Support for life in the community.
Community Living Interlake
Houses & Programs
At Community Living Interlake we support Individuals who live with Intellectual Disabilities. We work with them to provide housing, day programs and employment training and we assist them in leading meaningful lives in a fully integrated community. We operate 6 houses and several apartments in Stonewall, provide a day program service, and offer job training.
Mission and Vision
The Association for Community Living Interlake Branch recognizes the value of every person and believes that people living with an intellectual disability are individuals; each of whom has rights as community members.
Community Living Interlake is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting individuals, living with an intellectual disability, to live a fully inclusive life as members of the community.
CLI owns and operates two social enterprises jointly referred to as Something Beautiful. These enterprises act as “job training incubators” for our clients, teaching them valuable skills and helping them build resumes.
Something Beautiful includes a gift shop with a constantly changing selection of products, and a cafe with drinks, meals, and baked goods made in-house. The cafe space is also available for rent for community events.
News and Updates
Here we are, a small Community Living Association, serving a dispersed clientele in rural Manitoba and we have had positive news coverage on a national level twice since the last board meeting. I am extremely proud of the staff who have made these things happen. Seven years ago we embarked on a program to raise our profile, integrate into the community and create awareness of our programs for the benefit of the people we support. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that we would ever be featured in national media stories for the innovative and beneficial work we strive to do here.
First – Communities In Bloom
At the International Symposium and Awards Ceremony held in Victoria B.C., CLI received an amazing acknowledgement and Special Mention by the National judges. In their press release the judges wrote:
“Every day for over 50 years the Association for Community Living Interlake has provided food, job coaching and basic care for over 100 adults who live with intellectual disabilities, providing housing for 25 individuals in six homes and several apartments. Their daily program supports and provides for more than 50 who live in Stonewall and surrounding communities. Their services provide vital help to the people they support through their social enterprise Something Beautiful Café and Gift Shop, providing hands on job training and skills development resulting in opportunities for individuals to gain employment. In addition, they provide opportunities for individuals to integrate with the community, lead meaningful lives and contribute to their hometown. Revenues raised through social enterprise help support recreation for all of the individuals as well as helping for the purchase of specialized equipment such as computers and productive lives. Congratulations Stonewall”.
Second – Recognition for our Chef
One of our chefs Zach Ssenkungu has been named by the Globe and Mail as one of Canada’s rising chefs. Zach, who is originally from Uganda, has had his recipes and story featured in a national Globe and Mail article. The article drew the attention of the local CBC radio morning show and Zach gave a very impressive 7 minute interview about his background and where he worked. He was funny, entertaining and informative. His willingness to do this for us has received a lot of attention, more attention than anything we have done in the past few years. I literally have people stopping me on the street or stopping meetings to ask me about the interview and the work we do.
The Association for Community Living – Interlake (CLI) was founded, by a service club and a concerned parents in 1965 to establish a private school for students, living with intellectual disabilities. At that time these children were not allowed access to any form of education within the public school system. This was a time of societal change and as the school system began to provide for the public education of all children the parental organization changed its focus from providing education to provide housing.
As the school system became more inclusive, CLI began to concentrate on providing other needed services including housing, skills training and employment counselling. The focus of the organization shifted from school age children to adults, from age 21 until end of life care
Houses & Programs
Today CLI owns and operates 5 houses and rents a 6th house, located throughout Stonewall providing houses for 15-18 individuals. CLI also provides needs-based support to 5-8 individuals who live in their own homes.
The organization has relocated from a back street to a 10,000 sq foot storefront operation at the corner of 1st ave and Main Street. In total, we provide support to approx. 25 people with their daily living.
In addition, we operate a day program where over 40 individuals receive care and skills training, when funding is available, a summer program for people under 21, and an adult leisure program for aging and infirm individuals, some of whom are in their 70’s. CLI provides its clients with skills and vocational training through the operation of two social enterprise businesses, a café and a gift shop.
