53rd Annual General Meeting – President’s Report

September 21, 2015

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We envision a Parry Sound in which people who have a developmental disability can live in a state of dignity, share in all elements of living in the community and have the opportunity to participate effectively. Our Mission is to promote and facilitate the full participation, inclusion, and citizenship of people who have a developmental disability. One of the most significant tasks of the Community Living Parry Sound (CLPS) Board of Directors has always been to contribute to shaping the vision and striving to accomplish the mission, vision, service principles, and strategic directions of this wonderful organization. This past year has been no exception. We are very proud to reflect on some of the accomplishments made in the first year of the current 2014-2017 strategic plan. It was a busy, exciting, and rewarding time to be a board member.

From one of our goals to develop a stronger, more visible role in the community, the Board’s first Marketing Strategy Ad Hoc Committee was struck. Led by board members Lynda Marshall and Lisa Cook, this committee enlisted the ideas of management and staff to develop a comprehensive agency-wide marketing campaign, including ongoing advertising, social media, and a board-specific brochure. With the help of Tricia Bain, the Coordinator of Communications & Training, we have embraced technology in the first ever web portal for board members. The use of social media now quickly highlights and celebrates community events and success stories of the people we serve. The CLPS website is an amazing, current, easily navigated source of education, news and events, as well as resources (both local and province-wide), support services, and careers. It continues to be a valuable source of information about programs and services for children, youth, and adults.

Two of the major tasks completed by the Board this year included the review and revision of our By-Laws and Governance Policies & Procedures. Jo Ann Poglitsh, past president and longest serving CLPS board member, led the By-Law review, patiently simplifying and explaining the “legalese” of the government’s new Not For Profit Corporations Act to us, and finally meeting with our legal advisor to ensure the final By-Laws will reflect the requirements of the Act. Her keen interest and skill in policy development has been invaluable to this organization, not only financially – saving consulting fees – but also practically, resulting in a document with clear language tailored to our needs. We are grateful to Jo Ann for agreeing to stay an extra year on the board, and wish her a happy well deserved retirement.

Part two of that process included the Governance Policies & Procedures review and revision, with myself and Lynda Marshall and invaluable support and wordsmith help from committee members Jane Leadbeater, Supervisor of HR and Administration, and Jo-Anne Demick, Executive Director. We hope that the resulting document will be a practical guide for present and future board members to better understand and carry out their role. One of the new tools developed is a self-evaluation for individual board members and we have discussed the possibility of developing web-based education tools for board members to use. These policies require review at least every three years. One of the challenges of governance policy is to clearly describe the role of the board versus that of management. Fortunately for this board, our one employee, Executive Director Jo-Anne Demick, is very experienced and highly competent. Thank you Jo-Anne for making governance seem easy.

The Addie Street Retrofit/Upgrade Project Ad-Hoc Committee proudly contributed to the completion of the renovated Addie Street residence. This committee was led by board member Deborah Jones, ably assisted by management staff Jill Reevie, Brad Horne, Jo-Anne Demick, Ashli Phippen, Sandra Walters Ladan and Jane Leadbeater. We are grateful for the volunteer assistance of former board members Bill Attwell and Howard Wesley, and also to board member Angelika Distler for her help fundraising and searching out furnishings and appliances. Notably we are grateful to Ferd Regier from Mitchell Architects. Ferd’s expertise coupled with his calm, patient support through every bump on this “winter” road was invaluable. Ferd has now successfully piloted CLPS though two major construction/renovation projects. Thanks also to our Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) program supervisor Lisa Graham, who helped us achieve and negotiate the twists and turns of government funding for such a big construction project with tight timelines – in the winter! And then there was the leadership and dedication shown by ED Jo-Anne Demick who spent every day of her holidays this winter on this project by phone or computer!

This lovely home is now accessible and safe for its eight residents who were excited to return. A big shout out to Jill Reevie and all of the residential services staff team who went above and beyond to facilitate the transition to and from temporary lodging. Finally, a big thank you to the many people whose donations were gratefully used to provide all those nice things that make a home, items not covered under MCSS funding, such as a big flat-screen TV, new furniture, all new appliances, window coverings, dishes, etc. Many were able to attend the Welcome Home open house celebration on May 22nd at which the residents were also able to tour their new home before they moved in.

Throughout the year CLPS partnered with several other community organizations to host some very well attended events that raised awareness in the community such as:

– The Employer Appreciation Breakfast presented by our Leading Into New Careers (LINC) Employment Services program, YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka Parry Sound Employment Services, and the Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce. Keynote speakers were Bob Van Sickle and Joe Dale of the Ontario Disability Employment Network. Local business leaders were invited to share their ideas and interest in hiring people with disabilities.

– The ninth annual Breakfast with the Mayor, which this year featured a video presentation by its creator and author Julien Escallon who tells his story of moving to Canada, learning to speak English, attaining employment, and celebrating his musical and creative talents. Julien spoke at the United Nations in New York City in March as part of World Down Syndrome Day. As always, we enjoyed a fabulous breakfast hosted by Mike Reeves and the staff of Wellington’s Restaurant.

– Our Community Living Month Flag Raising ceremony hosted by Mayor McGarvey and the Town of Parry Sound in council chambers (sheltered from the May rain), and accompanied by Donald Sanderson from the West Parry Sound Health Centre playing the bagpipes.

– The 16th Annual Community Living Golf tournament was a huge success, raising over $10,000. Thanks to the many donors, sponsors and golfers, and hosts Rocky Crest Golf Resort.

– The 80th Anniversary of Parry Sound Fuels fundraiser and awareness for CLPS. Parry Sound Fuels donated $1500 to CLPS. Special thanks to board member Sheri Cox and her husband James, who own Parry Sound Fuels.

– Finally, one of the most exciting community events this year was the annual Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce Gala at which CLPS received two awards. These awards were recognized by Community Living Ontario and several other agencies in the province.

The Health & Wellness Award recognized the culture within this agency; i.e. “The philosophy that ‘together we are better’ establishes a culture of teamwork in the workplace. Staff shares a belief in the power of inclusion which encourages creativity and innovation in the workplace and in working in partnership with other organizations in Parry Sound. Feeling part of a team and a larger community network promotes wellness through connection.”

The Business Involvement Award for 2015 truly affirmed our strategic direction of increased community awareness. As a member of the business community for example, we regularly employ approximately 65 people of which 26 are full-time positions. In summer, CLPS secures one-time funding to hire summer students such as our Community Cultivators and Cultural Event Facilitator.

On a personal note, this being my last year on the Board, I want to say what an honour it has been to serve as your president this year, and to personally express my tremendous respect for the staff of this organization. Thanks again to my fellow board members of the past six years and welcome to potential new board members Cheryl Forth, Linda Taylor and Julie Flagler. This is a board like none other for its sense of camaraderie and purpose. I shall remain an ambassador for life.

Respectfully submitted,

Sharon Shewen, President



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