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Community Living hits its 60th year

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A local organization is hitting a big milestone this month.

“On the 16th of May, we're celebrating our 60th anniversary,” said Alanna Barr, CEO of Community Living Fort Frances and District (CLFFD).

“We're having a dinner and dance at La Place Rendez-Vous that night, so it's the people we provide support to, their families, supporters of Community Living, and our staff.”

Barr said that the organization is working on a video highlighting some of the events Community Living has held over the past 60 years, and plans to show the video at the dinner.

Local rock band Thinking of Pinky will also be on hand to provide music to dance to after dinner.

The 60th anniversary comes in the middle of “Community Living Month,” which is celebrated across Ontario.

To kick off Community Living Month, the organization was at the Fort Frances Civic Centre last Thursday to hear an official proclamation from Mayor June Caul, and to raise the Community Living flag.

“We join with other community living organizations across our province to celebrate advocating for the rights of people with an intellectual disability to highlight and acknowledge the work we have done in our communities,” Barr said at the flag raising.

Faith Moen of CLFFD said that the organization will be doing a little decorating to help celebrate and spread awareness for the month.

“Part of Community Living Ontario's message is 'Shine the Light,'” Moen said.

“So different monuments across Ontario are going to be lit up blue and green, which are our colours. Our organization has put blue and green lights in our window to help shine the light on our organization.”

Six decades is a long time by many stretches, and as CEO of Community Living Fort Frances and District, Barr has taken time to reflect on what a milestone of this magnitude means.

“The community living movement has been making a difference in peoples lives in our community for 60 years,” Barr said.

“We've seen a tremendous amount of change; inclusion of people, people having opportunities to live their life in the community, to be employed, to participate in all the things that normal citizens would participate in the community.”

Moen said that though many people know of the organization, not everyone understands what they do, making Community Living Month a good opportunity to help spread awareness.

“At so many different levels we provide service to people to live independently to live in their homes,” Moen said.

“We offer employment support, there's so many options for it. We really want to promote community engagement and inclusion for everybody.”

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