History, 1969

1969 - Formation of the Social Planning Council Committee


K-W Services for the Physically Disabled was established in 1969 following a survey to determine the needs of adults with physical disabilities. At that time very little was available in the community and it was determined that there was a need for employment, housing and social-recreation.

Committees were set up in these areas and in the summer of 1969 a twice weekly Craft Workshop was started for people who had use of their hands to do handicrafts. Later that fall an evening social-recreation programme (held bi-weekly) was started which was called the Ricochet Club. Programmes were planned and run by the members, assisted by volunteers. In time the president of the Club also served on the Board of Directors.

It soon became apparent that not all persons could participate in the Craft Workshop, so an interest group, The Happy Rebels, was started. This group was held weekly and at the same time the Craft Workshop also changed to a weekly programme. The Happy Rebels was a varied programme with guest speakers, picnics, bowling, and became very popular. The twice-weekly swims were also very popular. Other programmes offered over the years were Education, Life Skills, Seminars (discussion groups) and Bliss Symbols.

These regular programmes discontinued for the summer but the Agency was successful in applying for and receiving government grants to hire students to run a summer programme. Interesting and enjoyable summers were had by all who participated.

Volunteers were always a big part of the Agency and important to the success of the programmes. We were fortunate to have many dedicated people.

In 1972 the Agency was incorporated as a charitable organization and the Board of Directors was increased to include more disabled persons and people from the community.

The Residence Committee met regularly to investigate possibilities for a residence and in 1977 incorporated as a separate group - "The Participation House Project". An apartment project was opened by this group in 1981.

The community was generous in providing facilities to hold the various Agency programmes. The office duties and coordinating were carried out from my home.

Although employment placement did not become a function of the Agency, assistance was given to people to make contact with community agencies such as Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Canada Manpower.

The agency was also called upon to provide information concerning disabled persons and was in close contact with other community agencies.

When the agency first provided programmes, the biggest obstacle was lack of transportation. Taxis were paid for by the agency for people to attend programmes. This was not always satisfactory and was costly and comprised a large part of the budget. Fortunately the Waterloo County Cerebral Palsy Council shared the expense.

On recommendation of the agency, a group of young people applying for a Local Initiative Programme grant, applied for money to provide transportation for disabled persons. In January 1973 Project Lift started operation with one van and five staff persons.

From the beginning, K-W Services was funded by the Federated Appeal which gave credibility in the community.

In 1981 a decision was made by the Board of Directors to rent an office in Waterloo Square and to increase staff. Changes were taking place both in the agency and in the community. People were living independently in their own apartments, the community was becoming more accessible, and there was more awareness and opportunity for disabled persons.

Looking back I feel K-W Services for the Physically Disabled provided a great service and many lasting friendships were formed. This history would not be complete without mentioning Ric Woods, who started it all. Ric was responsible for having the original survey done and establishing the agency. He served as Executive Secretary from 1969-1970 and served on the board of directors for several years. He remains everyone's friend.

Respectfully submitted by

Connie Cruickshank
Executive Secretary 1970 - 1983