“It has always been and remains to be with pride that I speak of the “Association”. I began working with the Association in 1982 when I arrived here from Cornwall, Ontario to seek my fame and fortune. I began work at 65th Avenue, a house which no longer exists within the agency’s inventory but one in which I met many residents who still reside within the agency’s services 24 years later. On my first day we went for a van ride around the area and Joey Maki (now we know her as Joey Shields) made me drive this van full of people ‘because I might as well get used to it now.’ I had never driven a van before let alone one full of people I was responsible for…years later, Joey still reminds me of this time.
I had the opportunity to work at 65th, then 107th and mostly at 83rd Avenue residences. This was my training ground for working in and supervising teams. There were always professional development opportunities to keep us intrigued. However the ‘less professional’ developments are what really kept me working with the Association. We had so much FUN!
From car rallies to Christmas parties and ALL those informal gatherings at the Crown and Anchor, we had a blast. To capture the close bond of friendship felt at that time, several of us put together a time capsule in 1988 and committed to gathering again 12 years later and we did. At the C & A, in 2000, this much more mature group met to remember crazier times. To think…should we gather again in 2012 only 6 years away…perhaps?
It is very clear in my mind the thing that I most respect about the ‘Association’ is the openness to newness and change. A major turning point in my personal career and the lives of those we provided a service for, was the embracing of Personal Planning. We went from a system where WE as professionals assessed and set goals for those clients living and working within our group homes and vocational settings to where WE listened to what our people and their families, the professionals in that person’s life, wanted in their lives and committed ourselves to working for them to help them to achieve their lives' desires and dreams.
I stayed as an employee for 13 years because the people I worked for believed in having happy employees. I have continued to work for the Association for an additional 11 years because I believe in what they do and owe them my deepest gratitude for allowing me to learn and practice a planning tool that has made such a significant difference in people’s lives.”