Community Living Atikokan (CLA) is a community based organization dedicated to promoting the acceptance and value of all persons. We are committed to inspire, encourage, and nurture. Community Living Atikokan’s name has changed over the years to reflect the ever changing goals of those receiving supports through us since 1969.
Community Living Atikokan aspires to create and maintain an environment that respects diverse traditions, heritages, experiences, ideas and perspectives. We are committed to supporting diverse populations, attracting and retaining a diverse workforce, building and strengthening partnerships and fostering an environment free of discrimination and harassment. CLA provides excellence in care and service, focusing on fairness and ethical conduct, and providing strong, responsive leadership thorough innovation and best practices. Our well-trained and dedicated team achieves our vision through teamwork, continuous education, community partnerships, actively supporting people to achieve their goals, respecting the right and dignity of informed choices, collectively advocating and influencing public policy, and celebrating successes and achievements.
Over the years, the services provided have changed and resources have been used to develop opportunities for individuals to experience growth, quality of life, inclusion and equality within the community to their fullest potential. In contrast to earlier forms of services that emphasized standardized service options, CLA has moved to a more ‘person centered’ model built around the unique values, priorities, and preferences of each individual served.
In keeping with positive approaches, CLA believes in promoting a sense of belonging through acceptance of people, rather than the older model of ‘fixing’ behaviour, and providing protection at all costs. We understand that dignity of risk is an integral part of the learning process and that pro-choice and acceptance of differences, ultimately instill a sense of worth, belonging, and well being in all individuals and has a positive effect on social norms. It is our belief that all persons deserve the right to be a vital part of their community, learn through mistakes, and make choices that are important to that person, regardless of personal biases or social norms. The older model of support perpetuated stereotypes that have identified individuals with a developmental disability as ‘perpetual children’ that require others to make choices and to provide protection, with the assumption that it was for ‘their own good’. Unfortunately, this resulted in a population who never had the opportunity to experience many of life’s lessons that promote a sense of accomplishment, belonging, or resilience, all basic needs that if left unmet often result in a dual diagnosis of developmental disability and mental illness.
As a means of providing progressive service, CLA plays an active role in identifying the needs of those we serve, and provide ‘positive approaches’ support to enhance independence and growth through our residential services, supported employment, intensive supports, transitional assistance, along with leisure and recreational programs.