The Community on Campus program is designed to provide adults with mental disabilities an experience of life in a post-secondary environment. Accompanied by volunteers, these adults sit in on classes, work out at the gym and perform community ser- vice.
When the program began thirteen years ago, it supported only three adults. Today, thanks to increased volunteers (of which Community on Campus now has 65) that number has risen to twelve. Support worker April McDougall says that this number is likely to remain constant over the next few years.
Community on Campus is part of Community Living Mississauga, a charitable group established in 1955 to assist the mentally disabled. Both are funded primarily by the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services.
Although there are other support programs within Mississauga for peo- ple with disabilities, Community on Campus is different for the experience that it offers and for the friendships these people are able to form between volunteers their own age. These expe- riences benefit both the adults and the volunteers.
I worked in the corporate world, says Brett Paveling, Community Living Mississaugas communication manager and this is the most reward- ing thing Ive done by far. In business its all about the bottom line. Here its about seeing someone smile.