Step Back into the Roar­ing 20s

Gala in sup­port of the Queens As­so­ci­a­tion for Sup­ported Liv­ing

The Queens County Advance - - FRONT PAGE - BY LAURA CHURCHILL DUKE

On Nov. 18, the Best West­ern Plus Liver­pool will be mag­i­cally trans­formed into a 1920s speakeasy.

The night - com­plete with black­jack ta­bles and other games of chance, a live and silent auc­tion and a dance - will raise money for the Queens As­so­ci­a­tion for Sup­ported Liv­ing (QASL).

“Our goals for this event are to cul­ti­vate and strengthen pos­i­tive re­la­tions with area busi­nesses, com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions and mem­bers, as well as raise funds nec­es­sary for life-en­hanc­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and spe­cial events for our clients and res­i­dents,” says Treena Dex­ter, QASL ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor.

The Can­dle­light Club Speak Easy marks the fourth gala fundraiser spon­sored by the or­ga­ni­za­tion. As Dex­ter says, the an­nual fall gala is a spe­cial time for QASL to spread the word about the or­ga­ni­za­tion as well as in­crease the un­der­stand­ing and ac­cep­tance of peo­ple with dif­fer­ent abil­i­ties. She looks for­ward to both rais­ing aware­ness and rais­ing funds.

The Queens As­so­ci­a­tion for Sup­ported Liv­ing is a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion in Queens County, ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing choices and op­por­tu­ni­ties to per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties by of­fer­ing pro­grams de­signed to foster per­sonal growth and in­de­pen­dence.

QASL op­er­ates an adult vo­ca­tional train­ing cen­tre called Penny Lane Wood­work­ing & En­ter­prises, which of­fers pro­grams that meet the many in­ter­ests and needs of adults with dis­abil­i­ties, says Dex­ter.

“There are var­i­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn on-the-job skills through our in­ter­nal busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties as well as in com­mu­ni­ty­based em­ploy­ment,” says Dex­ter.

The main goal, she says, is to help in­di­vid­u­als build the nec­es­sary skills to par­tic­i­pate fully and con­fi­dently in com­mu­nity life.

Be­sides op­er­at­ing an ac­tive wood­work­ing shop, Penny Lane of­fers other types of prod­ucts and ser­vices, such as con­fi­den­tial shred­ding, pro­mo­tional but­tons, res­tau­rant kits, wood and tin punch crafts, and some main­te­nance ser­vices.

Re­cently, Penny Lane be­came part of a newly-formed wood pro­ducer’s co­op­er­a­tive called Abil­ity Wood Prod­ucts Co­op­er­a­tive Ltd. Dex­ter says their first con­tract was the Sobeys “Big Red Chair” pro­mo­tion where mem­bers of the co-op con­structed 90 jumbo Adiron­dack chairs dis­trib­uted across At­lantic Canada and an­other 25 chairs for West­ern Canada.

Other busi­ness en­ter­prises in­clude a re­tail space in the Liver­pool Vis­i­tor In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre and the River­bank Gen­eral Store & Café in Mill Vil­lage.

In ad­di­tion to the day pro­grams and busi­nesses, QASL pro­vides res­i­den­tial ser­vices to in­di­vid­u­als re­quir­ing a per­ma­nent liv­ing op­tion or short-term respite stays in a sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment such as com­mu­nity homes and sup­ported apart­ments.

Dex­ter says QASL is pri­mar­ily funded by the Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Ser­vice, but some of the pro­grams are not fully funded or not funded at all.

“It is through our busi­nesses and fundrais­ing ef­forts that we must raise the bal­ance needed to pro­vide on-go­ing qual­ity pro­grams and en­hanced life ex­pe­ri­ences for the peo­ple we serve,” says Dex­ter.

An ex­am­ple of a pro­gram that needs fund­ing is the an­nual camp­ing trip to Ke­jimku­jik Na­tional Park, where par­tic­i­pants gather for a few days of fun, food, and qual­ity time to­gether, says Dex­ter. She says it is truly an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for the par­tic­i­pants, staff and vol­un­teers of the or­ga­ni­za­tion--one that would not hap­pen with­out the sup­port of the com­mu­nity.

It is hoped that the event will raise $8,000 for this camp­ing trip, as well as other pro­gram in­cen­tives for the peo­ple sup­ported by QASL, in­clud­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools such as ipads and adap­tive de­vices, health and well­ness in­cen­tives such as ex­er­cise equip­ment or re­sources for the an­nual health and well­ness day and the an­nual Christ­mas party din­ner and dance.

Tick­ets for the Nov. 18 Can­dle­light Club Speak Easy – Fourth An­nual Fall Gala are $75 per per­son, with a por­tion of the ticket price el­i­gi­ble for a char­i­ta­ble tax re­ceipt. Tick­ets are avail­able at Penny Lane Wood­work­ing & En­ter­prises, 44 Pleas­ant St., Mil­ton, or by call­ing 902-354-2723.



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