Lambton County Developmental Services (LCDS) has been providing support to adults with developmental disabilities for over 65 years. The organization began in 1955 when a group of parents whose children had developmental disabilities came together while dreaming of a better life; a life without limitation and a life filled with purpose and meaning for their loved ones. Supporting people is what LCDS does. They focus on quality of life, individual paths, hopes, goals, and inclusion. “We support people by living and breathing our mission of ‘empowering people with developmental disabilities and by growing towards our vision of ‘inclusive communities, innovative leaders.’ We honour and respect our values which are at the core of what we do - care, connection, and excellence,” shares Nick Salaris, Executive Director.
Helping people live a meaningful life one person at a time is LCDS’s philosophy. LCDS provides housing support, opportunities for community support, education, respite, and employment services. “One of our goals is to provide support for people with developmental disabilities so they can connect in their community, develop skills that foster independence, and experience relationships that make them feel respected,” explains Salaris. LCDS’s team of approximately 200 staff members support over 200 people in communities throughout Sarnia-Lambton.
LCDS is a known innovative leader in the developmental services sector. “We have formed amazing partnerships with Habitat for Humanity and The Workplace Group. We are a member of the Social Service Network of Sarnia-Lambton. We care about our community,” shares Salaris. LCDS was one of the six founding members of Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS) and was the first agency to become accredited through CARF International. “Accreditation isn’t required, but it shows our dedication to providing quality supports and services,” says Salaris. As a non-profit agency, LCDS relies heavily on the fundraising efforts of the LCDS Foundation. Some of their events include the Valentine Charity Auction, Trivia Night, Annual Golf Tournament, Petrolia Lions Club Beer & Wing Night, and FUSION: A Discovery of Food, Wine, and Craft Beer. “After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, we were over the moon that we were able to host our 11th FUSION event at DeGroot’s Nursery in Sarnia. It was an amazing event that featured over 35 local vendors, including Ontario wineries, breweries, and food providers. It is a local supporting local event.”
The organization is fortunate to have a committed team of volunteers and community partners, but it is the staff who are the backbone of the agency. “Our staff give all of themselves every day. They are flexible, resilient, and dedicated. Without them, we would not be who we are and be able to do what we do.”
LCDS believes strongly in the importance of a person’s connections to their community. Community makes a huge difference in a person’s quality of life in Sarnia-Lambton. “We are here to make a difference. It is both powerful and moving to see someone achieve their life’s goals. We are here to support people to live their best life possible, one person at a time.”