MILTON – “We are proud of the accomplishments of the individuals we serve and want to showcase those successes,” says Treena Dexter, executive director for the Queens Association for Supported Living (QASL).
QASL has started a new online series to promote public awareness of the programs and services it offers. Although QASL has been in existence since 1969, the organization is constantly evolving and improving its programs to meet the changing needs of the people it supports, and QASL wants to let the community know about it.
To do so, QASL plans to highlight one of its programs each week, for probably for six weeks, says Dexter. It will start with the vocational services, but will include its residential services as well.
“This series will not only highlight our programs and services,” says Dexter, “but will also showcase the talents of our people - staff and clients together as a team.”
The main goal of QASL is to help individuals facing barriers in their life build the skills necessary to participate in community life, on their terms, says Dexter. This is done by supporting people with different abilities in vocational and residential settings.
“We believe that everyone has a right to live and thrive in the community and be regarded as individuals, deserving of the opportunity to grow and develop intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, exploring the person within and finding their place in the community,” says Dexter.
Dexter says the organization faces a few challenges with its communication. It is constantly trying to get the word out about what they do and how they do it.
Penny Lane, one of the businesses the organization runs, is located outside of the business district in a remote location in Milton. That makes it even more important for QASL to reach out to the community from time to time to remind them that QASL is here, says Dexter.
In addition, Dexter says many residents of Queens still refer to Penny Lane as "the school in Milton".
“We are not a school but certainly provide education and training related to employment and life skills,” she says.
It is hoped that the work QASL does, including this new online awareness series, will increase the understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities and increase the community’s knowledge of the organization. In the future, Dexter says the hope is to have a space centrally located to make QASL more visible, but until then, the organization wil do what it can to promote their services.
Go online: To see the online series, follow QASL on Facebook at www.facebook.com/qaslorg or visit www.qasl.ca