Where we began, where we are now & where we intend to go.
Community Living-Central Huron shares a similar story in developing and providing community education, advocacy, support, and services for people with disabilities like other Community Living Agencies.
In the beginning, a grassroots group of families formed in 1958 and started meeting because they did not want to send their children with developmental disabilities to live in institutions. For their children to remain at home, the group identified and advocated for the need for inclusion and the provision of services and supports such as education for their children in their community. Subsequently, the group was formalized under the name of Goderich and District Association for Retarded Children in 1959, which is now known as Community Living-Central Huron.
Over the years, many milestones have been reached: the agency expanded in 1962 to include families from Clinton, Ontario, the first Adult Workshop opened in 1965; an integrated nursery school began in 1968; the first residential location became available for tenancy in 1978, and three years later Supported Independent Living (SIL) began supporting people in their homes.
As more people were repatriated from institutions and to accommodate local needs, group and independent living opportunities, employment supports, and day programs expanded. In addition, Community Living-Central Huron has begun to administer and deliver additional support and services for children, youth, and adults and their families. These services and supports include the Community Support for Families Program, Huron Respite Network, Foundations Huron: Community Participation and Passport Programs, and South West Regional Respite. Community Living-Central Huron celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2019.
Through this evolution, Community Living-Central Huron continues to foster the same goal:
“People live in dignity and share in all aspects of living in their community.”
To achieve this goal, Community Living-Central Huron instills the beliefs that each person is to be treated with respect and dignity, everyone must have the opportunity to develop our lifestyle; that each of us learns and continues to learn throughout our life; that everyone needs, desires and hopes for the company and friendship of others; and that we all have human and civil rights accorded to us by law.
Furthermore, the means to achieve this goal are simple. People who have felt isolated and rejected must be welcomed by the community at large to participate by being included in decisions and actions that build and fortify community life. This requires becoming members of local groups, associations, clubs, and churches and the willingness to share experiences, ideas, gifts, and abilities with others.
In addition, people who are poor require a real income, an income achieved by working for real living wages and for paid support needs to be a matter of human and civil rights but to never surpass the natural emotional, psychological and financial support provided by one’s family and friends.
Community Living-Central Huron’s role as an association is to respect and enhance the dignity and value of all people by assisting them to regain and retain their power and control over their own lives. Community Living-Central Huron demonstrates this role by listening and responding to peoples’ expressed needs and wants and by embracing the richness of diversity in recognizing the gifts we each possess and respecting each others’ contributions and beliefs by doing so, we will, indeed, have a competent, caring community that includes all its citizens regardless of race, gender, sexuality, age, and ability.