Community Living Interlake
The Association for Community Living – Interlake Branch, Incorporated (ACL) was originally formed by a service club and a group of parents who were concerned about a lack of services for their children living with a mental disability.
The inaugural meeting was held September 23, 1965 in the Parochial Hall in Stonewall.
The first Executive and Board of Directors were elected at this time. The name chosen for the organization was the Interlake Association for Retarded Children.
On July 6, 1973, the Association changed its name to the Canadian Association for the Mentally Retarded – Interlake Branch (C.A.M.R.). A further change of name occurred when the Association became the Association for Community Living – Interlake Branch.
This name change was filed in the Corporation and Business Names Branch, Province of Manitoba, February 26, 1986.
The first task for the new organization was to establish a private school for children living with a mental disability as these children were not accepted in to the public school system.
A change in legislation occurred in 1966 mandating all school divisions in the province to provide educational opportunities for all children living with a disability.
The school divisions had two years to comply with the legislation.
The Interlake School Division acted quickly on the new legislation and moved the small class and their teacher, Mrs. Jessamine Gray, from the classroom in the Parochial Hall to Edward Best School, located out of town at the corner of Highway #7 and PTH #67.
The Association was not free to move from educational concerns to other issues and turned their attention to vocational services for adults living with mental disabilities. They rented space in the “Jackson Building” in Stonewall and opened an occupational centre in January, 1969.
The first participants were Beverley Schaeffer, Lorraine Chartrand, Russell Lowe, John McDonnell, and Rose Shupenia, followed by Lilly Johnson, Betty Ann Fairlie and Carol Morrison.
The program soon outgrew the space available and a move became necessary. A new building was erected in 1970-71 at the corner of 1st Street West and 2nd Avenue South, through the efforts of the Stonewall Kinsman Club and the Association assuming the mortgage. An addition was added in 1983 and the name changed to the “Arris Centre”. The present Arris Centre was built in 1992. A new addition was constructed in 2009.
The Association operates four residences.
Residence 4 West – #374 - 4th Street West – opened April 1, 1981
Residence 4 East - #273 – 4th Street East – opened May 1, 1986
Residence 3 East - #461 – 3rd Street East – opened May 1, 1998
Residence 3 West - #600 – 3rd Street West – opened November 2006
Interlake Employment Services (I.E.S.) was formed in April 1990. This program provides training and ongoing follow up for individuals, through the use of job coaches, in regular community employment. This program covers a wide geographic area including Stonewall, Warren, Teulon, Gimli, Arborg, Fisher Branch, Lundar, Ashern and the western half of the Interlake region.