By Sue Dickens

EMC May 19, 2011

Half a century of volunteering with Community Living Campbellford/Brighton has resulted in special recognition for the Board of Directors President Marion Fennell.

She was recently presented with a 50-Year Volunteer Service Award during ceremonies held earlier in May in Cobourg, states a press release.

As one of its original members, Fennell has more than 50 years of continuous commitment with the organization.

She has served in a variety of roles for the board over the years including as its current president. She has also served on the Community Living Ontario Board of Directors, stated the release.

In recognition of her ongoing commitment to supporting people with intellectual disabilities, Fennell is also the recipient of an Honourary Lifetime Membership to Community Living Campbellford/Brighton.

Sponsored by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Ontario Volunteer Service Awards are presented to volunteers from all sectors for their continuous years of service with a community organization.

They recognize that volunteerism is a vital resource to our communities and organizations. They provide a crucial backbone to our province’s strength and resilience. Volunteer Service Awards allow the opportunity to thank volunteers in a significant way, stated the press release.

A long-standing tradition in Ontario, 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the service awards program.

Community Living has a history that began with the efforts of Mary Cook who knew that if someone was intellectually disabled, the opportunity for obtaining services was extremely limited in the Campbellford area.

As outlined on the organization’s web site the president of the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded (OAMR), William Kirk advertised in the Toronto Star at that time and offered support to communities if a need existed for service.

In January 1960, as a result of Cook’s efforts, the president of the OAMR held a public meeting at the Parish Hall in Campbellford and the response was overwhelming with 58 people attending the meeting.

Information was shared with participants in regards to OAMR’s services and goals.

In April of 1960 Kirk returned to assist in the formation of the Campbellford and District Association.

In September the association undertook its first project, the opening of Merryvale School, which was the first school for intellectually disabled children in Northumberland County.

Eleven children from ages seven to 16 attended. The students, teas and bazaars raised funds through donations and various fund-raising events such as auction sales.

Community Living Campbellford/Brighton emphasizes the promotion of quality of life for all individuals and subscribes to an Outcomes Based philosophy to support services, which is governed by its mission, vision, principles and values.