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2014 is a Big Year for CONNECT

CONNECT welcomes 2014 by celebrating 20(+5) years of Making Lives Better.

Why the 20(+5)? CONNECT opened its doors 20 years ago in Langley. Five years ago, a second site in Lake Country near Kelowna opened its doors. Now, CONNECT looks to the future with 20(+5) years of delivering A Better Way After Brain Injury.

The anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate all year long. Watch for individual milestones throughout the year to recognize the residents, employees, community partners, funders and founders who make CONNECT what it is. 

The first of many celebrations was a five-year birthday party in Lake Country to commemorate five years since CONNECT opened its doors there.

As the first resident in Lake Country, resident Randy says CONNECT has a lot to celebrate.

"This place is really awesome and everyone here is well taken care of," he says. "I've seen a lot of changes since I moved here and they are all for the better."

Randy ate cake and chatted with residents and staff on Wednesday, January 22 to celebrate CONNECT's 5-year anniversary of the opening of Lake Country.

Randy says CONNECT gives him the freedom to live his life, but provides encouragement and support to keep him in check. He appreciates the opportunity to be accountable to the people around him.

Life at CONNECT is busy for Randy. He volunteers at the food bank once per week, has worked for Lake Country Harvest, and ventures into the community when he can.

"In the summer, I'm always out on my scooter. It's beautiful here in the summer and I really like this neighborhood."

As for the future, Randy is optimistic about what he can accomplish.

"I would love to have some wild sex," he teased. "But, seriously, I'd love to do some travelling. Maybe go visit Mexico one day. I'd like to travel BC and do a big road trip."

He said it's pretty tough to beat the Okanagan in the summer.

He says he appreciates all of CONNECT's employees, but attributes the company's success to the leadership of Karen Tims, Director of People, Culture and Services.

Karen insists Randy's accomplishments are because of the work he puts in. She helps the staff, who, in turn, help him. Karen just "holds the door open."

She says it feels pretty incredible to be celebrating five years in Lake Country because they've come a long way in that time.

"When we started, it felt like every day was full of first times. We were figuring everything out as a long list of firsts. Now, life has become more normal and the firsts are fewer and further between."

Karen says she has high hopes for the next five years at Lake Country and the next 20 years for CONNECT.

"We haven't reached our full potential yet. We are constantly evolving."