What's Happening at NHCIA
“Real work for real pay” – that’s the new catch-phrase as the North Hastings Community Living Association launches a new job development program for people suffering from intellectual disabilities (formerly referred to as “mentally impaired’). In the past, job creation for those with such impairments focused on “sheltered industries” – closed shops such as ARC industries, whose disabled workers produced products like furniture for sale or subcontracted with other producers to handle a part of the process. While providing employment, this kept these workers in a kind of “job ghetto” rather than becoming part of the regular labour force.
Karen Keller always had affection for flowers. It’s stopping to smell them while touring the scenic sights of North Hastings that inspired her to take her first picture.Today, Keller is a professional. Backed by her team at North Hastings Community Integration Association, her work is featured as a gallery at Hastings Highlands Public Library this month. Last year it was on display at her booth at the Bancroft Art and Craft Guild’s Summer Art and Craft Show. That’s not to mention the places it’s hung around town at local businesses such as Country Camera or the Wattle and Daub Café.
North Hastings Community Integration Association asked council to support its proposed community engaged art project Oct. 10. If the funding application for the project to the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is successful, said NHCIA independent living, planning and design room facilitator Marlena Zuber, it will work with the local arts community to permanently install a public art piece in Bancroft or the surrounding area.As an artist, Zuber has been involved in several community engaged art projects in Toronto. Through this work she has realized how powerful a tool the arts can be for building and sustaining successful neighbourhoods.
Supporters of the North Hastings Community Integration Association (NHCIA) got together to celebrate a milestone for the organization on April 22 marking its 50th year of service in the community. Working closely with children, youth and adults with intellectual disabilities the NHCIA provides individualized support for all self-advocates and their families.
Bancroft’s Mayor Bernice Jenkins took part in the celebration along with approximately 50 others who filled NHCIA offices in downtown Bancroft. She remembers when the organization first formed back in 1965. Reflecting on the NHCIA’s humble beginnings in a home on Hwy. 62, Mayor Jenkins expressed her gratitude for the work of the organization, pointing out that it has now grown to employ 50 people in the community.
The North Hastings Community Integration Association has a clear mandate: to inspire people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families, to live as fully participating citizens. This they do through their own programming, and through community partnerships with health and social agencies, schools, and businesses. The end they seek is all citizens participating fully, equally, and safely in their community.
Look out world – Bancroft hits the big screen this month at the Belleville Downtown International Documentary Film Festival! Now in its fourth year, ‘DocFest,’ which runs from Feb. 27 until Mar. 1, is bigger then ever. It features fifty documentaries celebrating life and human dignity, including two that were shot in Bancroft last year. Both were produced by WordBird Media’s husband-and-wife-team Michelle Annette Tremblay and Sean Buk. Friends in the Community is a celebration of friendship, and was produced in partnership with the North Hastings Community Integration Association (NHCIA), and Building the Future, which documents the Riverside Park Project’s sustainable build, was produced in partnership with Bancroft Community Transit (BCT).
Bancroft has a reputation for fostering artistic endeavours. Last week, a number of newly minted “cultural creatives” assembled at York River public school to put together a music video of an original, Bancroft-born song.The initiative, entitled “Celebrating Creative Connections”, was put together by Shelley King, a puppeteer and workshop facilitator. She formulated a proposal to the Ontario Arts Council to blend a number of artistic talents into a learning experience based around the creation of a music video.
With summer just around the corner, multiple seasonal programs are about to launch, including several supported in part by the North Hastings Community Integration Association (NHCIA), such as 'Experience Summer Camp', and Dimples Mini Golf. Yet although NHCIA is one of the biggest employers in North Hastings, with more than fifty employees, there are still many people in the area who are unfamiliar with the organization and its activities.“Our impact on the community is huge!” says Shaloma Hack, NHCIA's Community Connections Facilitator, who rattles off a bevy of NHCIA initiatives, from job experience and training programs to arts based social gatherings.