Frank CostaExecutive Director, Community Connections Inc.
Community Connections couldn’t be a more apt name for the organization offering employment, residential and support services to adults with intellectual disabilities in Summerside, PEI.
With two day-services locations and seven residential properties, Community Connections aims not to keep clients in, says Frank Costa, Community Connection’s Executive Director, but to be spaces where opportunities open up. “Clients come and go, participate in programs, get employment support and connect with people and businesses in the area,” Frank says, “so everyone sees our clients as part of the community.”
Like day services that encourage friendships and personal independence, along with work skills so clients can find fulfilling jobs. Or the furniture refinishing department, where clients complete residential and commercial custom work for customers. Or employment services that team clients with dedicated staff to not only find work in the community, but learn on-the-job until they’re comfortable enough to go it alone.
Residential services have the same goal: helping clients be as independent as possible – with apartments for those who can live on their own with limited support, and small options and group homes for clients who need more assistance.
Having staff dedicated to promoting strong relationships is key. “Our staff work with clients and see each other as equals, supporting them rather than taking over their lives,” says Frank. “What’s important for our clients is self-determination, being part of the decision making and contributing to creating a higher quality of life for themselves.”