Sherron and Clovis share their journey.
This year marks Community Living Toronto (CLTO)’s 75th anniversary, and to celebrate we’ve asked people from across our communities to help us understand what 75 Years of Belonging means to them.
This is Clovis and Sherron’s reflections on belonging as shared with CLTO. We are honoured to share their perspectives with you.
Sherron and Clovis have so much to share about their experience and how meaningful Community Living Toronto (CLTO) has been for their family throughout the past 20 years. Today, they will take us on a journey that explores how belonging means hope and inclusion, among many other important things.
In 2001, Clovis and Sherron’s son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and shortly after that, they were connected to CLTO for support.
As his mom, Sherron explains how vital CLTO has been to her on her journey: “This organization was there for me at the beginning of my journey, learning about and navigating various systems for my disabled son. I did not know or have anyone else to turn to. They embraced me, taught me, connected me, and helped me start on this lifelong journey. They also taught me how to embrace this new life not through gritted teeth but simply as a new direction.”
Community Living Toronto provides a variety of supports and services for people living with an intellectual disability and their families. Our services are person-directed and help naturally develop networks within the community that encourage independence and personal achievement. We support people of all ages, and our services are organized into three main streams: Specialized Services, Community Participation Supports and Respite, and Supported Living. Learn more here.
Sherron and Clovis didn’t hesitate to talk about the significant impact CLTO’s services provided to their family. These supports include:
- Navigation supports to help families better understand the school systems, which can be quite challenging for students with an intellectual disability and their families
- Respite services that make a difference for families by giving them a short break to recharge and take care of themselves
- Emotional support and parenting support programs that connect parents on similar journeys; Sherron shares that these connections have been helpful reminders that she is not alone
- A range of supportive housing programs which, Clovis shares, helps address one of the biggest concerns for many families who are worrying about leaving their loved ones behind
It is clear that CLTO is special to Clovis and Sherron. Today, we reflect on the thousands of other families who have found support, togetherness, understanding, and comfort through CLTO in the past 75 years. Each member has helped pave a path to where we are today, and each member has set the direction we know we must go toward in the next 75.
Belonging is hope and inclusion.
Clovis shares with us that for him, belonging is hope: “The organization’s work has helped me have more hope for my son and others with disabilities. The organization strongly promotes the contributions that people with disabilities can make, helps families like ours see that a better life is possible and not simply focused on the deficits of your family member.”
“Without CLTO, I would have remained on the fringe of society and kept my child there with me not thinking that I had a choice or option or right to have him included…”
And Sherron reflects on how belonging is also inclusion: “I never thought about “inclusion” for my son until coming into contact with CLTO. I never realized that there was such a movement behind the concept. Without CLTO, I would have remained on the fringe of society and kept my child there with me not thinking that I had a choice or option or right to have him included, for him to live a typical life like that of his older sibling. Never would I have dreamed those kinds of dreams for him or us.”
For 75 years, Community Living Toronto has been evolving, learning, and growing to support and include people with an intellectual disability. Together, let’s work toward 75 more Years of Belonging. Here is one way you can help today: Add your name below to show your support.
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