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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Joan Schmidt (B.A., LL.B) works as a Crown Attorney for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, where she has dedicated her career to strengthening communication and efficiency in the justice system. She is responsible for a number of portfolios including day to day operations of the Winnipeg Drug Treatment Court, and prosecutions in a large number of communities. Joan has a long history of volunteer and board experience, and has a strong background in the arts community. Joan and her children moved to Stonewall in 2020, just as the first COVID lockdown began. With their newly blended family they have enjoyed exploring their new community and look forward to more opportunities to connect as things reopen! Joan is excited to be part of the Board of Community Living Interlake and be able to give back to the community that she now calls home.
Jeff Levesque (B.Ed, M.Ed.) has been an administrator with the Interlake School Division since 2001 and has nearly 30 years experience in K-12 education. Recently, Jeff has had the opportunity to serve his community as a member of Stonewall Town Council from 2016-2019. This experience provided Jeff with a clear insight into many of the opportunities and challenges in our area. One highlight of this experience was the opportunity to see first hand how community challenges can be transformed into opportunities by the will of good people. Jeff first learned of the role of Community Living Interlake as a town councillor when there was opposition by some residents to a new group home under consideration. Jeff was profoundly impressed by the character shown by a huge contingent of support from the community of Stonewall that had challenged the initial resistance to the home. This support by the broader community clearly demonstrated the desire to accept and promote inclusionary practices within our community. Jeff and his wife Trena moved to Stonewall in 2001 at which time they started to raise their family. Jeff has experienced the importance of becoming an advocate and speaking out in order to build better supports to help those in need. He remains proud of the community of Stonewall and is appreciative of the caring nature of its residents.
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.
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
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.