Step Back into the Roaring 20s
Gala in support of the Queens Association for Supported Living
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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