Community Living-North Frontenac

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Community Living-North Frontenac's History


In 1976 families gathered in the vicinity of Mountain Grove to talk about how they could support and care for their intellectually challenged son or daughter as they age. Merv Rutherford, Helen Tryon, Wayne Robinson, and Donna Ladouceur, were the founding members of the organization that was incorporated under the name "The North Frontenac Association for the Developmentally Handicapped".  North Frontenac Community Services originally played a role in the association early beginnings around 1970's.

In the beginning, services were limited. There was a weekly drop-in centre at the former Mountain Grove schoolhouse, but in the first years after incorporation the organization bought the old store in Mountain Grove and established ARC Industries.  ARC Industries was a commercial venture producing pillows, picnic tables, knitting baskets, foot stools, oven mitts, and more. It was also a focal point for educational, literacy and life skills programs for people with a developmental disability.  At one point, ARC also had a contract from Tweed Steele to produce fireplace inserts.

In 1982, a group home named Sharbot Lake Residence, was opened, with residents coming from institutions as far away as Marmora and Smiths Falls, as well as from local families. people attended ARC Industries during the day.  People also had 24-hour life supports in place while living at Sharbot Lake Residence.

The model of support began to change in the late 1980s as the idea of community inclusion began to take shape in Frontenac County and across the province as well.

In the late 1980's ARC Industries began to lose its lustre. The people who were working at ARC were aging and the younger population were not as interested in the programming that was offered. Individuals began to express the desire to leave the Sharbot Lake Residence and move into local apartment with individualized support. This trend continued and the group home eventually closed.

In the early 1990's the organization changed its name to Community Living-North Frontenac and the model of community integration and inclusion began to take shape.  Combined with supports offered by dedicated employees and a visionary Executive Director and Board of Director's Community Living-North Frontenac was firmly established as an agency that focuses on people first.  That model has remained the focus of the organization to this day.

Organizationally, Community Living established its headquarters at Highway 7 and 38 in 1994, when the ARC industries building was closed. Throughout the rest of the 1990s, Community Living was based at Highway 7, and while cuts in funding forced some downsizing in administration, programming for aging parents with adult developmentally disabled children living at home was developed, and children's programming kept being improved.

In 2000, Community Living moved its main office into the village of Sharbot Lake at Beattie House at 1025 Elizabeth street.

Moving into the village assisted Community Living with it's profile while living up to its mandate of fostering full inclusion and helping people become productive members in their community.   

January 6, 2006 was a turning point for Community Living, this was the day that a fire burnt the main office.  After some soul searching, the decision was made to rebuild on the same site, a new office building was constructed, as the agency carried on at temporary offices in the former Retail Centre at Highway 7 and 38.  While the fire was a setback, there were no injuries associated with it, and the new office building helped Community Living move forward.

In 2002, Community Living also took over the operation of the Treasure Trunk, the used clothing store was essentially a vocational service for people supported by Community Living.  The Treasure Trunk eventually moved to a spacious location on the waterfront near the Trans-Canada Trail (Marg's Shoe Store).

While the Treasure Trunk offers work opportunities for Community Living supported individuals, it also provides service to local residents who benefit from inexpensive clothing and household items.

In 2016 and as part of CL-NF' strategic outlook for the future, CL-NF purchased two building's.  One of the building's was converted for our  Treasure Trunk and the other building is a duplex that will be used for future program development.  Please come and visit the Treasure Trunk it is now located at 12795 Road 38 , south of Sharbot Lake.)