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MeaningfulLife features stories of accomplishments people have achieved and the Personal Outcome Measures related to these achievements.  Personal Outcome Measures are the foundation of everything Empower Simcoe does to support people.
May is Community Living Month
Community Living Month is a province-wide annual awareness campaign to recognize the accomplishments of the Community Living movement. Join Empower Simcoe as we celebrate #CLInspiringPossibilities for the inclusion of people who have an intellectual disability and their families!

The Community Living movement strives to promote authentic community inclusion for people who have an intellectual disability and their families. This includes the more than 80,000 people who have an intellectual disability and their families in Ontario who Community Living Ontario has been advocating for and with for nearly 70 years. Community Living Ontario and Empower Simcoe envisions a society where people who have an intellectual disability belong and have equal rights, respect, acceptance, a sense of self-worth and opportunities for growth.

This #CLMonth2022, let’s celebrate the gifts and talents of the people we support, and a healthy, inclusive community where everyone has the opportunity to Be, Belong and Thrive.  Learn more about Community Living Month here.
Outcome - People participate in the life of the community; People are respected; People exercise rights
Volunteers are the heart of Empower Simcoe and play a vital role ensuring we support people of all ages and abilities to realize their full potential and to enhance their quality of life.  Volunteers are a valued part of our team and play a significant role in all areas of our agency.  Please consider sharing your skills and energy with us today.  We’re always looking for hard-working, compassionate individuals. Complete our online Empower Simcoe volunteer application today. 
A Special Day of Golf in Support of
Empower Simcoe 
Registration is open for Empower Simcoe’s 26th Annual Golf Tournament! After receiving rave reviews from our golfers last year, this year’s tournament will again be hosted by Braestone Club in Oro-Medonte on Thursday, June 16th, starting at 10 a.m. Registration includes a golf cart, green fees for 18 holes, lunch, a sleeve of Empower Simcoe golf balls, snacks and free entry into a bunch of exciting contests. Invite your friends, your work colleagues, your employees, your family members, and make a day of it!
All proceeds this year go to the Empower Simcoe Foundation’s Lakeshore Ridge Capital Campaign. By playing in Empower Simcoe’s Golf Tournament you'll be helping people with complex needs live a more meaningful and self-fulfilling life.
Not a golfer? Not a problem! Empower Simcoe also needs volunteers to help out on the day of the tournament. Spend the day outside in a beautiful setting and help make it fun and rewarding for everyone.
Business supporters! We still have lots of $150 hole sponsorships left. Get your name and logo into our tournament and publications. You can go directly to our online sponsorship form to register and pay for your sponsorship.
Please visit our golf tournament page for more information and to register.
Lakeshore Ridge Campaign Update
We want to thank all of our supporters who have donated to the Lakeshore Ridge Capital Campaign. With two months to go, our final push is starting, with the goal to raise $104,000 by the end of June.
Read more about Lakeshore Ridge here and click the button below to donate to the campaign. All donations are going to the finishing touches at the new home: furniture, décor, landscaping and more. Your gift will help make the new house a home where people with multiple and complex needs will be supported to live a meaningful and self-fulfilling life.
Every donation brings the home at Lakeshore Ridge that much closer to completion. Your donation of any size is greatly appreciated. All donors will receive an official charitable receipt for tax purposes.
For other ways to donate, including gifts of securities, or for more information, please contact Empower Simcoe Foundation Donor Relations Coordinator Doug Cleverley at, or at 705-726-9082 x2285.
Empower Simcoe's
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council
Empower Simcoe’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council (EDIAC) was formed in 2021 with a mandate to provide advice, comments and recommendations on issues affecting diversity at Empower Simcoe.  With a focus on support and education, EDIAC continues its work facilitating opportunities that celebrate the different aspects of diverse cultures and traditions at all levels of Empower Simcoe.  Edward Jones Financial Advisor Danisha Allen (pictured above) is a dedicated Empower Simcoe volunteer who is committed to strengthening Empower Simcoe’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. Let's get to know Danisha and why she became a volunteer with Empower Simcoe. 

Why did you join the Empower Simcoe Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council?

I decided to join Empower Simcoe’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council because I knew my voice would be heard.  Empower Simcoe is serious about making change.  Equity is not just a buzz word and about checking off a diversity box, and I feel at Empower Simcoe, meaningful change is happening.

Why is it important for Empower Simcoe and our community to fully incorporate diversity and inclusion into our everyday lives?

