Vernon and District Association for Community Living (VDACL), otherwise known as Venture Training, is Greater Vernon's 'pioneer agency,' proudly supporting adults with developmental disabilities with social, educational and vocational skill-building since 1955. With a progressive Board of Directors and more than 160 qualified staff members, Venture Training continues to lead the way as we celebrate 65 years of supporting local people. We provide services for more than 200 participants, currently offering 19 distinctive interactive programs which empower individuals to use their strengths with 'hands-on' skill-building opportunities to enrich the quality of their life.

VDACL is proud to have received our sixth three-year CARF accreditation, which is the highest level of excellence in our industry.

Friendship - An Observation by Marinna C.

I know lots of people. Some of them are my friends. I have lots of different kinds of people for friends. Some of the people I work with are special to me. They make me happy, they talk to me about work and life and we laugh together. I worked on some hiring committees and hired some of these people and I think I made some good choices. I like the staff and board of VDACL. I enjoy working on boards - I think I'm helping other self advocates by being there.

I have some great friends in the stores where I shop. They always talk to me and help me out if I need a hand. I like shopping in places where I know people and where they know me. I find most people in Vernon very friendly.

My very special friends are really important to me. I like their attitude - they never let you down if they can help it. Since I don't have family, my special friends are like family. I feel loved and important.

Some people don't have friends. They stay alone and watch TV. Their life must be so lonely and unhappy. They might not feel like living anymore. They haven't got any reason for living. I felt like that once. I almost wanted to die. Nobody cared for me. I had no friends. When I moved out on my own it was because of some friends who cared about me and helped me make the decision to move. They didn't force me, they just gave me ideas and supported me when I did choose to move. My life changed so much after that. Friendship made such a difference in my life. I don't think you have to spend every minute with someone to be a friend, but then you are with them you have to really care. I think everybody who reads this should take the time to be a friend to someone who is lonely. Right now I am working with Joanne to help people find friends. If you can offer a little time to someone, you might change their life.

Believe me, I know.

Notes: Marianne C. was an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. Her observation on friendship was presented at our 1989 A.G.M. Marianne passed away in 2003. R.I.P.