The Keystone dream becomes reality
A community’s ‘finest hour’ during the opening of a home for people with intellectual disabilities
Monday June 25, 2012 -- Kristian Partington
COBOURG, Ont. - The collective dreams of a community came true on June 22 with the unveiling of Keystone House, a new home for five people who have intellectual disabilities that grew from nothing more than a couple key questions and a vision more than 10 years ago.
Colin Sanders vividly remembers the questions he asked as a parent of a son who requires much support through his daily life: Who will care for Jeffrey when I am no longer able to; where will he live when he can no longer live with us?
The answer and vision was a home in the community for Jeffrey, and Colin soon found other parents who shared both the vision for their children who have disabilities, and the concerns that prompted it.
The Keystone Community Supports Corporation officially came into being in July 2006, and with the support of Community Living Campbellford Brighton, the Ministry of Community and Social Services and countless community members — from retailers to churches to schools to builders and trades people — the vision became reality six years later as a ribbon-cutting ceremony welcomed supporters through an open house.
There were humble smiles of pride and sheer gratitude as the generous spirits of so many were recognized, but builder Al Leblanc, who boldly accepted the challenge to lead the construction of Keystone House, said it best when he said: “This is our finest hour.”
It was an hour that showed what innovative thinking, creativity, perseverance and sheer determination can accomplish in the face of immense challenges.
Sanders, who co-chairs the Keystone board of directors, could barely begin to highlight the importance of the community partnerships that came together to help the ambitious project succeed, thought he admits there were many dark times when he thought it might never happen.
At least 100 people were on hand to see that indeed, it had, and Sanders says he hopes other families who are concerned for the future of their loved ones in communities across the province can find hope in the Keystone story.
“I hope what this does is inspire people to see that you’ve got to seize the opportunity and make it happen,” he says.
When you take a leap of faith, as the Keystone families did, a social enterprise can emerge that captures the imagination and goodwill of everyone near it.
“The really interesting thing about this is how the community embraced it,” says Sanders. “Once people understand the need and they see something happening, they’re prepared to get on board.”
If you have questions or comments, please contact 800-294-0051, ext. 24, or e-mail kristian(at)axiomnews.ca.