OTF Grant Helps to Rebuild Peoples’ Connection to Their Community

November 26, 2021

Posted in: Uncategorized

Parry Sound, ON – Over the past 12 months Community Living Parry Sound (CLPS) has worked diligently to not only recover from the impacts of COVID-19 but renew its sense of purpose and rebuild its service delivery model. In late 2020, CLPS received the good news that it was receiving a $130,000 Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) Resilient Communities Fund grant that helped CLPS secure the support of a consultant to review its operations and help the agency find ways to integrate virtual support services that have become an essential lifeline for people to stay connected to support staff, family and friends during the pandemic when in-person support was not safe.

“Throughout the pandemic, many programs and services have gone virtual, requiring people to transition with them,” said Norman Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka. “However, this transition has not been as simple for many individuals in our community. I am pleased that Community Living Parry Sound has found ways to ensure that people with developmental disabilities can access essential online supports and that the Ontario Trillium Foundation is investing in those programs. The ‘Community Connect’ App and the Technology Learning Lab will provide person-specific education and devices, allowing people to engage meaningfully with virtual resources. These initiatives will help our community recover from the impacts of the pandemic by building opportunities to connect virtually and improving access for all individuals,” added Miller.

One of the ways CLPS integrated virtual services was through the development of an exclusive app for people supported called ‘Community Connect’. The app is a one-stop-shop for person-directed support and is a safe place for people to participate in ways that reflect their own support needs and interests.

In addition to the consultant services, the OTF funding secured the purchasing of devices, ranging from laptops to smart watches for 19 people with a developmental disability that they otherwise could not afford. In addition, CLPS was aware of the need for education about technical devices and safe internet use, so the final piece of rebuilding is Friday’s launch of its fully accessible ‘Technology Learning Lab’. This inclusive space for learning about devices and how to engage with virtual community opportunities is housed at CLPS and is available for booking. Because tech literacy and meaningful, person-specific use of devices and the internet are key educational goals for many people, the learning lab will offer opportunities to learn life skills 1:1 or in small group workshops for all levels of ability.

CLPS is now delivering support services to people both virtually and in person. Moving into the future, the option to choose virtual or in-person support is particularly transformative for people who live in rural areas without access to transportation or the funds for staff travel expenses. Many people with a developmental disability are willing and able to learn to use technology with the right support. With access to the right resources that provide individualized learning support to people with a developmental disability, we will ensure that the inequity of access to online information diminishes in due time.

CLPS would like to sincerely thank OTF for helping the agency recover from the impacts of COVID-19 by building capacity to connect virtually with people who often live in isolated circumstances and in poverty. The Resilient Communities Fund grant program has allowed CLPS to transform its service delivery to better align with a person-directed and technology-dependent world.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. Last year, nearly $112M was invested into 1,384 community projects and partnerships to build healthy and vibrant communities and strengthen the impact of Ontario’s non-profit sector. In 2020/21, OTF supported Ontario’s economic recovery by helping non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. 


Tricia Bain, Manager of Individualized Services

Community Living Parry Sound

705-746-9330 | tbain@clps.ca

The Community Living Parry Sound Technology Learning Lab is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation Resilient Communities Fund grant.
(L – R) Deputy Mayor of Parry Sound, Paul Borneman, OTF Volunteer, Leah Welk and CLPS Board President, David Williams cutting the ribbon and officially opening the Community Living Parry Sound Technology Learning Lab.
Tina de Los Santos of Lure Communications was hired as a consultant to help CLPS plan and implement virtual services.
CLPS Executive Director, Jo-Anne Demick, and CLPS Board President, David Williams.
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