MORRISBURG – Stories hold a community together and Community Living Dundas County (CLDC) has finished off a project they hope will help connect their clients to Dundas County.

The project, three years in the making, was the completion of a book called Our Stories, Our Lives in Dundas County and features the stories of seven CLDC clients and how their lives have been enriched by being part of their community.

Wed., Nov. 20 was the official launch of the book at Stone Crop Acres Winery and Vineyard.

The book was illustrated by Sheila Boardman and written by Susannah Joyce.

Joyce wrote in her introduction to the book, “The stories included in this collection invite us to celebrate and learn from the lives of seven people supported by Community Living Dundas County.”

Kevin Minish (centre) and two of his friends from the Morrisburg Curling Club: Jack Barkley (left) and far right Doug Jarvis.

She said the book is a way to share moments from their lives and how they have found meaning, connection and self-fulfillment in their own community as they grow and change.

“There is an Indigenous saying: It takes many voices to tell a single story,” said Joyce.

Daniel Kennedy was one of the seven featured in the book. He said a few words to the crowd.

“I am so proud of everyone in our book and how far we have come in our life journey,” Kennedy said. “Years ago, I would never have believed that I would be standing here before you tonight, relaying my gratitude to all of you who have encouraged me to become more involved with others in my community. There were times in my life I was very alone and unhappy.

Being around people who actually care about me fells really good. Thank you for your belief in me and encouraging me to be the best I can be.”

Joyce said, when she was collecting the stories, she spoke with the main seven clients and their friends, family and co-workers.

“In addition to speaking with each person whose story is being told, the voices of family, friends, colleagues, support staff, board and other community members are included here to provide a number of different perspectives and experiences that enrich the telling.”

Sandra Elliot, another person featured in the book said, “I would like to say to my family, ‘thank you for being an important part of my story. I love you. You mean everything to me.’”

For Leslie Disheau, CLDC’s board chair, the night served as an inspiration and a true unveiling of seven different personalities.

The stories of seven people were featured in the book. They are: Kevin Minish (left), Sandra Elliot, Jason Pinkham, Ashley Christie, May Bailey, Daniel Kennedy and Larry Stewart.

“I hope people come away from here and share the stories with their friends and neighbours,” she said. “These stories you are sharing with the rest of the community are important.

That is how a community becomes a community.”

The Community Living clients featured in the book include Ashley Christie, Daniel Kennedy, Jason Pinkham, Larry Stewart, Kevin Minish, May Bailey and Sandra Elliot.

Their stories mirror the mandate of CLDC, which states: “Citizenship is the uniqueness of each person being accepted, supported and acknowledged within an inclusive community.”

The book, $20 each, can be purchased at the CLDC office at 55 Allison Ave. in Morrisburg or at Cup of Jo’s in Winchester.

May Bailey held up a copy of Our Stories, Our Lives in Dundas County. Schoch Photos