ABLE2’s 50 Years of Community Service: A Story of Impact

Over the last 50 years we have seen an evolution in our attitudes and actions in the areas of inclusivity, equality, and accessibility, from the enactment of key pieces of legislation to the development of assistive devices and technology, ABLE2: Support for People with Disabilities (formerly Citizen Advocacy Ottawa) has been present through it all.

ABLE2’s story began in the mid 1970s, as Citizen Advocacy of Ottawa Carleton (CAOC). CAOC a non-profit, charitable organization began with a program that matched individuals with disabilities (called Friends) to volunteers (called Allies). The Allies would spend time with their Friends participating in activities within the community and advocating for supports and services that would help their Friends to lead the lives they desired. The Matching Program as it is called today would often result in the development of long-term friendships beneficial to both the Friend and Ally.

Over the years, ABLE2 added more programs, in response to the changing needs of individuals with disabilities and with the addition of these programs came a need for a new name. In 2020, CAOC became ABLE2. This change was not merely sematic; it represented the organization’s changing vision and mission, better represented the range of programs that we offered and the individuals that we serve.

Today, ABLE2 provides not only the matching program but programs that assist individuals with disabilities to build support networks, plan for and build a good life, and manage their individualized funds. We provide support for children, youth and adults impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and through our recent amalgamation with Reach Canada, ABLE2 can now offer a legal referral service to support individuals with disabilities who face issues accessing the justice system.

As ABLE2 celebrates its 50th year of service to the community, there is so much to be proud of, the relationships which have been facilitated, the lives we have impacted, the programs we have built, the partnerships we have made and the part we have played and continue to play in championing the rights of individuals with disabilities.

ABLE2’s story is one of community service and impact, underscored by our vision of an inclusive community where all people are seen as able, important, and valued, but our story does not end here.

The next 50 years promises to be even more impactful and exciting and ABLE2 is committed to being part of all of it.

In closing, I would like to thank all the donors, volunteers and supporters who believe in our vision and who are part of our story. Most importantly, I want to thank the individuals with disabilities and their families for allowing ABLE2 to serve you for the past fifty years and helping us to make a positive impact in the community.

Published by

Heather Lacey

Experienced Non-Profit Executive Director

Read Heather’s other articles here