A Fiftieth Anniversary is special for people as well as organizations. It reflects the enduring nature of relationships and organizations. This length of organization tenure affirms the relevancy of the organization’s mission and vision and its ability to adapt and change to survive during a time frame that has witnessed greater and more rapid change and innovation than at any other time in human history.
Certainly, the societal changes including civil rights, scientific, economic, globalization and technological have radically changed our world. Our Association has experienced and been a part of some of the most important social, legal and service issues in the developmental sector and society.
The founding of Community Living Association in Lanark County was certainly a reflection of significant shift in societal attitudes and approaches to providing supports to people with intellectual disability. The prevailing attitude in the first half of the 20th century was to isolate and institutionalize people with intellectual disability. In the 1950s many parents started to question this prevailing service philosophy and began to advocate for keeping their loved ones in their community and started organizing to deliver programs and services within their community to improve or maintain people’s quality of life. In 1963, a group of Lanark County parents began to meet to explore the possibility of organizing activities for their children. The group sought information from parents with children with intellectual disabilities across Canada. They made contact on January 31, 1964 with and sought guidance and assistance from The Ontario Association for Retarded Children (today known as Community Living Ontario) They continued to meet through 1964 and 1965. These deliberations were useful and inspired a group of parents to meet on November 8, 1965 at the Baptist Sunday School in Smiths Falls to start laying the groundwork to form a local Association.
The Founding Families were:
“The Lanark District Association for the Mentally Retarded” now “Community Living Association (Lanark County)” was born on January 10, 1966.
For the past 50 years our Association has been a proud partner and member of the Development Sector, Community Living Ontario and local families and individuals and has been an integral part of transcendental and significant change in the sector and society.
Happy Fiftieth Anniversary!
During this Anniversary year we will be issuing these bulletins periodically. In addition, we are developing a specific plan to celebrate our 50th anniversary and we will share that with staff in the next couple of weeks.