Cresteramics. (File photo)

Cresteramics Chatter

The staff at Cresteramics have continued to be creative and flexible in serving our community of individuals by shifting to providing at distance services

Submitted by Cresteramics

Greetings from all of us at Cresteramics! Our official program name, Cresteramics Society for the Handicapped, goes back to 1977 when a ceramic production location was established including individuals from the Dr. Endicott Center. The board has considered a name change more in keeping with an understanding of diverse abilities, yet there is a fondness and simplicity so far in staying with Cresteramics as our name, as it acknowledges the original model.

The initial success came from our members creating and selling ceramics. However, as logistics became more expensive, we had to diversify our products and services. Today, we offer nearly 30 different programs for people in our surrounding area. These opportunities include supported employment, volunteer activities, high school to adult transition programs, and other various activities involving education, healthy living, and social development. Over time the storefront has evolved to represent over 30 local artists, as well as benefiting Cresteramics members through the work program it provides.

Since March 2020, the interruption to our in-person day program due to COVID-19 has impacted not only the individuals ranging in age from 19-75 who were attending the program up to five days a week, but their caregivers, families, and Cresteramics staff and administration. What a ride it has been as everyone has adjusted to changing schedules and routines, while still maintaining a commitment to members to stay connected, supported, and responding to their unique challenges.

Notwithstanding the stresses of managing all this, the staff have continued to be creative and flexible in serving our community of individuals by shifting to providing at distance services including phone connections, home delivery of surprise packages, and at home activity kits. Never resting on their laurels, they have been planning new programs and in keeping with the warming weather have created a garden program. As we transition slowly to a return to in-person activities at our center, the staff are enlivened to once again see the smiles, hear the laughter and engage once more in the activities that make a difference to each individual.

Cresteramics is funded through CLBC (Community Living British Columbia) and MCFD (Ministry of Families and Children) for our Transitioning Youth Program. We are accredited through CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities). Keeping our building up to par and dealing with each challenge from phone systems to windows, roof repairs, and leaks is in part possible because of funders who have supported our efforts over the years. Thanks to the Creston Kootenay Foundation who recently helped us repair our roof with a donation of $2,000 and Columbia Basin Trust for our summer program.

We are where we are today because of the dedication and support of so many people over the past 44 years. At this point in 2021 while the pandemic challenges are still with us, a sense of relief is beckoning us at each new stage. As a volunteer board of directors, we want to acknowledge and thank our staff, clients, caregivers, and our community of supporters, businesses, and funders who have made it possible for us to remain open while supporting our clients in creative ways.

Because of COVID-19, we were not able to recognize and honour two of our staff upon their retirement in the past year with our usual party. We’d like to thank Anna Toupin and Joanne Ferry for their years of service and dedication to our organization. Anna joined us in 1991, and Joanne in 2012. We wish you both wonderful retirement adventures.

For more information on Cresteramics, call 250-428-7412 or visit cresteramics.ca.

ColumnistCreston Valley