The most important characteristics of KACL’s board extend far beyond its commitment to excellence in governance and ethical conduct. KACL’s board consists of people who are enthusiastic and passionate about KACL’s history of advocacy and service delivery in the quest for social and health justice for those people who have been kept at the margins, and for whom the story of not belonging has had the most devastating consequences. This keeps the Board focused on providing compassionate and courageous leadership, both to the people of the organization and the community at large.
KACL’s board has established a culture of collaboration and listening and takes measures to ensure its voice and power in the community is authorized by those people who are impacted by KACL’s work.
KACL’s board provides the organization with purpose driven leadership that makes explicit the uniqueness of our role in our community, is open and curious to hearing the challenges confronting people and the organization in a very dynamic social sector, and has the courage to work in new ways to ensure equitable outcomes to create the conditions for a meaningful and satisfying life for those people who rely on KACL, while always remaining committed to being a respectful and responsible member of the formal and informal community.
The Signature Gift of KACL’s Board was crafted collaboratively in 2020 and summarizes how they see their board role.
Our signature gift is Advocating for change. We bring it by being progressive, empathetic, honest and transparent about the risks we take.
At the Kenora Association for Community Living, we believe in people, and in their ability to participate as citizens, to grow, heal, recover, and rise above the challenges they face as a consequence of living with an intellectual disability or serious mental health concern. The Mission of KACL is to provide opportunities for people to live a meaningful and satisfying life and to interact as equals in their community through education, training, support, advocacy and an informed public.
As an organization committed to having a rigorous approach to deepening our understanding and creating new knowledge, we have come to know the significance of examining the assumptions informing our way of engaging with the work. As we search for models and practices to better serve the people who rely on us, we have learned to consistently ask ourselves the question, “Does this activity increase our capacity to assist people with intellectual disabilities, or a serious mental illness, and their families, to expand their opportunities to participate in community life as they choose?” This approach has provided us with new understandings about our work, those we serve, and our community.
We have learned that it is through relationships and conversations with each other, those we serve, and our community, that KACL can keep our identity, purpose and history, honoured and alive.
We respect that our staff, the people we serve, and our community members, are rich in gifts and talents that they are willing to offer in the service of a common interest; namely, to create a community where everyone is welcome, secure and able to live their lives with dignity.
We have seen that the work we do today makes a difference in the lives of people, and in our community.
We have learned that our creativity and commitment to do the work is nourished in our relationships with each other, and with the people we serve.
We know that KACL is a mature organization, with both successes and failures in the pursuit of our mission, and that our shared stories of those past experiences have created the resilience we need to meet the challenges of the emerging future with our highest intentions.
We know our mission is belonging. So we continue to learn the skills of bringing people together in socially innovative ways, just as we have done with the Arts Hub, Fitness Friends, and Community Wellness. We will become social architects in pursuit of ways to bring people together in spaces that are focused on welcome and possibility.
We know our mission is social justice. So we continue to have an historic duty to make sure the ever-changing face of inequality does not confine the dreams of the people we serve. Funding the absence of a strong social network is becoming unaffordable. But we know, and we have known for some time, that the felt sense of wellbeing, the creation of a good life, does not lie in service. We know that equality is the way to create a sustainable future for all of us in community.
KACL will continue to meet the challenges of our times with grace, flexibility, adaptability and compassion. We know we will stumble at times, but we trust that we have each other to rely on. We have a leadership role to play in enlivening the community instinct, and working collaboratively with a vital community that understands its unique role in creating health for all citizens. All of us at KACL know that our work contributes to something beyond ourselves, and we know that our work contributes to helping others – the people we serve, the community, our colleagues, and each other.
I look forward to our continuing conversation.
The Board and Employees of KACL gratefully acknowledge that we live, work, enjoy the richness of and play on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe people of Treaty 3, and on the homeland of the Metis. We pay our respect to the First Nations and Metis ancestors of this place and reaffirm that the historic and current relationship that exists between us is defined by Treaty.
We commit to work to create the conditions for belonging and social justice so that each person can live fully in the unique identity that matters to them, in a community that accepts and welcomes. We recognize that our work must be in the service of Reconciliation. Our work must be at the level of the individual and the community, so that our collective identity as a community lives up to the values we want for ourselves and our children. A community where equity, peace, and respect for cultural differences are respected and nourished; and a community that acknowledges that the early Anishinaabe people of these lands saw we were strangers, welcomed us as guests, and invited us to stay as neighbours.