The 15th annual “Breaking the Barrier” Awards ceremony was held on Wednesday, June 4, 2014, at St. John Ukrainian Hall, 91 Lakeshore Rd. in St. Catharines. All citizens of Niagara were invited to attend the ceremony, which featured a keynote address from Geoff Eden, a local advocate who discussed accessibility issues in the community. These Awards are given to volunteers who have devoted their time to helping people with disabilities achieve independence and for raising awareness in the community about the abilities of all people.
Sue Doan received The March of Dimes “Breaking The Barriers Award” !
Sue Doan was one of this year’s recipients. Sue has been a supportive member of our organization for many years in various capacities, but officially joined our volunteer fundraiser team in 2012. Her passion for CLFE inspires others to take up the cause. She is a role model of excellence in this position, and acts as a resource to other volunteers.
Sue understands that the gift of time is one of the most important gifts a community member can give to an organization. She has contributed over 600 hours this past year to ensure that our organization is meeting its fundraising objectives. She also volunteers numerous hours raising awareness of the benefits of including people with intellectual disabilities in their community. Community Living is very thankful that Sue is a part of our volunteer team!
Sue is driven to educate people on the importance of inclusion and is a role model and leader on ensuring people with intellectual disabilities are given inclusive opportunities in their community.
Sue partnered with our organization and Niagara College on two videos. One informational video which promoted the organization and inclusion and another that focused on the importance of including people in all aspects of community life . She speaks from the heart and provides firsthand accounts of how being included has made a difference in the life of her son. She is a wonderful advocate for her son Jacob and she sends a message to other parents that it is important to ensure equality, respect and an inclusive life for their children.
Sue has now accepted other leadership roles within the organization. She accepted a nomination to our Board of Directors in June 2013 and will be assuming the co-chair position of 2014 Fundraising Volunteer Committee. She is always providing education to other members and makes sure that all organizational activities are centered around inclusion of people with disabilities.
Her passion for our organization and strong belief in our Mission and Vision is demonstrated in all aspects of her volunteer position.
Sue is a faithful and dependable volunteer who strives to educate people in our community on everyone’s “Right To Be Included”.
Alaena Barber received the first Annual Times Review Volunteer Recognition Award
Alaena began as a co-op student with Community Living – Fort Erie in May 2012. As a student she was responsible to assist staff with duties in one of our residential settings. She was a stellar student and role modeled excellence in her placement. Alaena developed a special relationship with a young lady living at one of our residential locations and decided to stay on with our organization as a volunteer through our “Leisure Buddy” program.
Often many of the people we support require peer encouragement to pursue activities that they enjoy. Staffing levels do not always allow for one on one support for community participation activities of an individual’s choice. “Leisure Buddies” provide an essential support for people with intellectual challenges to help them to be included in activities in their community. She has encouraged this once timid and anxious young lady to seek out inclusive activities. Alaena and her leisure buddy, Chantal Champagne, often go to the YMCA where they have developed new friendships.
Chantal loves to swim and will often call Alaena to ask her to take her to the pool. This activity has increased community recreation for this young lady and it has also proven to be therapeutic in many ways. Alaena and Chantal enjoy lunch together at different times throughout each month and they share a special mutual relationship.
Often students do not continue to be involved with our organization in a volunteer capacity once their student placement has been completed, but this young volunteer realized that a valuable “connection” had been made. She has made a significant difference in Chantal’s life, but if you ask Alaena, she will tell you that she feels she is the one who has benefited from her volunteerism. Alaena is positive proof that the youth of our community are actively giving back!