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Elliot Lake school student and Algoma Public Health recognized by Community Living Algoma

Creating a club had led to a prestigious award for a student of an Elliot Lake school by Community Living Algoma.

Held with the theme “Let Today Be the Start of Something New,” this year’s in-person AGM was an opportunity for Community Living Algoma to showcase many positive achievements over the past year.

A student and his school were recognized with the presentation of the Champion of Inclusion Award.

Oliver Smith, a grade five student at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Elliot Lake launched a Games Club for students in grade three to five as part of the “Together We’re Better” contest held by the association.

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Several other awards were also presented to other recipients including Algoma Public Health.

CLA executive director John Policicchio says the past two years have been challenging.

“The past year, due to COVID, has presented us with some challenges, however, we have continued to make advances in ensuring that the people we support have had an active role in their life decisions,” says Policicchio. “One of our biggest success stories has been the on-going movement of people supported into homes of their choice and them being an active voice and participant in this process.”

The evening also saw several awards presented to area businesses and their staff and another dedicated individual.

Community Partner Awards’ recipients included: BDI Holdings Ltd. and Algoma Public Health. The partnership between CLA and BDI started with a housing development of a semidetached home on Wellington St. From this success, it moved towards units leased at St Theresa’s Villa on Ruth Street and, most recently, three units within the St. Ann’s Villa on White Oak Drive, all in Sault Ste. Marie.

This collaboration enabled both CLA and BDI to learn more on how they can customize accommodations depending on the needs of each person supported.

Algoma Public Health was also nominated for their responsiveness, directives and guidance to Community Living Algoma in navigating COVID-19 – for both the health and safety of people supported as well as employees. APH held an instrumental role in assisting CLA through various protocols and changes in directives that, in early days, were happening several times a day. From answering questions, to assisting with updating the organization’s screening processes, to walking alongside CLA in outbreak situations, APH provided a steady support that has played an integral part of CLA’s overall pandemic planning.

The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Deborah Chadwick, who is a four-year member of the Council for Community Living Algoma. Deborah was recognized for her strong commitment to Community Living Algoma’s Mission, Vision and Values. In addition, her passion to advocate for others with an intellectual disability to have a voice and to reach their full potential was also highlighted. Deborah’s positivity and determination helps us all remember why we are here and why we must continue to make changes to enrich quality of life for all people.

Community Living Algoma provides supports and services to more than 720 people in the Algoma District who have intellectual disabilities or are on the autism spectrum. Community Living Algoma is committed to the advancement of a community in which all people are recognized as full citizens; achieve personal dignity; enjoy the benefits and responsibilities of independence and are supported to reach their full potential.

Community Partner Award – Algoma Public Health – Tania Gagnon (Director of Services and Supports, CLA); Sarah Bernabucci (Human Resources Coordinator); Sara MacInnis; Kimberley Lever, Nicole Lindahl and Kara Flannigan (all of APH). (Not shown: Kaylin Dacosta-Deschamps, Alexis Mezzomo, Adam King, Susan Sutherland)
Volunteer of the Year – Deborah Chadwick (Council of Community Living Algoma, on left) is shown with Jennifer Wiwchar (Director of Quality Assurance, CLA)
Community Partner Award – BDI Holdings Ltd. – left to right: Jennifer Wiwchar (Director of Quality Assurance, CLA), Rick DiCorpo (Services Manager, CLA), Shawn Spurr, Frank D’Addetta and Brandon Stubbs. Not shown: Isaiah Bressan
John Policicchio, Executive Director for Community Living Algoma and Mary Lynn Riberdy, Chair of the Board of Directors, for Community Living Algoma. Both co-hosted the Annual General Meeting.
Photos provided by Community Living Algoma and used with permissions.

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