CLI has continued to grow and evolve so that, as an organization, it can continue to provide much-needed services for its clients. Today society has higher expectations for the potential of our clients to learn, succeed and achieve some form of independence. CLI has strategically changed to meet these expectations and provide innovative solutions to meet our mission. Modern Community Living programs include skills training in both rudimentary life skills and job related training.
In 2014 CLI made the bold move to purchase and begin renovation of a former Home Hardware building located in a prominent location on main street Stonewall. In addition to providing a highly visible location for the day program and offices of CLI, this store front facility provided the opportunity to begin operating social enterprise businesses. CLI has taken the innovative step of creating our own social enterprise businesses that will act as “job training incubators” for people who live with an intellectual disability. These businesses have the combined mandate of generating revenue for the organization and income for the individuals as well as creating meaningful job training and inclusion in the community for individuals working in the storefronts.
Ila Buchanan is a long term resident of the Argyle, Warren, Woodlands areas. Ila had been in Healthcare for 17 years prior to taking on the role of running the canteen at Stonewall Collegiate for 10 years where she had the opportunity to guide many of the Special needs students in the art of food service and preparation. Ila has volunteered in many capacities including Interlake Tourism, Quarry Days committee, Community Futures West Interlake, and Interlake Community Foundation, to only name a few. She was very honoured to be elected for 2 terms of Council in the Rm. of Woodlands from 2010 to 2018. As a parent of 6 and Grandmother of 9, Ila’s strongest desire is to have communities that promote growth and opportunities for all residents to be proud that they call home.
Laurie Beachell retired in 2015 after serving as the National Coordinator of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) for over 30 years. In that role he coordinated the advocacy, law reform, public education, litigation and international development initiatives of CCD. Mr. Beachell is committed to the creation of more inclusive and accessible communities and improving the status of Canadians with disabilities. He has served on advisory committees to Stats Canada, Elections Canada, CRA, Finance, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to name a few. In 2006 he served on a panel reporting to the Minister of Finance to develop the Registered Disability Savings Plan. He has just completed 5 years on the Disability Advisory Committee to the Minister of Revenue regarding tax reform and disability. He is a recipient of the Patrick Worth Award from People First of Canada and the National President’s Award from the Canadian Mental Health Association. In 2019 the University of Carleton in Ottawa awarded Mr. Beachell an Honourary Doctor of Laws for his work promoting the equality of Canadians with disabilities. Laurie and his wife reside on the family farm in Rosser, Manitoba and spend their summers at their cottage in Gimli.
Lisa Highmoor is a Speech-Language Pathologist, Educator & Musician who moved to the Stonewall area with her husband and 2 daughters in 2010. Over her professional career, Lisa has had many opportunities to support individuals of all ages who are dealing with communication challenges. Growing up in a small town in northern Manitoba, Lisa learned the importance of giving back to the community. She began volunteering at a young age for local events that required a singer or pianist and this philosophy has continued throughout her life. Upon arriving in Stonewall, Lisa became involved with the Rockwood Festival of the Arts as a pianist and committee/board member. Most recently, Lisa has been the accompanist for “Tabula Rasa”, a young adult choir in the Interlake under the direction of Kendra Obach. As part of the choir community in Flin Flon and Winnipeg, Lisa has been able to take part in a number of special events with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and in New York with the Distinguished Concerts International New York -Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Centre. Lisa is a recent addition to the board of directors for Community Living Interlake and is grateful for the opportunity to be involved with this important organization.
Lisa Tully is an Events Director at Red River Exhibition Park. She works with various events and promoters throughout the year planning and hosting successful markets, conventions and exhibitions. During the pandemic Lisa worked with Indigenous, newcomer and low income persons at SEED Winnipeg in the Business & Enterprise Support & Training team. Successful communities and organizations are built on community engagement, leadership and volunteerism. Lisa is a proud Interlaker and loves the opportunity to give back and help where she can. Lisa grew up on her family grain farm in Marquette . She learnt volunteerism at a young age from her grand mother who was on the school board, church executive and Co-op board. In later years, Lisa became involved with various organizations like 4-H, Youth Parliament, United Way, Cooperative Youth Leadership, Stonewall Quarry and Community Living Interlake. Lisa is excited to volunteer and be part of the programs, social enterprises and clients at CLI.
