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


For myself, learning to communicate in sign language has changed the relationship I have with my girlfriends brother (Julian), who is deaf. The program allowed me to take a step into Julian’s world for a short period of time and I know how much that meant to him as his smile and laugh would light up the room!
— adam johnston
Besides the pleasure and mind expansion that would come with learning any new language, ASL also stimulates another way of thinking socially, opening my mind and awareness also to deaf culture and offering a glimpse of what life is like for a deaf person. It makes me think that signing should be taught at all primary schools.
— Kristine Friedmann
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 always had an interest in learning ASL and I feel very lucky that I was given this opportunity.
— Sammy Dilorenzo
The ASL classes were amazing ! Not only did I learn the basics of sign language, we had the opportunity to learn about the deaf culture and interact with persons that are deaf. With that I was able to take those skills and apply them in my own community, as we have a neighbour that is deaf.
— Amy Donaldson
This ASL course was such a great experience both for myself and my 9 year old daughter. We have been providing tutoring for a Syrian refugee family whose oldest son is deaf. While we still have a long way to go to communicate fully, even learning a few signs in class really helped us to connect with him, and to begin to understand the complexities of this new language.
— Elizabeth & Victoria Peck
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. Thank you and am hopeful for more!
— Tara Palette
I took this ASL class because in my role of Family Engagement Coordinator for Halton Families for Families we realized that we are missing out on a huge segment of the population who needs support. Oddly enough the week after our session stopped we received a request from a family who needs ASL interpretation. I felt confident enough to say to this family that I may not be completely fluent however, I’m comfortable to sit down and at the very least introduce myself and begin a conversation. This is such an important skill that I hope will allow me to connect with so many others.
— Darlene Wierski-Devoe


Noah totally enjoyed his experience. He liked the people, the recipes chosen and the experience of learning and preparing food with the group. He said he would like to attend again if offered.
— Natalie
We are so thankful for the people that give so generously of their own time to help this lovely and vulnerable community. As a parent I knew he was safe respected and having a wonderful learning opportunity. Sincere thanks!
— Suzanne
The Cooking Program has been wonderful for Sofia. It has given her more confidence and a desire to try new things in the kitchen. And as important that kitchen duties are fun as well!!
— Jane Bullbrook
Mike has autism and he has great difficulty relating to me what he did in each of the classes. However, he made several comments about the classes: ..... “ I really liked shopping at the Organic Garage.... can we shop there?” And another comment..... “ Is yogurt a healthy food? What are some other healthy foods?” And “Do bananas have vitamin K in them?”

So I am thrilled to hear him make these comments and as a result, we are having many discussions about healthy foods. Thank you for providing an environment where Mike feels comfortable and where he can learn and socialize.
— Raj Dhaliwal