I believe there’s so much growth to be had when we include other peoples’ points of view and differences.  Our community and our organizations can be so much richer in seeing different perspectives.  If we would just listen to each other and understand how each person receives love, then our community and country would be such a better place.

What excites you about some of the initiatives the Council and Empower Simcoe are implementing to become a more diverse space?

I’m excited about the implementation of Empower Simcoe’s Safer Spaces training.  It’s important to have this training not just once, but as a reoccurring refresher.  We can’t change if we don’t learn, understand and grow.  People just want to be accepted and inherently want to understand others as long as we keep learning from each other.

Got a question for Empower Simcoe’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council?  Email
Learn more here about Empower Simcoe’s commitment to creating and maintaining an inclusive culture where every employee, volunteer and person support feels valued and respected.

Outcome - People perform different social roles; People are respected
Women in Business Awards 2022
On April 27th, keynote speaker Empower Simcoe CEO Claudine Cousins shared her passion for learning and leadership to the sold out crowd at Liberty North Banquet Hall during the 2022 Women in Business Awards.

Presented by the Barrie Chamber of Commerce, the Women in Business Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of women in business in our community. Congratulations to these leaders and influencers for excelling in business and our community: 

Woman of the Year - Entrepreneur: Alana Howard, Cosmopolitan Academy Inc.

Woman of the Year -  Intrapreneur: Mackenzie Fennell, Sandbox Centre

Woman of the Year - Young Entrepreneur: Rachael Hargan, Plan A Long Term Care Staffing Solutions

Woman of the Year -  Women in Trade: Crista Winterkorn, LCDC Colour and Coating Inc.

Woman of the Year - Heart and Soul: Sarah Melody, Anahata Yoga from the Heart

Woman of the Year - Visionary: Danielle Lazarevska, Sandbox Centre

Outcome - People realize personal goals
Gift of the Heart Award Nominations Now Open
Clockwise top left, the 2020-21 Gift of the Heart recipients:  Milestones Barrie (Community Partner); Karl Cadera (Volunteer); Adam Mannella (Employee); Dillon Pilger (Self-Advocate); Susan Ross (Family); Marion Cooper (Community Partner), and Natasha Brown (Employee).
Nominations are open for the Empower Simcoe 2021-2022 Gift of the Heart Awards.
Do you know an Empower Simcoe employee, volunteer, family member, self-advocate or community group, deserving of recognition for their contributions towards improving the lives of people and families supported by Empower Simcoe?  Now it’s easier than ever to submit your nomination.  Find the Gift of the Heart Award nomination form on-line here from Empower Simcoe's website.
Presented at this year’s Empower Simcoe Annual General Meeting on September 7th, the Gift of the Heart Awards recognize individuals and organizations who give selflessly of their time and energy to improve the quality of life for people of all abilities.
Nominations will be accepted until July 15th, 2022 in the Employee, Volunteer, Self-Advocate, Family, and Community Partner categories.  Good luck!
Outcome - People choose personal goals
Empower Simcoe's Believe In Yourself

The Empower Simcoe Believe In Yourself Committee provides a voice for people receiving support from Empower Simcoe, as well as a forum in which to discuss concerns and to share opinions about rights issues. 

Once again this month, Meaningful Life is pleased to profile one its members and the ongoing work they're doing to educate and advocate on behalf of people of all abilities in our community.

Please meet Empower Simcoe Believe In Yourself Committee Member Dan Sparks.

I want to share with everyone that I am very happy about the support I receive from the Empower Simcoe Employment Supports program.  In fact, I am excited that I have an upcoming job interview with a local business.  My Employment Supports Coordinator not only connects me to employment but she also knew I would be interested in joining the Believe In Yourself committee as I like to keep myself busy.  I also wanted to learn how to be a better advocate for myself and others.  I am a fairly new member of the Believe In Yourself committee as I have only been involved for just over 2 years but I do enjoy the monthly virtual meetings and can't wait until we can meet in person again. 

Other things that keep me busy are my interests in animals and politics.  Politics has always been a keen interest for me.  With that being said, I not only volunteer with the Believe In Yourself committee, I also volunteer in assisting  with local elections.  I am currently campaigning for the Liberal party.   I hope you are all able to vote as I know I will be voting!

