52 Years and Still Planning
July 21, 2014
Posted in: Uncategorized
Community Living Parry Sound (CLPS) incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1962 and is jointly funded by the Ministry of Community & Social Services, Ministry of Children and Youth Services and donations from private and corporate members of the community. 52 years later CLPS continues to evolve as an organization to meet the needs of people with developmental disabilities in the Parry Sound district.
It is no accident that a human service agency stays relevant and respected in a small community. It takes people who continue to care deeply about providing excellent services, who know how to operate a multi-dimensional non-profit organization and who use tools like Strategic Planning to stay on track despite an ever changing world. The development of the strategic plan, and following it as a guide, is vital. Creating a successful strategic plan is a process.
Every three years CLPS surveys people whose lives are impacted by the agency’s existence; families and people who receive services, people in the community contracted to provide care, staff of the organization and any other stakeholders such as volunteers, partner agencies, etc. This year the survey was simple and direct: What is working? What is NOT working? And what changes would you like to see? The answers from the survey were analysed by the Board and Management Team of CLPS who then worked with professional facilitators to write a draft plan. 105 people helped formulate the ideas for change that are now described in the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan.
Drafting the plan takes a lot of work but finishing the plan requires the involvement of the people who will be impacted by it and who will help achieve its goals; the stakeholders. “We try to conduct focus groups to ensure that we have the plan right and to engage our stakeholders to assist in achieving the plan” says Executive Director, Jo-Anne Demick. CLPS Manager of Quality Assurance Kim Gauthier adds, “This year is the first year we included a plain language version of the strategic plan, which was developed with the input of self-advocates and families” who attended the focus groups.(Plain language version)
I asked Jo-Anne what she is most excited about when she thinks about implementing the goals outlined by the plans for 2014-2017. She says that for her “it is a commitment to the ‘Community First’ approach to supports, as we assist people to become better connected to their community and develop meaningful relationships”. This made me wonder what that actually looks like. According to the plan, it means that people will get jobs in their community based on their abilities and form relationships with co-workers. It means also that CLPS will work to hold events that all community members are welcome to attend. People living with developmental disabilities will then have the opportunity to meet new people and become less lonely as they come out of isolation and are able to form friendships with others in the community. Do you have an upcoming event you would like to invite a person with a development disability to? It is exciting to think about how the Parry Sound Community will work with CLPS to engage people who have developmental disabilities into the daily life of our town. I wonder how much more inclusive our town will be by the year 2017.