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Thursday, June 22, 2017
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History
Our name, “Community Living,” has a special meaning.

It’s different, we admit. But considering what we do, we think you’ll agree that our name tells exactly what we’re about. And we hope you’ll agree that not only our name, but also the work that we do and the goals that we have, make perfect sense.

Community Living is a way of life, not a goal. Ordinary people live in communities. Children go to neighborhood schools. Adults work at jobs, get paid for their work, and contribute to the community as productive citizens.

When we began in 1953, for many people who had intellectual (or developmental) disabilities, community living was a dream. It was an objective yet to be realized. Until they finally closed in 2009, some still lived apart in Ontario government institutions. Others were physically in, but had little connection to the community around them — as children, they were in segregated classrooms or in schools far away from the neighborhood children who were their peers; as adults, they were often excluded from opportunities to join the workforce. At all ages, many faced physical and social barriers that kept them from participating in the social and economic world around them.

For more than half a century, Community Living has worked to bring people and their communities together:
 We support individuals as they develop their capacity to live, learn, work and participate in all aspects of living in the community; and
 We engage the community to develop its capacity to welcome and support people to participate in community life in meaningful, productive ways.

The direct service and support we provide is essential for many individuals and their families. Some require physical attention 24 hours per day. Others may only need social or attitudinal barriers dismantled to free them to make their way in the community. In both direct and indirect ways, supporting people to contribute and participate makes good economic sense and produces communities that are vibrant and strong. It’s just the right thing to do.

By now, our name, “Community Living,” will make sense. Rather than call ourselves by the labels that are used to categorize and therefore “separate” people from their aspirations, we take a different approach —declaring in our very name our commitment to strengthening communities so that everyone can belong and participate.

Community Living is a voluntary association of concerned community members. Membership is open to the community. The Members elect a Board of Directors. Community Living Kingston is a non-profit corporation that meets all the requirements for the Ontario government to contract with it. The organization is accountable for the use of public funds according to laws and regulations of Ontario and the City of Kingston. Community Living Kingston is a constituent member of Community Living Ontario and the Canadian Association for Community Living.

Today, this organization is making a valuable contribution to the community. People who need support have it. People who depend on that support are able to add their contribution to the community through participation. We believe that this is a vision and goal that you will share for your community. A complete community includes all its members.
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