Transformed Classroom at Belle River High Helping Disabled Adults

What had been a little used classroom at Belle River High School has been transformed into a community hub.

The space will serve as a home base for the four to five Attendant Service Workers with Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario (ALSO) working in the area.

ALSO Executive Director Lynn Calder says the hub will allow them to assist between 25 and 40 consumers, or clients, in the immediate area.

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Assisted Living Southwest Ontario Executive Director Lynn Calder, Belle River High School, February 5, 2019 (by AM800's Peter Langille)

ALSO helps disabled adults 16 and over look after their needs, their oldest client is 104.

Cayl Blais is one of the consumers who is looking forward to improved service.

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Assisted Living Southwest Ontario consumer Cayl Blais, Belle River High School, February 5, 2019 (by AM800's Peter Langille)

He lives alone and requires a lot of help to be able to live independently.

"It's more than just cleaning, they can make my bed, go into my bathroom and scrub it all out.  If I need to make some food for dinner they will chop up everything and put it in a bowl until I'm able to make dinner"

Blais expects the hub will improve his quality of life.

"Giving people with disabilities a chance to live, to live a better life I should say.  To be able to be on their own and make them living more comfortably"

Students at the high school will participate in the program and Blais looks forward to that.

"It'll be nice to have younger students so we can meet and just talk, you know.  We get lonely at times living on our own and not able to go out so it's nice to have certain people stop by and have a talk"

Calder explains the students will be able to fulfill their community service volunteer hours at the hub and also interacting with the consumers.

The Education Ministry provided about $400,000 to upgrade the space with a ramp, accessible washroom and office space.

There are around 1000 ALSO consumers across the Erie St. Clair region with that many more on a waiting list.

Calder hopes the hub will allow them to help some of the people currently on a waiting list.