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What is Community Living and the role of the Student

January 5, 2016 Posted in Blog Posts


Creating Inclusive Communities Where Those with Disabilities Can Thrive!

Some history…..

Woodlands institution opened in New Westminster on May 17, 1878 as the Provincial Asylum for the Insane, later re-named the Provincial Hospital for the Insane. In 1950 it was renamed Woodlands School, and in 1974 the name was changed again – to Woodlands. Although the asylum was originally presented as a modern approach to treating “lunatics” and the “feebleminded, it was soon criticized as gloomy and unfit for its purpose of caring for people today referred to as having psychiatric disabilities and intellectual disabilities.”

Community living

Situated in New Westminster, overlooking the water front, it was demolished.

In 1981 the provincial government announced plans to close Woodlands. This was largely due to efforts of the families whose sons and daughters were in Woodlands. Later these families would be known as the “Woodlands Parents Group”. For the next fifteen years’ community placements for people residing in Woodlands were planned and carried out. Woodlands finally closed in 1996, marking the end this large institution.

community Living

The Woodlands Memorial Garden commemorates and celebrates the lives of people who lived and died in Woodlands Institution

The Woodlands Parents’ Group and other such groups, fought to bring about values and principles that outlined the rights of people with disability to live with dignity; participating in all aspects of community living, and sharing the same opportunities as other citizens. They wanted their children to be equal citizens and live in the community. Community – micro and macro –  includes the social fabric of families, neighbourhoods, and other personal relationships. Community is what gives people social meaning and enables all to belong and feel included.

In this regard, students who will be working with people with disabilities must be engaged in the issues that impact citizens with disabilities. Previously, communities were seen as a barrier, not a resource for people with disabilities. Now through Community Living we are learning to work collaboratively with others to build inclusive communities. We are not there yet. This is the role of the learner, the student, to take charge and support people to become their own.

What will your role be in the Community Living continuum?

If you are interested in taking an active role in the Community Living continuum, contact one of Drake Medox College’s admissions advisors today @ 604 629-0196 to learn more about the Community Support Worker Diploma ProgramTaranjeet Dhaliwal the author of this post is a CSW instructor at our Vancouver campus. Visit for more information.

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“We highly regard Community Support Work related schooling/credentials when making hiring decisions. The schooling indicates to us that applicants have some systematic training in the field and are passionate about quality care; this means they are likely to be high performers and stay longer because they fully understand what the job involves. Retention is a huge consideration, those that are likely to stay longer will always be highly sought after as it takes time to build working relationships and relationships with person served.”

Robin W.
HR Generalist

“Thank you Drake Medox College for assisting us in our hiring. We gained 5 staff from our posting and hope to gain more. Again our gratitude for producing high caliber members of the health care industry.”

Leo Monterola
Director of Care
Carlton Gardens Care Centre

“Please find attached the attendance and evaluations for all of the students who completed their practicum with us from February 8th – 15th. It was great to speak with their buddies because they all had such positive feedback, and really enjoyed working with the students. We really enjoy having the students here, and we look forward to working with you more in the future!”

Anja Meier
Human Resources Coordinator
Greater Vancouver Community Services Society

Success Story

I had a fantastic experience at Drake Medox College, as I found the instructors very knowledgeable, the quality of the training rooms to be so realistic to actual facilities and the Drake staff incredibly helpful and friendly. I now feel more than capable of taking the right steps to achieve my goal in becoming a health care assistant and building a great career for myself...I would recommend them to all my family and friends. I now look forward to starting a new and exciting career. Thank you Drake Medox College!