Celebrating Community Living Month and a 70th Anniversary

*Paid Business Feature*

May is Community Living Month — when people across Ontario celebrate the successes of a more inclusive, welcoming society that serves everyone well and builds strengths based on a shared set of values.   

Established in 1953 and proudly celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, Community Living Kingston and District (CLKD) was founded by parents of children with intellectual disabilities who gathered to lead efforts to build a more inclusive community in Kingston. Community Living Kingston and District championed diversity, culture, and inclusion in the early days, long before those priorities became more widely embraced in recent times.

Those initial CLKD pioneers forged ahead to make their vision a reality:  

To provide support to individuals with an intellectual disability and advocate alongside them, so they are welcome, included, and have every opportunity to participate fully in their community with dignity and independence.

When the organization began, ‘community living’ was “a lofty dream” — For those with intellectual (or developmental) disabilities, segregation was the norm and exclusion a hard fact. Regardless of age, many faced barriers which kept them from participating in the social and economic world around them. Up until 2009, some still resided in Ontario government institutions, and had little connection to the outside world.

For that reason, CLKD has been “advocating for positive change” since its inception.

CLKD created educational opportunities at a time when kids with intellectual disabilities were prohibited from attending public schools. CLKD also started a workshop to provide meaningful work in the absence of employment opportunities in the broader community. The founders of CLKD did not just talk about inclusion, they showed the rest of the world what it can look like — a spirit that continues to this day.  

The work continues. In 2023, CLKD: 

  • supports more than 700 individuals and their families with nine accredited programs and services in the community 
  • employs more than 300 staff members  
  • benefits from the generosity of over 100 volunteers 
  • manages an annual operating budget in excess of $24 million  

Inclusion and diversity have relevance for the entire community, not only those with an intellectual disability. Come work with CLKD, whether as an employee or volunteer, and together we will do great things.

Reach out today at (613) 546-6613 or online at myclkd.ca. Be part of a larger effort of social change to promote an inclusive community where everyone belongs and is respected.

This article is sponsored by Community Living Kingston and District, who also provided the content. Interested in a Business Feature on Kingstonist? Contact [email protected]

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