Barry and his Monster Pro Wrestling club he belongs to.

Citizenship is at the heart of what we do

Skills Society is a not-for-profit organization that provides support services to children and adults with developmental disabilities, survivors of brain injuries, and their families

For some, this may involve a few hours of outreach support each week. For others, it involves 24/7 supported community living. No matter the need, our work is rooted in providing people with disabilities with the same opportunities and choices, the same ability to share their gifts and talents, and the same sense of belonging that we all enjoy.

A community where all individuals are valued citizens deserving respect, dignity and rights.

We support individuals with disabilities and their families in their right to learn and grow in the community. Our services strengthen belonging and encourage and support individual choice and opportunity.

It starts with citizenship

For many of us, citizenship is something we take for granted. It can be defined in many ways, but at its core ​citizenship​ is our sense of value and belonging. This sense of citizenship doesn’t always extend to people with disabilities. That’s why Skills Society was formed – to provide people with disabilities with the same opportunities and choices, the same ability to share their gifts and talents, and the same sense of belonging that we all enjoy. ​Citizenship​ is what we strive for every day.

Full citizenship involves…

Illustration of a hand balancing a scale with title of rights

Equal access to opportunities, freedom to choose, independence

Illustrations of two thumbs pressed together with title of participation

Having meaningful things to do and places to go, the opportunity to share gifts and talents with others

Illustration of clasped hands with title of relationships

Being surrounded by people who love and care about you, sharing your life with others

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Feeling valued, respected, and an important part of society

“We battled for years to find the right environment for Robin. She just didn’t fit into the mould that had been established for the delivery of services. Until we came to Skills Society. They have made all the difference.”

Bob Adams

Skills Society beneficiary

Our values keep us focused and inspired

We never forget to keep the voices of those we serve at the centre of our planning and practices.

In the past, people with disabilities were left out of important conversations that affected their lives. We believe that our planning, policies, procedures, and pathways are more effective when they are informed by and responsive to the needs of the people whose lives they impact.

What this looks like in action
  • We focus our services around the lived experiences of the people we support
  • We plan our services in creative and engaging ways in order to make them meaningful and relevant
  • We ensure our solutions are the most empowering, least intrusive and safest for the people affected
  • We build and strengthen healthy relationships in everything we do
  • We work equally to solve big picture problems and on-the-ground needs

By working with others, we build a stronger community of neighbours, leaders and advocates.

We believe that real social change comes from collective effort. By sharing resources and working closely with other like-minded organizations, we raise the voice of the disability community and take a leading role in building more inclusive communities.

What this looks like in action
  • We treat invitations to collaborate as opportunities to help achieve our vision and mission
  • We use the Action Lab and other initiatives to open up relationships and spur innovative ideas
  • We look beyond our organization for new and different ways to achieve our vision
  • We place trust at the centre of any relationship – because that’s what enables collaboration
  • We embrace the sometimes slower nature of collaborative work when it is necessary

In order to continually improve the support we provide, we’re not afraid to learn from others and try new ideas.

In order to become better problem solvers, we work hard to learn through our actions and study excellence in others. We are committed to trying new ideas, seeking input on our work, and building a learning organization each and every day.

What this looks like in action
  • We actively seek out new knowledge and view continuous learning as essential to our role as leaders
  • We learn through reflecting on our actions and studying the work of others
  • We strive to mix solutions that are old, new and sometimes surprising
  • We generously share what we build and learn with others

We know that supporting people’s citizenship is complex. Through creativity, determination and collaboration we can tackle any challenge.

Helping people with disabilities live fulfilling lives is not an easy, straightforward road. It is complex work – from the needs of the people we serve to the interconnected policies that shape their world. Rather than shy away from these challenges, we meet them head-on with creativity, determination and collective effort.

What this looks like in action
  • We  experiment with multiple ways to address tough issues in order to improve the chances we find a solution
  • We embrace ambiguity, difficulty and tension as opportunities for creative thinking and innovative responses
  • We are comfortable knowing that measuring success in our work is not an exact science with clear answers
  • We are relentless but patient in our efforts to navigate and make progress on tough issues

We build our supports to adapt to the unique needs of each person. At the same time, we strive to shift our services and priorities to meet changing times.

Life is full of change. We know that if our strategies and systems are too rigid and static, we risk our services becoming less useful or relevant. Instead, we are stronger when we are more agile in responding to changing contexts and uncertain times.

What this looks like in action
  • We stay razor focused on our vision and mission yet flexible in how we pursue them
  • We constantly scan our world – inside and out – to identify opportunities and barriers for our work
  • We boldly seek out new insights – even failures – and adapt our work to reflect our learning
  • We promote clear and constant communication to enable us to pivot quickly if required
  • We adjust and revisit decisions when new information is presented or as political, social, and environmental contexts shift
  • We remain open to new solutions in the face of changing times

We listen deeply to understand what is really going on and what is needed

“I think it’s important that we focus on supporting the citizenship of people with disabilities, because we still live in a society that doesn’t truly value that everyone has something meaningful to contribute.”

Skills Society Community Support Worker