The society was organized in 1953 by a group of parents, teachers, doctors and concerned citizens to ensure the education of children with mental handicaps. We were known as the Sunnyvale Centre at that time.
In 1958, the Sunnyvale Centre had an enrollment of thirteen students and a staff of two teachers who taught classes of seven to thirteen years old and fifteen to thirty years old.
By 1968 the needs of the individuals was now more diverse and required a day activity for those who had graduated from school. The Sunnyvale Workshop was developed to serve the needs of these individuals. The school enrolment was now eighteen students supported by three teachers. The Sunnyvale Workshop grew to serve twenty-seven adults, supported by six staff.
In 1973, the society gradually divested itself of all children’s services ceding this responsibility to the Neurological Association and School District # 23. It was the year that the Bertram Street residence was completed. The residence served twelve individuals.
By 1978, the Society was fully focused on the needs of adults with developmental disabilities with emphasis on training and education. Sunnyvale Workshop, located at 555 Fuller Avenue, served approximately 50 individuals.
The society expanded its range of services in the early 1980′s and purchased four homes. The residences served sixteen individuals and offered a respite bed for weekend stays. By the end of the 1980′s the society transferred three of homes to another society and was left with the Richter Street residence.
In 1988, the society was running four levels of vocational services, which ranged from personal skills development to vocational training. The society served sixty-eight people and was supported by sixteen staff members. The residential service served twenty-four individuals, which was supported by nineteen staff. It was also the year that we made our first attempt at integrating into the community by establishing Champs Restaurant. It was our first ‘on the job’ training development. Champs Restaurant served the training needs for several of our workers and was supported by one staff person.
Unfortunately, the cost of operating this service outweighed our ability to generate revenue and we were forced to close the operation after one and a half years.
In 1989, we continued our integration into the community by developing our wedding shop, Wedding Belles and Baskets, which served eleven individuals and the Kelowna Diversified Industries Firewood Project, which served ten individuals. The firewood project ran successfully for eighteen months. In fact, it was this project and the individuals involved with it that lead us to our first supported employment contract through our new service, Integrated Community Opportunities, with the Ministry of Children and Families in the later part of 1990.
It was determined in the early 1990′s that in order to become more involved in the community, we would have to more fully integrate. In 1992, we moved Wedding Belles and Baskets and Integrated Community Opportunities into the community and established our first storefront operations. This was followed in 1993 by establishing an enclave of our workers in K.E.R.E.D.A.’s recycling project based at Crowley Road. In 1996 our Contract Services department was relocated to its new address on Bay Avenue and was renamed First Choice Services. Finally, in the early part of 1999, Larry’s Cycle and Sports a small bike shop enclave established within the society in 1995, was relocated from our facility to its storefront location on Lawrence Avenue.
In 2006 due to lack of sales Wedding Belles and Baskets closed their doors. Individuals relocated to other society service areas. Similarly in 2011, Larry’s Cycle and Sports closed its doors.
Our society has evolved from that initial group of pioneering parents and supporters who saw the need for something more for children and adults with developmental challenges. Over the years our society has served hundreds of individuals and we will continue to serve hundreds more in the coming years. Currently over 150 people with developmental disabilities are served, their families and caregivers.
In 2012, acknowledging the changing times, we revisited the way in which we present our message to the community and recognized the opportunity to refresh our identity and explore new and exciting ways in which to engage the community in our work. With the arrival of 2013, KDSCL officially changed its name to Pathways Abilities Society.
Click here for a detailed timeline of Pathways’ history.