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Kerry’s Place 45th Anniversary Celebrations and Annual General Meeting Events


On Thursday, August 29, 2019 Kerry’s Place hosted a 45th Anniversary Celebration event that commemorated the challenges and successes from the past and aspirations for the future.

Over 80 guests attended the celebrations including Board of Directors from Kerry’s Place and Kerry’s Place Residential Services, family members, volunteers, donors and employees.

Special guests included:

Kay O’Neil, joined by her sisters Dawn and Kerry, shared stories from the early days when her parents Val and Anne O’Neil, who were motivated to help their daughter Kerry diagnosed with autism opened their home to a group of children with autism. At a time when very little support was available it was these efforts that built the foundation for the Kerry’s Place as we know it today.

Via video message, Dr. Glenn Rampton expressed the challenges that were overcome while he served as Kerry’s Place CEO from 2000 to 2013. Dr. Rampton enhanced the clinical services as part of our mission to ensure quality of life for persons with autism through evidence-based, innovative and person-directed supports.

Bruce Punnett and Rose-Ann Punnett recounted the many experiences they have had as longstanding Kerry’s Place employees. Bruce, currently a Sr. Behaviour Therapist has worked at Kerry’s Place for 34 years and started when he was in High School hired part-time to teach life skills to youth. Rose-Ann, currently Clinical Coordinator started as a Program Assistant at the Maple site supporting 11 adolescents, she has been with Kerry’s Place for over 32 years also. They are encouraged by their fellow colleagues and the accomplishments of the persons we support.

Dianne Gaggi and Carolan Halpern spoke about their involvement as Co-Chairs of the Family Advisory Committee. Both Dianne and Carolan have children with autism supported by Kerry’s Place. As lifetime advocates they expressed their appreciation to have the opportunity to facilitate continued improvement and positive outcomes for all the individuals supported

Sue VanDeVelde-Coke, Kerry’s Place President and CEO acknowledged our donors and volunteers who continue to champion the goals of Kerry’s Place. Several programs such as the Young Adults Program would not be possible without the generosity of time and donations.

As part of our recruitment and retention strategy the Kerry’s Place Employee Value Proposition was announced. Support. Enrich. Encourage. Everyone Matters! Gillian Murphy, Procurement Coordinator was presented the award for writing the winning EVP statement.

In looking at the days and years ahead, Sue recognized the employees as the backbone of Kerry’s Place. The staff, management, and senior leaders play a dynamic and essential role ensuring people with ASD are full and equal members of the community.

Following the celebrations, Mark Walsh, Chair of the Kerry’s Place Board of Directors welcomed members and non-members to the Kerry’s Place Autism Services Annual General Meeting.

As this AGM concludes Mark’s term as Chair and as a member of the Board, Mark expressed his deep appreciation to the members of the Board and the management team for their leadership and is confident in the future direction of Kerry’s Place.

Tracy Jones, elected to the Board of Directors in 2017 is leaving the Board to focus on work as the CEO of Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care. During her term as Director, Tracy brought strong experience as a senior health care leader and a cool analytical mind to the Board. Mark thanked Tracy for her significant contribution to Kerry’s Place and the Board.

The members elected Enza Dininio, Karen Sullivan, Stephanie Ameis and Carobeth Zorzos to the Kerry’s Place Autism Services Board of Directors for their first three year term, and re-elected Jane Bullbrook and Ali Ladha to their second three year term to the Kerry’s Place Autism Services Board or Directors.

At a special meeting of the Board following the AGM, the Board of Directors appointed Mary Lowe to the Chair of the Board and Ali Ladha to the role of Treasurer.

Bob Hart, Chair of the Kerry’s Place Residential Services Board of Directors welcomed members and non-members to the Kerry’s Place Residential Services AGM.

The members elected Phil Dowd and Denise Evans for a three year term to the KPRS Board of Directors and Robert Hart for a two year term to the KPRS Board of Directors.