LiveWorkPlay

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LiveWorkPlay
Liveworkplaybee.jpg
Formation 1995
Type Charitable Organization
Purpose Helping the community welcome people with intellectual disabilities to live, work, and play as valued citizens
Headquarters 301-1223 Michael Street, Ottawa, ON K1J 7T2 (613) 235-9550
Region served Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Executive Staff Co-Leaders, Chair Keenan Wellar, Julie Kingstone, Cecelia Taylor
Staff 12 FT, 2 PT
Volunteers 120
Website www.LiveWorkPlay.ca
Formerly called Special Needs Network

LiveWorkPlay is a Canadian charitable organization for people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in Ottawa in 1995 by the husband and wife team of Keenan Wellar and Julie Kingstone, LiveWorkPlay was originally known as the Keen Learning Centre for Youth and then the Special Needs Network.[1]

Soon after its founding as a resource centre, the organization evolved and began offering supports and services related to housing, employment, and community participation. In 2001 the name was changed to LiveWorkPlay to focus on the organization's goal of promoting full participation and decision-making with regard to living situations, work, and play.[2] In 2011 the organization adopted a revised vision, values, and mission: "Helping the community welcome people with intellectual disabilities to live, work, and play as valued citizens."[3]

In an effort to better share best practices and connect with organizations across the province LiveWorkPlay joined Community Living Ontario as an affiliate in 2008.[4] LiveWorkPlay was the lead Ottawa area organization in marking the historical closure of Ontario's mass institutions for people with intellectual disabilities on March 31, 2009.[5]

LiveWorkPlay innovations in housing, employment, and social inclusion have been the topic of numerous studies and journal articles most notably in the Journal on Developmental Disabilities.[6][7] With respect to housing, the LiveWorkPlay organization does not support any form of institutional housing, advocating instead that people with intellectual disabilities own or rent homes of their own.[8] In supporting employment for people with intellectual disabilities, LiveWorkPlay has partnered with local employers to advocate for real paid work at minimum wage or better.[9] In developing social inclusion, LiveWorkPlay utilizes a unique "matching program" to bring together people with intellectual disabilities and other citizens to enjoy shared interests in the community.[10]

LiveWorkPlay was one of the early adopters of social media in the non-profit sector, a strength that has been highlighted in the mainstream media[11] and also recognized through success in social media funding competitions.[12]

On June 6, 2013, LiveWorkPlay was honored as the United Way Ottawa Community Builder of the Year for Belonging To Community. [13]

Founders[edit]

Keenan Wellar (born 1968, in Evanston, Illinois) and a lifelong resident of Ottawa, Ontario is currently serving as LiveWorkPlay Executive Staff Co-Leader and has public visibility as a media spokesperson.[14] and an advocate of social media marketing for non-profit organizations.[15]

Wellar completed a BA in History and a BEd with Ontario Teacher Certification at the University of Ottawa, and is a graduate of the applied linguistics Master of Arts program at Carleton University. Wellar also holds a of a Professional Certificate in Public Sector and Non-Profit Marketing from the Sprott School of Business.

Prior to working full-time with LiveWorkPlay, he managed the national Special Needs Education project (part of the Government of Canada's SchoolNet program) from 1995-1997 as a Project Manager at Ingenia Communications Corporation and represented Canada at the Seventh Annual Conference of the Internet Society.[16]

In 2010 Wellar was surprised with a United Way Ottawa Community Builder Award acknowledging not only his work with LiveWorkPlay, but for volunteerism with many other community organizations, including more than 1000 hours with Meals on Wheels Ottawa, pro bono social media marketing services for non-profit organizations,[17] and keynote speaking engagements.[18] In 2012 Wellar was named as an inaugural Focus Area Champion[19] for United Way Ottawa.

Julie (Julia) Kingstone (born 1973, in Ottawa, Ontario is currently serving as the organization's Executive Staff Co-Leader. Kingstone completed a BSc and an MEd at the University of Ottawa as well as a BA in Psychology from Carleton University. Prior to transitioning from a volunteer to an employee of LiveWorkPlay, she worked in Palliative Care at the Elisabeth Bruyere Hospital, and had a long history working with youth, including mental health promotion with Youth Net/Réseau Ado and various roles with Christie Lake Camp.

Kingstone was a finalist in the 2004 YM-YWCA Women of Distinction Awards [20] and winner of a 2012 Ottawa Business Journal and Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Forty Under 40 Award, and was further distinguished as the sole recipient from the non-profit sector.[21]

References[edit]

External links[edit]