All of us at Cresteramics are ready for spring and we are sure you are too. Our regular programs are running smoothly with our members busy each day. The Enrich and Stitch program decorated Rotocrest Hall for the Swing Into Spring Dance last week and the decorations were amazing. Our Youth Summer Program is planned and ready to go, we are just waiting to hear if we have been successful in securing funds to operate it.
Cresteramics goes back many years in Creston. In 1951 Dr. James Endicott founded the Endicott Centre that was a residential setting for Kootenay residents born with physical and mental disabilities. This setting was so popular and well managed that its reputation spread and persons from other areas of British Columbia came to reside here.
The philosophy of care for persons with developmental disabilities changed and the Endicott Centre was no longer home or a place of work for these people. They moved to group homes, home-share accommodations, and semiprivate and independent living situations. Many remained in the Creston valley because their families were no longer available to them and because Creston is a supportive, caring community.
The need for places for daily activity, work and recreation grew. Cresteramics started as a day program in the Eagles Hall. Making ceramic products was a job. In December 1977 fund raising for a new building started and Cresteramics on Railroad Boulevard was opened in September 1978. Many ceramic products were made and sold from there and later we opened our store on Canyon Street. It serves as a retail space for our products, Ron Hurry’s beautiful jewelry, and products made by local artists and one of the day programs for our members.
Programs grow around the needs of our members and partnerships within the community. Each member makes suggestions about the programs we offer and participates in the activities they choose and are able to do.
We design programs to focus on education and employment partnerships. Our presence in elementary schools and youth transitions program make it easier for youth and families to make choices as they finish school. Community inclusion is a goal for all agencies serving persons with developmental disabilities and we believe that being in Creston makes this goal attainable. As our membership ages, many of our members attended the Endicott Centre, we strive to offer them suitable activities and an appropriate setting.
An example of a new and popular program initiated by a creative staff member is ‘Passports’. Each month members learn about a country – its food, customs, geography, music and festivals. A typical meal of the country being studied is shared at the end of each month and passports are stamped before moving on to the next country. Another popular program is Lifelong Learning which includes studying reading, French and Sign Language.
It takes understanding, imagination and commitment from the staff and administration to juggle all of the responsibilities they have each and every day. I am proud to be able to tell you that they do a great job.