Founded in 1960 by a group of concerned parents and incorporated in 1967, Community Living South Muskoka (CLSM) is a registered charity that provides support to over 400 individuals of all ages with a developmental disability and their families. Our services extend to individuals residing in South Muskoka from Severn Bridge and Port Severn/Honey Harbour to the South and from Mactier to midway between Bracebridge and Huntsville in the North. For Family Home programs we support individuals in the entire District of Muskoka. CLSM is a member of OASIS (Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs), a provincial organization representing 189 agencies that provide supports to individuals and families in the developmental sector.
CLSM is committed to enabling individuals to meet their personal goals and live and participate actively in the community. Working closely with our families and with the support of our funders, the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Ministry of Children & Youth Services, and the District Municipality of Muskoka, we have tailored supports and services to meet the individual needs of the people we support as well as taking into consideration the needs of their caregivers.
CLSM is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors consisting of family members of individuals supported and concerned members of our community.
In 1961, the Bracebridge United Church offered their facilities to provide a classroom for the Association to use towards fulfilling their goals. Two teachers were hired and willing volunteers recruited to help where needed. A Building Committee, formed in 1962, raised the necessary money to build a new school to meet the children’s needs. After much work and a lot of planning, this was finally accomplished and on October 17, 1968, the new school, known as Victoria Street School, was officially opened. The Board of Education took over the operation of this school. The programs became diversified and a good deal of progress was to be seen. With younger persons needs being looked after, the Association refocused its attention on the adults and thus began the work of opening an Adult Workshop. A.R.C. Industries, provided work-related programs and remained in full operation until 1992. This was replaced by the Community Skills Development programs.
In 1986, the Family Support program was transferred from the Children’s Aid and the Resource Teacher program was initiated. The Respite program was formed in 1987 to provide respite to caregivers. This program has since expanded to provide respite for children & adults.
In 1988, the Association opened their first Residential program and this service continues to expand and grow. In February 2002, a group home was opened in Port Severn to provide support to the west side of our territory. 2002 also saw the commencement of services for Transition Aged Youth through the Youth Works program.
In 2007 and 2009 two group homes were opened and we welcomed six individuals as the last facilities in the province closed their doors. In 2010, we sold one of our original group homes in Bracebridge and opened a triplex for individuals to live in their own apartments in the community who need more support than our traditional Supported Independent Living Program provided. In 2012, CLSM amalgamated two locations and purchased a new home in Bracebridge to better suit the needs of the people we support.
In 2007, CLSM purchased a 35 acre farm on the outskirts of Bracebridge called Morrison Meadows. Our goal was to create employment opportunities for the individuals we serve, and become an outdoor recreational space for our community to enjoy and see individuals with a developmental disability as capable, friendly, teachers, partners and community leaders. Please visit the Morrison Meadows website to learn more!