Keith Makil and his family have greatly benefited from our Oak Park family group since its formation in the past six months. The mutual support among the seven families and the important role that Eric Goll, our support facilitator, played helped us with the following accomplishments:

·We have created an 18 month and a 5 year vision for Keith’s life.  In doing so, we learned the right amount and level of support we will need to accomplish Keith’s vision.

We have successfully posted for a personal support worker at two job sites including RespiteServices.ca.  We are already in the process of on-boarding an applicant to work with Keith.

We have attained significant knowledge relating to Personal support for Keith by attending workshops and information sessions organized by OakPark community group.

Eric Goll is helping us with creating a support network for Keith.  The first meeting of this support network is being planned for mid-February/2019.

Eric’s podcasts and publications are very informative and helpful in our quest to build a secure future for Keith.
— The Makil Family
I am writing in favour of The Community Oak Park, an organization providing support to my family, among others, as we work to help disabled family members develop adult roles within their community, independent of their parents. As one of seven families currently assisted by The Community Oak Park, I can attest to the benefits already accruing.

Firstly, the planning support of the group helps us to take action. In this effort, I must single out the work of Eric Goll, a facilitator engaged to assist with planning. He has been instrumental in helping us to take a fulsome view of our son’s life plans, keeping his goals and his voice leading the way. This is both encouraging and inspirational.

Secondly, the moral support and friendship already offered by other families, similarly situated, is a great comfort and resource. We know that regardless of the risks we take, others are there alongside us. We count on each other for encouragement, ideas, and assistance. We are not alone.

Finally, I must acknowledge the leadership and initiative of Vicki and Michael McCallum, and Karen Alexander in the formation of the group and their enthusiasm to help other families as they work to help their own son to participate fully in his community as an adult. They have lifted us all.
— Cam and Deb McInnes
The ASL program at the The Community Oak Park was an eye-opening, amazing experience. It was fun, challenging, but most importantly it allowed me to get a glimpse into the world of deaf culture. I feel much better knowing that I can now communicate basic sign language with my deaf family members, and hopefully use the skills I learned to communicate with other deaf members in the community.
— adam johnston
I feel very fortunate and thankful for the opportunity to learn sign language. It was not only a really enjoyable experience, but incredibly helpful and fulfilling. I have wanted to learn to sign for years, but have not been able to afford or make the time for the classes. Due to this class, I am now able to communicate properly with my deaf co-worker and also feel confident to be able to communicate to anyone I meet with any hearing impairment.
— Tara Palette
Thank you again for organizing and offering the ASL classes. It was such a valuable experience that really sparked a passion in me to continue to learn ASL. From the beginning the instructor, Lolene made the class feel welcoming and comfortable. Lolene expressed how patient she is and assured us that we could never ask her too many questions or to repeat herself too many times, and she genuinely meant it. I feel that Lolene considered each individual learner when controlling the pace of the class so that we all got a fair chance to learn as much as we could, since everyone learns differently. There was also always an open door to communication, whether it was e-mail or in person if we had any questions. After the first class I felt confident with finger-spelling and knew the whole alphabet. Each class we kept progressing and now I feel that I can hold a conversation fairly well. I work at Shoppers Drug Mart and I have even been able to have a couple of conversations with deaf customers just using sign language! It was also very valuable to learn about deaf culture because I really had not been exposed to the deaf world before and now I want to learn as much as I can so that I can help in making our community more inclusive for everyone. I feel very lucky that I was given this opportunity.
— Sammy Dilorenzo