Time for a Change of PACE

Photo: Brandi and Kieran in the new PACE office.
Brandi and Kieran in the new PACE office.

The PACE team has recently expanded into a new office space on the main floor of the DDRC, and they’re already seeing lots of excitement among clients and staff: “I really like it here,” PACE client Kieran Corrigan said. “It’s nice and quiet and not as busy as [the old office].”

Both the PACE team and its clients recognized the need for another room quite some time ago. However, given the size of the building, it hadn’t been possible until now. According to Shannon Mills, PACE Team Leader, the new office is a positive move because it shows that the DDRC values its staff and clients. “Our team is growing and we really needed more space,” Shannon explained. “We now have 52 clients and more than 20 PACE staff; we were overflowing into the hallways!”

With its six computers and white board, the room has a classroom-like feel to it. Currently, both PACE rooms are being used by the whole team. The client’s goals help determine which space they will use. “The extra computers will help me apply for different jobs. I’m also working on my writing, math, and resume writing,” Kieran said.

Eventually, the PACE team plans to run courses and training in the new space. “It will be geared towards [the PACE] population and age group,” Shannon said. “The courses and training will develop the skills and positive relationships our clients are looking for.”

Though they’re still working on adding a few personal touches, both clients and staff are thrilled with the new room and its potential: “I like the new space. I love that it has a window,” Brandi Russell, a PACE Community Resource Worker, said. “I think that coming down [here] is a good way to refresh everyone and help them focus on their goals.”

What is ILS?

From Lincoln Lane group home, to the Approved Home Program, to the Community Living Network, the DDRC has always recognized a strong sense of “home” as essential for the clients that we support. On April 1st, we took another step towards integrated and independent living for adults with developmental disabilities by re-branding the “Community Living Network” as “Integrated Living Services,” or simply “ILS.”

What does this mean? We’ve taken what our clients and employees love about the Community Living Network (CLN) program, and made it even better. DDRC Integrated Living Practitioners (ILPs) will continue to support clients to live independently in the communities of their choosing. We will still offer clients and ILPs the opportunities to live as roommates, or to have a Community Resource Worker check-in on a client in their home, supporting him or her with everyday tasks. We will continue to help clients meet their goals. However, we have made a few improvements:

  • We have an enhanced focus on providing a high Quality of Life for all ILS clients
  • ILPs will undergo additional training to guarantee the highest level of confidence and comfort for them and our clients
  • Streamlined processes, to make them easier and more efficient
  • ILPs will have access to a greater number of internal DDRC resources
  • Clients will have more opportunities to be involved in their communities, and to live fully integrated lives
  • And of course, what change would be complete without a brand new logo:ILS-Logo

We’re excited about these changes, and currently looking to grow our team. If you or someone you know are interested in learning more about how to get involved, please visit our website, e-mail employment@ddrc.ca, or call (403) 240-3111.

What clients are saying about ILS:

  KaluhaLeonka “I think that it’s awesome … I found when I was at home, I was isolated and couldn’t do much… when I went to live with [someone from ILS] I could do stuff like go on trips and go sailing”
–Leonka Kaluha


OakleafStephen“I learned a lot from being in this program. It’s provided me with a great sense of my independence and the things I want to work towards.”
– Stephen Oakleaf


McIsaacJohn“This is a good program to be in. You meet different people … I think it’s marvelous.”
–John MacIsaac


Life in the Fast Lane

Life in the fast lane is exactly how you could describe the busy schedule of South Team and ILS client Leonka Kaluha. We caught up with Leonka in between activities at the YMCA to talk to her about the upcoming Scotiabank Calgary Marathon Charity Challenge, her supportive roommate Marilyn Ritchie, and everything in between.

One of Leonka’s most recent conquests was the Freezin’ for a Reason Polar Plunge. Leonka explained the plunge saying, “The firefighter cuts a hole in the ice, and you jump in. All the money raised goes towards Special Olympics.” And afterwards? “Go in the hot tub,” laughs Leonka.

Now that the Plunge has passed, Leonka is setting her sights on the three upcoming runs she has signed up for: a Mother’s Day Run & Walk, the 2014 Calgary Transplant Trot in memory of a friend she lost to a double lung transplant, and the 5K portion of the 2014 Scotiabank Calgary Marathon Charity Challenge. The 2013 Charity Challenge marked a great accomplishment for Leonka, as it was her first time running it without a running partner. “I’ve always had a running partner, but last year I didn’t.”

Although Marilyn, Leonka’s supportive roommate, won’t be joining her in this year’s 5K she will be cheering from the stands. “She’s a big cheerleader. With Special Olympics 5 pin bowling we went to Nationals in 2010 and they [Marilyn and the other supporters] were called the Rowdy Rebels cause they cheered so loud,” says Leonka.

Besides being a renowned cheerleader, Marilyn is also known for her supportive nature when it comes to Leonka’s interests. “She’s fun to be around. We do fun things; go to movies, go shopping or go to Cross Iron Mills,” Leonka said of Marilyn. One of Leonka’s favourite memories with Marilyn is their trip to Disneyworld for her birthday. “I got a birthday button so all the staff when you walk by them wish you a happy birthday. Push the Talking Trash Can sang happy birthday to me and I got to ride the teacups with the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland!”

leonka and alex
Leonka (right) with Alex Gonzalez (left, DDRC Graphics Creator and IT Support) getting ready to run 5K in the 2013 Calgary Marathon Charity Challenge.