In June of 2017, the Port Alberni Association for Community Living celebrated the 60th anniversary of its incorporation as a society. PAACL has had a long and respected reputation in our community. The organization is a very different one from that of the late fifties but our beliefs and values have remained the same.
1960's: The first programs started by PAACL were a pre-school, Arrowsmith House - a large group home on Argyle Street, and Arrowsmith Services - a sheltered workshop that would provide day program opportunities for adults.
1970's: The Learning Place Pre-School was opened. By 1995, beliefs had changed, the Learning Place Pre-school closed and children were integrated into regular day care centers with support from PAACL.
1980's: Large institutions in BC were closed. Individuals from these institutions came to Port Alberni and we opened several group homes to accommodate and meet their needs. In 1988, the Community Employment Program started. In 1992 Arrowsmith Services split into two day programs (Arrowsmith Services and Community Options). Choices Day Program began in 1994.
1990's: Ninth Avenue and Russell Place Residences open; Supported Child Care starts in Port Alberni, providing subsidies and support for parents of special needs preschoolers; Fifth Avenue and Huff Residences close as residents move to individual support in private homes.
2000's: In 2004, the Pathways Program was created to offer individuals access to recreational, leisure and social networking opportunities. In 2005, a new group home was built in the Westporte area to provide a home for the residents of the Glenside and Russell homes, which were closed. The 50th anniversary of the Association was celebrated with a Charity Art Auction and the launching of the Port Alberni ACL Foundation.
In 2008 PAACL purchased a new building on Margaret Street. Choices, Options & Arrowsmith Services move to the new location and become the Connections Day Program. The new program offered more space, more choice and more opportunities for clients in these programs. The Personalize Supports Initiative program is established and provides supports to adults with FASD and Autism. PAACL also offers this program in the Nanaimo area. Gilley Residence, a 3 bed staffed residence in Parksville is opened.
in 2005 PAACL was successful in obtaining its first Three Year CARF Accreditation. Carf is an international monitoring body that ensures that all programs delivered by PAACL meet the highest standards for quality service. Since 2005 PAACL has been successful in obtaining 5 more consecutive - three Year Carf Accreditation, the lastest being in May of 2017.
In 2009 PAACL focused on partnerships. Partnerships were developed withinthe community, on Vancouver Island, and across the province. The first Family Fun Fair celebrating Community Living Month was co-hosted by the City of Port Alberni, the Citizen's Advocacy Society, Community Living BC and PAACL.
This was also the first year of a partnership with the Alberni Valley Times in which we now publish the "PAACL News", a monthly full-page newsletter highlighting the work we do in the Alberni Valley and on the West Coast.
Our self-advocate group also formed partnerships across the Island, joining with people in Powell River and Courtenay to successfully be awarded a $5,000 grant from the British Columbia Association for Community Living. This grant will help our advocates to strengthen the self advocacy network on the island, organize training opportunities and make positive changes in the community.
The Association also launched the Home Sharing Program. Homesharing is a residential option in which an adult with an intellectual disability shares a home with someone who is contracted to provide ongoing support.
2010's: PAACL purchased and renovated an old church building at 8th & Dogwood in Port Alberni. Services for Community Living (SIL & SHS) programs moved in and deliver their outreach programs from the new location. PSI Programs expand to include an employment service component; PAACL celebrates 60 years of community lviing; The Clothes Drop Bin program was started to generate revenue for non-funded programs. In 2017, PAACL launches a pilot program call the "Youth Transition Program". The program was designed to fill the gap in service and support for youth transitioning from high school to adult services. In April 2018 PAACL will be delivering a Child/Youth with Special Needs Program (CYSN) offering support to children and youth with special needs and their families. Areas of focus are, Life & Social Skills, Recreation & Leisure, Transition Planning, Community Inclusion, Education and Resource Awareness.