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Community connexions newsletter

ACCESSIBILITY UPDATE When many of us first think about accessibility we typically think about physical access to buildings. However, accessibility is much bigger than that. It consists of addressing barriers from a variety of areas, including: .

ACCESSIBILITY UPDATE

When many of us first think about accessibility we typically think about physical access to buildings. However, accessibility is much bigger than that. It consists of addressing barriers from a variety of areas, including:

. Architectural

. Environmental

. Attitudinal

. Financial

. Employment

. Communication

. Transportation

ConneXions Accessibility Committee is responsible for developing the Society's annual Accessibility Plan. As well, the individual programs establish specific accessibility goals on their annual Outcomes Plan. One of the tools used to help identify program specific and Society wide needs, is an Accessibility Checklist. The checklist includes numerous questions in each of the above categories and is completed by each program every year in consultation with a variety of stakeholders.

The Accessibility Committee receives copies of all the completed checklists to look at the broader Society wide needs before developing the annual ConneXions Accessibility Plan. This year the committee was extremely ambitious and has identified over 25 goals!

We were recently able to complete one of these goals thanks to the generosity of the Lynn Valley Lions Club. The club provided a financial contribution towards the overall cost of an automatic door opener for The Summit front entrance. Program participants, volunteers, guests and staff now have easier access to the facility which allows for increased independence.

Due to mobility concerns of several residents in our group homes, we have also recently purchased and installed a stair lift at Barlynn House, a bath lift at Walpole House and replaced a mechanical lift at Peters Road. Future plans include remodeling the bathroom at Peters Road to make it more accessible.

For a not for profit organization such undertakings can be financially challenging. We greatly appreciate any support to help us reach these goals and wish to thank those who have already contributed.

SUMMER'S FUN FOR EDGEMONT AND KILMER

This summer has been filled with many fun adventures. The goal of North Shore ConneXions Society is to ensure community inclusion and supporting our clients in achieving their goals and dreams. We have been able to do this with the help of our surrounding communities, supportive families and North Shore ConneXions Society Summit programs.

We have been attending the 13th Annual Evenings in Edgemont; this is an outdoor music concert series that takes place in Edgemont Village on Fridays throughout July and August. This event is enjoyed by many of the North Shore ConneXions Society participants. The streets of the village are filled with music, dance and laughter creating an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all the clients and staff.

On the must do list for one of our biggest Elvis fans was the 10th

Anniversary Elvis Festival in Penticton in June. This is the second year in a row Lillian attended the festival. She made her way up to Saturday, June 25th, arrived at La Villa Motel and head out for the headliner show. She enjoyed listening to the Elvis classics and rushing the stage. This eventful trip came to an end Sunday morning after attending the 'with an Elvis' pancake breakfast at Lakeside Park. Not only was it amazing listening to the golden oldies, it was a thrill having all the impersonators dinning and dancing with the crowd.

The clients from Kilmer House are looking forward to more fun and exiting trips coming up in August. Upcoming trips will include camping trips with The Summit to Whistler and the Secret Garden getaway on Vancouver Island.

One of our clients will be heading out for an annual 10-day vacation to Savory Island where her family has a cabin. Some of the many activities she does with her family are swimming, weather permitting of course, walks around savory, happy hour is a favorite, playing card games and a whole lot of relaxation.

It has been a busy summer for all our clients, and although we haven't had the hottest summer it definitely has been an enjoyable one so far.

CONNEXIONS 20TH ANNUAL FRIENDS AND FAMILY PICNIC

Each year we invite friends, families and staff to celebrate at our Annual Friends and Family Picnic. We will be serving delicious food, deserts as well as hot and cold beverages. Activities include games, pitch 'n' putt and everyone's favorite the bouncy castle.

The 20th Annual Friends and Family Picnic When: Sunday, September 11th from 11: 30am till 2: 00pm Where: Murdo Frazer Pitch 'N' Putt , 2700 Pemberton Ave., North Vancouver RSVP with reception 604.984.9321 by Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

If you are a self advocate, please note that Murdo Frazer Pitch 'N' Putt is hard to get to by bus. If you come to The Summit, we will drive you to the picnic.

CONNEXIONS ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM)

In September of every year, North Shore ConneXions Society holds an Annual General Meeting to share accomplishments from the past year and important information for the upcoming year. Since the Society was formed in the 1950's we have worked very close with families and self advocates to develop our programs and services. We invite you to join us at this years meeting as we continue toward meeting the needs of the individuals we serve.

ConneXions Annual General Meeting (AGM) When: Wednesday, September 21st Registration: 6: 00pm . Business Meeting 6: 30pm Where: The Summit, 1095 Churchill Crescent, North Vancouver

Any questions can be directed to our reception at 604.984.9321 or info@nsconnexions.org

JUST THE BEGINNING.

While some of us might take it for granted that we have jobs, and we go to work every day, this is not always the case for many individuals who have complex support needs and limited social skills. Ryan is a young man with more talents and abilities than can be described on this page. He may not be able to tell you or an employer about his skills but thanks to a team of dedicated supporters he has had the opportunity to demonstrate what he can do. "He is a trailblazer," says Judy, Ryan's mother a strong advocate, schedule organizer, and tireless devotee. Ryan demonstrates just a small percentage of his capabilities when he works at Papa John's Pizza, in North Vancouver; his first paid job!

During his involvement with the Customized Employment Team Ryan has demonstrated how talented he is, from shaping metal using hand tools and an acetylene torch at his high school's metal shop to fabricating orthotics using power tools and a table saw at one of his work trials. He can disassemble computers and cook up a mean meal of spaghetti and meatballs from scratch.

Ryan is an individual who demands a hundred percent of himself in terms of quality of work and focus, all qualities admired by Kevin, his Papa John's Pizza shift manager. "I don't have to worry about him, says Kevin. "He is extremely focused and likes to do everything perfectly." Ryan works two days a week making sure your pizza has just the right size box and keeping the place spotless at all times. Ryan's job at Papa John's Pizza is just the beginning of his journey with employment.

Workplace etiquette, social interactions and figuring out the next step once the job is done are just a few of the things that Ryan requires support with while working in the community. In order to assist him to succeed with some of the soft skills of the world of work, a support team that consists of the ConneXions Employment Specialists, Applied Behavioral Analysts, respite workers, Judy (his mom), and his employer have agreed to work together. This team works closely with Ryan to organize the training tools and strategies he requires to succeed at his new job.

Everyone is learning together as this first employment experience has opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

"Seeing him move from unemployed to employed has been a good learning experience," says Judy when describing working with ConneXions: this learning experience will guide the Customized Employment team to assist others to find their path into the world of paid employment. If you are an employer or a job seeker that would like to find out more information about the ConneXions Customized Employment Program, please contact Manon Gelinas, Manager 604.984.9321 ext. 238 or

manong@nsconnexions.org.

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