“A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirits; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities.”
-William Arthur Ward
Rev. Walter McCleary the founder of The Dufferin Association for Retarded Children in the 1950’s, opened the first school for children with developmental disabilities. Although it first operated in the basement of a library, it laid the groundwork for the expansion of the Association, as well as public awareness.
The sixties and seventies were spent developing the Association as it matured and grew into a full-scale organization supporting children and adults with developmental disabilities.
The 1970’s marked the opening of The Joinery, offering woodworking and subcontracting assembly departments, QPAC, quality assembly and packaging, provided work for many people supported on a per piece basis and its first administrative office in the 70’s, further promoting the growth of the organization and new opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
Another momentous development in the 1970’s was the opening of its first of what would become 13 group homes under the new name of Community Living Dufferin (CLD). A holding company, known as ITHRON, marked the start of the group home expansion as it enabled the organization to purchase property for its residential service.
In the 1980’s the Supported Independent Living program was created to support people with developmental disabilities who lived in the community and needed life and social skill assistance. A leisure and learning program, Options, filled out the complement of Adult Services, as we know them today.
In 2005, CLD received funding to build a home that would specialize in supporting people with Prader-Willi Syndrome.
In 2008 CLD began a drama program, Creative Partners on Stage, with Theatre Orangeville (TOV) which would eventually evolve into a highly unique partnership.
In 2009 CLD and TOV were fortunate to receive a $2.7 million grant from the Communities in Action federal initiative which enabled us to build a new home for both our agencies.
In 2011 CLD received its three year accreditation recognition from FOCUS Accreditation. In 2015 CLD was successful in obtaining FOCUS re-accreditation for another four years.
Community Living Dufferin may have begun by focusing on providing education opportunities to children, but now offers a wide range of opportunities for children and adults. Among the services detailed in Our Services section of CLD’s website, the organization also provides opportunities for volunteers and membership. As the organization created these new services, it fashioned a new and brighter vision for itself.