from their families and communities, often in isolation and risks of abuse or neglect. This shift was made possible due to the “community living” movement started by family members who worked to ensure a better and more inclusive life for their children who lived in these institutions. In 1996, BC became the first province in Canada to close large institutions for people with intellectual disabilities.
In 1982, Nelson CARES Society, then known as Nelson District Community Resources Society, embarked on a mission to create a more inclusive community. The Society bought four houses in the community and hired Community Support Workers with the objective of providing compassionate care for individuals transitioning from these institutions.
Today, the Society’s Services for Community Living program is now its’ longest-running initiative. It currently provides care for 13 individuals with diverse abilities and employs over forty committed Community Support Workers. The program continues to operate four houses in the community, with a capacity to look after 15 individuals. Funding and referrals come from Community Living BC, a crown corporation that works with people with diverse abilities and their families to provide essential care and support through service providers such as Nelson CARES Society.
At the heart of the Services for Community Living Program is the team of dedicated Community Support Workers who provide person-centered support and address the unique needs of individuals under their care. Their responsibilities vary, which may include personal care, meal preparation, housekeeping, and facilitating active participation in the community. For some, this includes assisting with educational pursuits at Selkirk College, supporting employment goals, enjoying community events, or going on exciting adventures, such as a recent trip to Las Vegas. With the program’s matriarch passing away at the age of 86 just this past September and only one individual from the original group who joined in 1982 still remaining; this serves as a testament to the countless hours and quality of care provided by this exceptional group of caring individuals.
The Services for Community Living team is dedicated to providing each individual with the highest quality of care and person-centered support, with the ultimate aim of fostering independence and a life of dignity, joy, and fulfillment. If this sounds like work that you might enjoy and if you are interested in being part of this essential mission, please contact email@example.com for more information.