On Tuesday, June 23, 2015 Community Living~Fort Erie held their Annual General Meeting at the Fort Erie Legion Branch #71. Over 60 people came out to enjoy a lovely dinner and the induction of our new Board of Directors. Reports were given highlighting the accomplishments of our agency including the purchase of a new home housing three people we support. Three new board members were inducted. We recognized and celebrated the accomplishments of people we support through award presentations.

Bobbis award

This year Bobbi Paonessa received this award for “the active role she has played in her community”. She actively participates in community activities and volunteers her time. As a responsible citizen she has invested in her community by “giving back to the community where she lives”.

Bobbi with awardbobbi with sister Dawn


Bobbi Paonessa has been a dedicated volunteer at the Fort Erie Legion for the past two years. As a volunteer she assists with Friday night Fish Fries on a weekly basis and she truly feels a part of the Fort Erie Legion catering team. Bobbi has dedicated herself to volunteerism.  She volunteers for local charities at the Uncle Sam’s Delta Bingo and is a wonderful representative for our organization.  She has been a volunteer at Community Living~Fort Erie fundraising events and recently joined the Volunteer Fundraising Committee.

Bobbi is a strong advocate who speaks on behalf of people with intellectual challenges through the Community Living~Fort Erie Advocates In otion (AIM) Group.  She has spoken to the Fort Erie Mayor and Town Council Members advocating for people’s rights and the declaration of Community Living Month in Fort Erie.

Bobbi has voluntarily helped to coordinate an annual “March For Inclusion” which has raised awareness of the rights of people with intellectual challenges in our community for the past five years.




Wendy award

This bursary is in memory of Wendy Henderson who was a Family Support Case Manager with 24 years of service with Community Living~Fort Erie. Wendy’s passion for the youth of our community was demonstrated frequently as she supported them to overcome barriers to further their education or obtain employment.  This bursary is awarded to a young adult who is transitioning from High School.

wendy award 2wendy award 3

This year’s recipient of the Wendy Henderson Bursary is Curtis Moore. Curtis is 20 years old and is currently a student of Lakeshore Catholic High School. He enjoys mountain biking and participates in regional races. Curtis received an Achievement Award from the St. Catharines Cycling Club for improvements in riding skills and participation.  For many years Curtis has played basketball and volleyball at the YMCA and has received the Values Award numerous times.  Curtis took a culinary class at Fort Erie High School where cooking became his passion.  He attended FESS for 3 years and then made the decision to transfer to Lakeshore Catholic High School.  At Lakeshore he was given the opportunity to further advance his skills by enrolling in additional cooking classes and take part in co-op placements.  The co-op placements have proven to be extremely beneficial in preparing Curtis for the transition from school to work.

He has completed a placement at The Mill in Port Colborne with Educational Assistant support.  Currently, he is at a co-op at Sobeys.  He has progressed to no longer requiring the support of an Educational Assistant and he is now able to work independently.  The goal is that Curtis will be able to obtain gainful employment once the co-op is completed. Curtis also attended Pioneer Camp in Port Sydney each summer for 2 weeks.  He started out as a fully supported camper.  Last summer he was part of the supported work program.  He has progressed so well that this summer he will be at camp as part of the kitchen staff assisting the chef.  The chef personally requested Curtis since he was so pleased with his abilities and performance last summer.

In addition, Curtis has obtained a volunteer position at the YMCA this summer, volunteering in their cooking program. Curtis has demonstrated his passion and willingness to be successful in the culinary field as he has completed many different cooking courses at Niagara College as well as cake decorating courses through Adult Learning and Michael’s. We want to congratulate Curtis as he continues his transition from school to work.



This year Rick Johnson received the award for “demonstrating leadership” in pursuing Community Living’s vision of “An Inclusive Community That Only Sees Abilities.”

This award is granted to the person on the merits of their progress in self-direction, initiative, motivation and personal growth.



Rick has “demonstrated leadership through his actions and he has educated others on the benefits of including all people in the community.”

The Community Support Team put forth Rick’s nomination with pride. They felt that Rick has truly become a welcomed and respected member of his community and he should be recognized for his many accomplishments. Rick has developed a level of security and trust that has enabled him to build new and productive relationships.

He is part of a community which now opens doors and smiles when they see him. In fact they now invite him for coffee and he is a part of the Coffee Club at the local Tim Horton’s.  His daily attendance at Tim Horton’s has helped him connect with others. Rick has made many new friends and acquaintances. Members of his community reach out to Rick for his help. Rick was hired as a dog walker, not only did he become a part of the dog’s life but his owner’s life as well. Rick helped out around the house and formed a friendship that eventually led him to attend family BBQ’s and events.

Rick has been hired to cut grass, rake leaves and do yard maintenance tasks for others. He is a valued member of his community and he easily makes natural connections in his close knit community. Rick has been a successful member of a support group for many years and he is very proud of these accomplishments. Rick supports others and others support him.

Congratulations Rick, on the wonderful new connections you have made in your community!

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