May is Community Living Month and as as Community Living organizations go, the Sharbot Lake operation is one of the smaller ones, with 40 + clients as opposed to some of the larger ones with more than 100.
Perhaps that’s a big reason why they’ve been so successful in integrating their people into the community.
“I think the smaller communities do have a leg up,” said Dean Walsh, executive director. “People with intellectual disabilities have not always had the same opportunity to contribute and participate in their communities through political, religious expression, volunteerism and leisure activities.
“Here, I can call the Mayor, the councilors, the businesses, the service clubs and they all support us.”
An example, he said, was Shine a Light on Community Living, in which “local businesses like Mike Dean’s, Sharbot Lake Pharmacy, The Cardinal Cafe as well as Central Frontenac Township and Northern Frontenac Community Services have all shown support by lighting up their businesses blue and green.”
Walsh said that his agency provides professional people to the clients but also said the community is a big help.
“We pride ourselves in integration (but) this is a very welcoming community,” he said. “It’s not just the agency, it’s the community.
“The inclusion is very evident.”
Walsh also acknowledged the “good relationship” they have with Rural Frontenac Community Services.
“They do a lot of the prep work behind the scenes.”