Pauline Bloom (B.Sc., M.Sc.) works for the Manitoba Government as a Regional Wildlife Manager with the Wildlife, Fisheries and Resource Enforcement Branch, where she oversees all the wildlife management programs in her region. Pauline is an active volunteer in the Interlake and sits on the executive for the Teulon Cross Country Ski Club as coordinator of online memberships and website manager. She also chairs the Teulon Ducks Unlimited Banquet Committee, which hosts an annual fundraising banquet to raise funds for conservation. Pauline is looking forward to being a part of all the positive initiatives being undertaken by Community Living Interlake.
Robin Varndell (NFP COO, B.Arts) has 30 years of working within the non-profit sector. For 20 of those years, she was the Chapter Manager for the Multiple Sclerosis Society in Dauphin Manitoba. Robin was very involved in the community ,sitting on numerous boards and committees. Robin moved to Stonewall in 2015 and became the Chief Operating Officer with the Mennonite Central Committee, Kildonan Community Assistance Inc., located in Winnipeg Manitoba. Robin loves living in Stonewall is excited to be part of Community Living Interlake Board. Robin’s passion is to be involved in a non-profit organization that is focuses on inclusion and providing job opportunities for those living in Stonewall.
Scott Stephens (B.Sc, M.Sc, PhD.) currently works for Ducks Unlimited Canada at Oak Hammock Marsh as Director of Regional Operations – Prairies and Boreal region, where he manages a $66M budget and oversees 180 conservation staff across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Scott and his family have lived in Stonewall since 2010 where he has been active in youth sports in the local community, coaching his son in youth baseball and basketball and his daughter in basketball throughout their middle school and high school years. He has also served in leadership positions with Parent Advisory Committee and Parent Information Group at Stonewall Centennial School and Stonewall Collegiate Institute, respectively. Scott has also served on the Board of the Stonewall Presbyterian Church. Scott finds Stonewall to be a vibrant community where he is pleased to engage in local organizations and causes, like Community Living Interlake, to make it an even more special place to live.
Stephanie Penelton (B.Kin) has been working for the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation for the past 7 years, focusing on providing all children the support needed to realize their abilities. She has lived in Warren for four years with her family and enjoys exploring the area with her extended family that has also recently moved to the Interlake area. She is excited to be a part of the Community Living Interlake board and looks forward to new opportunities to connect with the organization and community.
Sherri -Ann Allen, B.Comm.(Hons.), CPA, CGA grew up in Stonewall, moved to the north for over 20 years, and returned home to the area in 2017. She is a self-employed financial consultant. Sherri has always enjoyed working and volunteering with not-for-profit organizations such as Big Sisters of Winnipeg, YWCA of Yellowknife, Big Buddies of Yellowknife, NWT SPCA and Holiday Alley. She presently delivers Meals on Wheels in Selkirk, and is pleased to be involved with this valuable, dynamic organization.
Jimm Simon (HBOR. BA, M.Sc, MBA.) has been working with Community Living Interlake since 2014 and became the Executive Director in April of 2017. Prior to joining Jimm worked for over 20 years as a business planning and management consultant specializing in not for profit organizations. Outside of work Jimm volunteers with several not for profit charities primarily as a board member. He is the past chair and honourary lifetime member of the Association of Manitoba Museums and the past national board chair and honourary life member of the Canadian Cancer Society. Jimm has overseen the growth and transition of Community Living Interlake from its former operation at the former Arris Centre to its current headquarters at 307 Main Street. As an organization Community Living is very proud of its accomplishments in the past decade in creating opportunities for our clients including the employment opportunities we provide in our gift store and café, Something Beautiful.
Jimm first came to Stonewall in 1986 when he accepted the position as Manager of Stonewall Quarry Park where, among other things he planned for the development of the toboggan hill now known as Jimm’s Hill. Jimm is an executive member of the Stonewall Chamber of Commerce and has volunteered his time to help support several other Stonewall charities.