Lorraine’s memories make her smile.

Community Living Toronto (CLTO) is turning 75 years old! That means 75 Years of Belonging and 75 years of memories. To help us celebrate, we are sharing some stories with you from across our communities. This is Lorraine’s story and these are some of her memories.

Hello all, I am Lorraine.

I have been a part of the CLTO community for decades!

I am 64 years old right now, and when I think about CLTO I think about many years of great memories and experiences. I am so happy to belong to such an important community.

For Lorraine, “belonging” is helping others and sharing art.

My memories of CLTO go back many years. I remember being a volunteer at Shadow Lake camp when I was 15 or 16 years old. I helped with the campers and I was also the arts and crafts person!

These are good memories.

CLTO has owned and operated the Shadow Lake Centre since 1965. This program offers a year-round facility designed to give people with an intellectual disability a chance to experience the magic of camp. Each summer, Shadow Lake becomes a bustling home-away-from-home for over 500 guests and about 100 staff members. The summer camp is self-directed, meaning each camper chooses the activities they participate in.

I have lots of other memories.

When I was a teenager, some of the kids would bully me and say the R word. We don’t like to use that word at all. It’s not a good word. And I don’t like labels anyways, so when people ask about my disability I just tell them I’m not very good at math.

“I don’t focus on bullying anymore. Maybe young teenagers say things, but I don’t listen.”

I recently made a speech at the Community Living Ontario conference. At the conference, we talked about different things. There was another lady who was crying when she shared that she was put through a lot of upsetting things at school. I talked about how I felt at school when people were picking on me. And I spoke up for these people and shared how I felt. I don’t focus on bullying anymore. Maybe young teenagers say things, but I don’t listen.

Now I focus on my hobby – painting! My dad was an artist and he inspires me. I like to work on my art in my bedroom and then share it with people. I have even put some of my art in an arts and crafts fair in Parkdale and came in third place!

I want everybody to know that CLTO is a very good organization. They treat us good and try to help us. They’ve just been so wonderful to me. That’s why I volunteer at CLTO bingos and food banks and other programs. They support me and make me want to be better at what I do, and to learn, and to help people. I am always willing to help others.

Everybody has different capabilities and it’s a good thing. Because everybody learns from everybody.

Community Living Toronto is turning 75 years old this year. Will you help us create 75 more Years of Belonging by adding your name below?

75 more years of belonging.
Add your name now if you agree: “People with an intellectual disability belong in our community!”

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