Learn more about Empower Simcoe's Believe In Yourself Committee by visiting their webpage here

Outcome - People realize personal goals; People choose where they work

Have a comment, question or story idea? Contact: call (705) 726-9082 ext. 5280, or email
Empower Simcoe's Newest Green Thumb

This is what anticipation looks like. Austin, who is supported by Empower Simcoe's Family Services program, can't wait to see his new hobby start to sprout. These bean, cucumber, zucchini, pea and carrot seedlings will be transplanted into Austin's back yard garden when planting season arrives soon.

We so look forward to watching your garden grow too, Austin!

Outcome - People choose personal goals
Stay in Touch with the Empower Simcoe App
The Empower Simcoe App is mobile friendly, easy-to-use and designed to further connect our employees, volunteers and the people and families we support at Empower Simcoe.  You can register for events, receive program notifications and the most up to date Empower Simcoe news, as well as quick access to Empower Simcoe social media.  Staff can also access an employee portal to check email.

For iPhone users go to the app store, and/or for android users, go to the google play store. Enter Empower Simcoe, and look for the Empower Simcoe logo to download this free app.  It's that easy.  Get your Empower Simcoe app now! 
Vital Empower Simcoe Support
April 27th was Administrative Professionals Day.  At Empower Simcoe, we’re fortunate to work side by side with this dedicated and diligent group who are the backbone of Empower Simcoe’s support structure. THANK YOU to this essential group for their commitment to excellence and the impact they make every day for the people and families we support.

Pictured above top row l-r: Administrative Associate/Receptionist Michelle Soltysiak; Human Resources Administrative Associate Katelyn McNaught; Regional Housing Support Services Program Associate Donna Kivell; Preschool Services Program Associate Laura McArthur.

Middle row l-r: Quality and Innovations Administrative Associate Jennifer Fulton; Accommodations Program Associate/Receptionist Terry Oram; Quality and Innovations Administrative Associate Sarah Berry; Quality and Innovations Administrative Associate Kathleen Mansbridge. 

Bottom row l-r: Accommodations Program Associate Jennifer Valentine; Community Support Services Program Associate Sam Quartermain; Executive Assistant Julie McAlpine; Housing Support Services/Respite/Supported Independent Living Program Associate Joan Crozier.
Outcome - People choose where they work
Subscribe to MeaningfulLife and stay up to date with everything that's happening at Empower Simcoe.  Inspirational stories of accomplishment, what we're working on as an agency and upcoming events are just a click away.  
May's Community Support Services
Virtual Activities
See what fun and engaging virtual activities are scheduled this month for the people we support at Empower Simcoe's Community Support Services Barrie and Orillia.  Download your May calendars here.
Outcome - People participate in the life of the community; People choose personal goals
Empower Simcoe is excited to be participating in the provincial campaign to drive recruitment in the developmental services sector!

This is YOUR Opportunity to build a strong, inclusive community. This is your opportunity to build a brighter future for all.

Do you want to be a change maker in your community in a career that matters?  You can! Visit our Empower Simcoe Careers page to learn more about an exciting career in the developmental service sector. 
Outcome - People choose where they work
Helping Families Find the Right Autism Services

Empower Simcoe is pleased to be delivering an Entry to School program through the York Simcoe Autism Network (YSAN).  The Entry to School program supports children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) between the ages of three and six years old who are entering kindergarten or grade one for the first time.

The program features:

  • a six-month group service focusing on building skills that prepare children to start school;
  • transition supports for children when they begin school; and
  • individualized consultations to support a successful transition for the first six months a child is in school.
The Entry to School program is available at no cost to families registered in the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) and who have received an invitation from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services to participate.

If you have received your invitation to register for the Entry to School program, and your child attends a school in York Region or Simcoe County, visit the York Simcoe Autism Network website to complete the online registration form:

In Barrie, the Entry to School program is currently underway at Empower Simcoe's EarlyON Child and Family Centre at 129 Ferris Lane, Barrie, 118 Barrie Street in Bradford, and at 35 West Street in Orillia.

As a member of YSAN, Empower Simcoe is committed to providing accessible, high-quality services that result in improved outcomes for children and youth with ASD and their families. To learn more about YSAN, visit their website.  
Outcome - People choose services; People choose personal goals
Get Ready for Kindergarten

Spaces are still available to join Empower Simcoe EarlyON Child and Family Center Program Facilitators for an engaging program to help you and your child Get Ready for Kindergarten in September! If your child has turned, or is turning 4 in 2022, this program is for you!
Register here.

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