Community Living Manitoulin AGM highlights year of successes

by Betty Bardswich

MINDEMOYA—Community Living Manitoulin (CLM) held its annual general meeting on September 28 with Executive Director Tammie Molenaar welcoming members to celebrate not only the organization’s 2015/2016 accomplishments, but also 65 years worth of achievements.

“It is so important for us to have these opportunities to connect with our community,” she began, “after all, that’s what it is all about for us: successful community inclusion. I wanted to start by thanking you for joining us tonight; your support and presence here is indicative of the steps we’ve made in the right direction, and of the possibilities of what could be as we continue on this path.”

Ms. Molenaar went on to say that it is important for CLM to recall the same passion and purpose that the families who established the agency had and to do that, present participants needed to review current practices to establish a refocused passion that reflected the needs of today’s community and a rejuvenated purpose that would inspire the individuals supported, our staff and our community to push the limits.

“We are undertaking many projects,” Ms. Molenaar explained, “some you can see and some you can’t. For instance, you wouldn’t know that we are completely revising and reinvigorating our policies to increase accountability and transparency. We have reviewed the board bylaws and will be sending them out for approval in the near future. We are restricting the day program to a more community based program. The Supported Employment program has grown by leaps and bounds and we will be applying to increase ministry funding for this department.”

Ms. Molenaar added that CLM had a completed Third Party Review that was taken to heart and the agency worked very hard for compliance and to meet the Ministry standards. “CLM continues to strive to excel,” she said.

The next topic Ms. Molenaar talked about was the loss of some long time board members who have been great assets to the organization over the past few years. “Melissa (Peters) has done a great job holding the agency together through a difficult time,” she remarked, and “Jayn, your dedication and positive attitude will be missed. Karlene, you were a great asset in arranging our celebrations and parties. Karen, your insight on health and safety and union issues were valued and Steve, the years of dedication to this agency and people supported is greatly appreciated. We also are very pleased to welcome to the board, Sharon Stephens as our newest member. It with a deep sense of appreciation for their services to the agency that I thank all the board members current and past.”

Ms. Molenaar also had great thanks for the CLM employees calling them “our biggest assets” and speaking of the close work relationship she has with the management team. “The front line staff are an inspiration as well,” she added, and noted that two employees had graduated with a DSW certificate while also saying, “I salute all CLM employees for their focus on the individuals we support, hard work, commitment and teamwork.”

Ms. Molenaar finished her report by saying, “Tonight is about the success we have met as an agency, the barriers we have knocked down, and the opportunities we have built up. But more than that, this is about the success that we have witnessed in the lives of the individuals and their families, the tears of joy, their smiling faces and the tales of how their lives have changed forever. The future is bright, CLM is stronger than ever before and ready to push the limits.”

Melissa Peters, the CLM board president, also spoke at the meeting and started by saying how well management was working together, that the staff was amazing and that there were not enough words to talk about how wonderful the CLM individuals are.

“But my words are mainly regarding our board,” she spelled out. “Without them, what has happened wouldn’t be possible in the past year. Karlene and Jayn organized the always enjoyed Harvest Celebration last October and we enjoyed a delicious Christmas dinner thanks to Steve and his lovely wife and where Ron found transportation again for Santa.”

Ms. Peters then said that a more somber note had been provided by Paul Muldoon, an expert who had analyzed the whole organization to help the board learn how to make CLM even better.

Ms. Peters was especially elated to say, “Our Special Olympians came home with gold. Karlene and our Special O volunteers created fabulous events. Spencer spoke briefly and presented greetings from our local government. Sean and Katherine Tipper led off this magical evening and showed off a bit of Newfoundland. Our Olympians showed the country why Manitoulin is simply the best. And Kelly (KT) organized a fundraiser that had the audience wanting so much more. Everyone enjoyed themselves and the individuals delight was contagious.”

Ms. Peters also spoke of the two barbecues that the agency had and noted the work done by Steve, Karlene and Karen, led by the fearless Wendy and staff for these events and for indentifying the need for T-shirts to inspire pride within CLM.

She concluded her remarks by noting that the board had been wonderful to work with and thanked Spencer, Janyn and Ron for the great jobs done in the positions they held and added, “Karlene, Steve, Sam, Terry, Karen, Kelly and Tyler could always be counted on as well for support. Thank you. I was so fortunate to be a part of such a great group. Although Janyn, Karen, Karlene, Steve and I are not returning to the board, the others will continue to do an awesome job with the help of our new member Sharon. Together this board will continue to work with everyone now and in the future to keep this place a great one.”

The Harvest Celebration will be held this year on October 20 at the Providence Bay community hall.