New look for ACL

By Andrew Buck
Sunday October 31, 2004


Selkirk Journal  - The Association for Community Living's clients have grown over the years, so it only makes sense that the ACL would do likewise. The Selkirk-based resource centre has done just that, opening the doors on a brand-new interior after years of fundraising and renovations.

The ACL held an open house at its 306 Jemima St. headquarters earlier this month to celebrate the near-completion of the renovations. The work includes the installation of a state-of-the art kitchen, a new computer room and a senior's room that reflects the ACL's aging client base.

"What started it all was that we needed a new kitchen," said ACL board member Linda Paluck, who chairs the association's building and maintenance committee. "It needed to be upgraded and when we asked for a grant, they told us that they wouldn't support any patchwork. It just led from there."

Started in 1956 by a group of parents and friends of people with developmental disabilities, the ACL has worked to provide its clients with skills that will allow them to become contributing members of the community. The upgraded facilities will allow the association to continue to meet that goal in brand new setting, Paluck said. "We actually gutted this building and redid the whole inside," she said.

"The four walls are the only things that remain the same," ACL administrative assistant JoAnne Kakoske added, "but even those have new siding."

Success has come over several years and is thanks to continued support from the community, Paluck said. Originally pegged at $300,000, the upgrades have ended up costing about $450,000.
Various contributors - including the Selkirk Legion, the Thomas Sill Foundation,
the Rotary Club and Safeway, plus the ACL's endowment fund - have covered most of the cost, but the centre still needs to raise about $50,000 to finish its payments.

In addition to the community donations, the ACL has also started a memory tree.
"We were looking for some way to commemorate past members who had passed away and left donations to the ACL in their memory," Kakoske said. Contributors can purchase apples on the tree for $250, she said.