VAPD – Focus celebrated their 60th Anniversary at the Elks Hall in Vermilion on September 20.
Vermilion Association for Persons with Disabilities (VAPD) – Finding Opportunities through Community Understanding & Support (Focus) was eager to share changes that the organization underwent throughout the years. Staff dressed in themed costumes to represent each decade to make their presentations. A slideshow was shared depicting favourite moments and field trips over the years.
Emceeing the event were CEO Shelly Chomlack, and individual Della Riley. Awards were presented to the Ministry of Social Services, the Rural Municipality of Wilton # 472, and the Town of Vermilion as well as several staff and individual awards.
“What I see in Lloydminster is that Focus provides help for families who are struggling with various issues. There are a lot of people in society that struggle to be what they can be, and this system assists everyone from children with challenges in school, economic situations, divorce or family trauma, accidents, etc.,” said Glen Dow, Reeve of the RM of Wilton.
He explained that Focus operates in one of the RM buildings in Lloydminster, even interacting with the Fire Department and completing crafts.
“Focus began in 1959 by a group of committed parents who wanted to offer a different option for their children (respite relief and accommodations). VAPD – Focus has two locations working both out of Vermilion and Lloydminster. The services we can offer have grown so much! We currently have 52 staff, two 24-hour-awake group homes and outreach service as well as Alberta Brain Injury in service in both communities. We are non-unionized which gives us the freedom to be innovative with our programming,” said CEO Shelly Chomlack.
According to staff, in 2018 Focus received 100 per cent in quality of care, 100 per cent in quality of service, and 100 per cent in organization framework. VAPD - Focus works with Alberta and Saskatchewan governments as well as other organizations, and hopes to continue to grow in the future. Chomlack added, “I would like to thank every individual and their parents for trusting us to provide quality care, and the staff for their commitment to this field.”
“You don’t have to look very far to see the outreach that Focus has had, and that they have been committed to this community for 60 years. Tonight we recognize the past and present people who have had to fill the gaps in our community; we are deeply grateful for that and all that you will continue to accomplish in the future,” said Mayor Caroline McAuley.
Jeanette Coutts who was given a standing ovation for being on the board for 45 years.