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Happy Anniversary Community Inclusion Collingwood

Happy 12th Year Anniversary Community Inclusion Collingwood

Next week – the beginning of May – it has been 12 years since we transition out of the PPE room a.k.a. the boardroom, a.k.a Graffiti.

Even through a 2-year pandemic we managed to venture into the community and explore how to navigate public transit, masks, vaccines, and social distancing.  We are listening and flexible with everyone as to how they feel safe being in the community and have designed their day(s) according to what they told us made them feel safe.

12 years of exploration and opening doors, we have had an amazing community inclusion adventure and we all continue to explore.

Here is an original article that was published way back in 2009 just after we headed out.

Folks We Care About: Sterling James

July 28, 2017

8 years ago Sterling ventured out with a small group of people supported by Spectrum Society into the community everywhere.  This was his interview!

Click here to see the original post: Sterling James

Posted on 2009/11/30

It always amazes me how the busiest people always find a moment to add one more detail to their day.  That would be true of our newest member to the office team ~ Sterling James.     Sterling is heading up the re-configuration of our day program services.  Welcome Sterling!!

  1.    Who do you work with?

As of October of this year I work with all of the community inclusion day service folks.  A.k.a. the bridges in and bridges out crowd and that list is long.

I continue to hang out with OH the odd time to catch up and have a few laughs.

  1. What is your favorite thing about your job?

Wow where to start.  That I get to share my life with some incredible people and
how many places let you wear kilts to work and fake tattoo arm sleeves.

  1.    What’s your favorite thing about Spectrum?

The first thing that comes to mind is the freedom for everyone to be who they are. That Spectrum celebrates the stories of each and every individual.  I have seen the other side of the coin, the darker institution side where the individual wasn’t seen for who they were and made to conform (in many cases not in a good way) to a group mentality and stripped of self.  Where groups of people sat and made decisions for folks and didn’t ask their opinion or dreams or wishes.  That is why I left this line of work and traveled a much different career path.

  1. What other kinds of jobs have you had before?

There have been a few……

My first job was in retail in my parent’s variety store in Orillia, McLean’s Variety. I was 11.  When they put in a restaurant, I became the short order cook on Saturday’s that was about age 15.  I have pumped gas, delivered pizzas and newspapers.

I was at the helm of three different catering companies in London, ON. Have catered to three Ontario premiers, and catered an event that Prime Minister Chrétien.  At one event the wife of Premier Peterson wanted me to talk her husband into getting his ear pierced.  I spent some time talking about crème fraiche with Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.

I have worked as a Special Events chef; a Chef de Partie Garde Manger and the Principle Culinary Instructor and Principle for the Culinary School of London (ON).

I was an extra on the L-word.  I was even a Santa Claus for dogs and puppies at a local dog boutique here in Vancouver.

  1.   Tell us a bit about your life?

It started 55 years ago almost to the month on a wintry day in middle Ontario ……….. Okay I won’t bore you.

My philosophy of life has always been about learning new things, exploring new areas and trying new things.

I moved to Vancouver almost 4 years ago and truly feel I have found a city that I call home.  When asked why I was moving west, I would tell people that I left my soul in Vancouver 20 years ago when I first visited and that it was time to reconnect my body and soul.  I do that spiritually every time I stand on the beach at English Bay.

I am a surrogate dad. I co-wrote, produced and acting in a short film based on this fact. My character tells his new born son how he was conceived by a gay man and a gay woman. It was well received and traveled around the world for a couple of years in various festivals. I was even considered as writer of the year at the Out on Screen festival here in Vancouver in 2006.

I believe in giving back to the gay community so I volunteer at Qmmunity and sit on the programming committee for Out on Screen Vancouver’s Queer Film Festival.

  1.  What are your goals?

My goals for my life are and have been to find a true balance between the work I enjoy and my personal life.

My goal within Spectrum is to help us move towards true inclusion within the community.

7 .      If I could change one thing….
I would make every one more understanding of each other.

………………..8 years later everyone has transition out into the community, and have all achieved their original goals and then some.  Not only have our folks transitioned into the community; the community inclusion Collingwood team has fostered and developed and maintained community partners with:

  • Collingwood Neighbourhood house
  • Killarney Community Centre
  • Champlain Community Centre
  • Bamboo Café
  • Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House
  • Mount Pleasant Community Centre

And have volunteer experiences at

  • The greater Vancouver Food bank
  • Vancouver Eco Village
  • The Vancouver Aquarium
  • Collingwood Neighbourhood House
  • RAPS
  • Adventure Den
  • Quest
  • Frog Hollow Community Centre

Have become part of (the) Safe Place program.


To keep moving forward and helping our individuals to open new doors for themselves to achieve who they want to be.