“Using the model of community engagement that LiveWorkPlay has so successfully implemented in Ottawa, Canada, George Kranitis has worked with our grandson through all the challenges that any young person encounters. In this model, people are encouraged to be a part of their communities as much as possible, rather than being segregated from society. George worked with Gage to find a place to work that paid a decent wage; helped him navigate administrative issues; helped with housing issues; and helped Gage explore a world of possibilities by getting out there and enjoying life in the community. Gage’s association over the years with LiveWorkPlay and George Kranitis has profoundly impacted Gage’s quality of life in many positive directions, and has set him on a clear, stable long-term path to being a happy member of the community in which he lives.”

Peggy and George Lobay, grandparents of Gage Emond (supported member/client)

“George Krantis is the nicest most caring generous support worker I have ever had (and I’ve had more than a few). He has done more to change the lives of myself and other members of LiveWorkPlay than we can ever imagine. He has a permanent smile on his face, and has been known to go the extra mile for anyone in need. He has an Australian sized heart of gold, and is not afraid to treat everybody he meets like lifelong friends. He has done more for me and the rest of the staff and members than we can every thank him for, and we are sad, despondent, devastated, for his leaving, but we understand (plus Canadian winters make us want to move to Australia). We are thankful for what George has done for us and know he is going somewhere he can thrive. Thanks for listening.”

– Patrick Doyle, supported member/client

“I met George through LiveWorkPlay about four years ago. He was my community connector and he has helped me out a lot. George has helped me get jobs, like at PODS and East India Company. George also helped me move into my first apartment, where I live on my own with no roommates. I don’t like roommates and it was very important for me to live by myself. My apartment is on O’Connor, downtown, and I have lived there for three years. I like the apartment, you get used to it. George also helped me make new friends through volunteer matching. I met two good friends through George, Laurie and Catherine and George has encouraged me to attend parties where I have a lot of fun and wear crazy hats. George also helped me with cooking. He connected me to someone named Wendy to come by my apartment and teach me how to cook things like chilli and pizza. George also helped me get my first cell phone. This has changed my life a lot. I can take pictures, I can type and text George and other friends, and I can go on Facebook and YouTube to watch Jimmy Fallon. George also helped me join the YMCA, where I go swimming and meet up with friends. I have known George for a long time. I would call him a friend. I also call him Trouble, because that’s his nickname. We have lots of inside jokes together and laugh a lot. George knows my family and they really like him too. George is a good guy. I will miss George, he is fantastic…and trouble.”

– Phil Landreville, supported member/client

“Since George started at LiveWorkPlay some years ago, he has provided much support, ideas and inspiration to our family. His kindness, energy and overall outlook on life has left a mark on us. To him, it was more than just a job. George; good luck, a safe journey and all the best to you and yours in the future.”

– Royce Rinne (supported member/client), Bev and Ralph Rinne (Royce’s parents)

“George and I worked together on a few things when he was my Community Connector. There was the time when we both worked on going from my Special Olympics basketball to a regular basketball league for everyone with the great Ottawa Sports and Social Club basketball group. I liked OSSC better and liked the people better too.”

Peter Keay, supported member/client

“Our son Peter has been with LiveWorkPlay for many years and George entered his sphere of influence about five years ago and at an important time in Peter’s life. As a young man Peter needed a confidante and naturally parents won’t do. George played that role and really helped Peter to show his athletic skills (be they basketball or archery) and to be comfortable with others in community recreational leagues. Peter has not looked back. Further, George became very familiar with the various forms of government support programs and was extremely helpful to us as a family to navigate through a complex and emotional process leading to Peter’s being “qualified” for Passport funding – at least Peter is now on the “waiting list”. George has shown talent, humour and lots of patience and we will greatly miss him. Ottawa’s loss – the Illawarra’s gain!”

Constance Hudak and David Keay, parents of Peter Keay (supported member/client)

“George was one of my important supports in my past. He helped me get my own place, find a paid job, was involved in my annual planning meetings and came to the LiveWorkPlay banquets.”

Sebastian Hale, supported member/client

“Changed A Life…

As any parent of children (or an adult) with developmental difficulties know, two things are truths, these are;

1)    Unfortunately this is a life long situation.

2)    Fortunately you will meet one or two people along the way that will make a huge difference.

Our son Sebastian (now 23), has had 2 people in his entire life that have made a huge impact on the trajectory and direction of his future and potential. George Kranitis is one of those people!

George has many talents, strengths and exceptional personal traits. However we want you to know the most special aspect to us; is that he changed a life. Joanne and I feel, and words cannot convey, that through his interactions (both “on the clock” and off) that Sebastian would not be where he is today without George’s involvement in his life.

Whether it was as a “supporter” (as our son calls George), or being INSTRUMENTAL in providing the advice and courage for our son to move into his first independent living apartment, to recommending social programs, to encouraging Sebastian to get gainful employment. The motivator was always George.

If you are lucky enough to have George involved with your loved one in some capacity, grab it with both hands, and look to his most gentle nature, experience and caring soul to assist you in your journey!”

– Peter and Joanne Hale, parents of Sebastian Hale (supported member/client)

“I have had the pleasure of working with George while he worked at one of the most important organisations for individuals with intellectual disabilities in Ottawa. It was always a breath of fresh air being able to collaborate as a community partner with George, as I knew that our shared values regarding individuals with intellectual disabilities (true inclusion, dignity and respect, a full life etc.), would allow us to make a difference with the people we were supporting. George really believes in the potential of the individuals he supports and will take a stand when he feels that the individual’s rights or needs are being neglected. It should also be noted that he is a fun, creative and exuberant individual who keeps us all smiling!”

– Tara McRae, Service Enhancement Consultant, Solutions 

“As the stepmother of a client of LiveWorkPlay, I have has the inestimable pleasure of working with George Kranitis or the past five years. In his capacity as a Community Connector and advocate he has helped and worked with my 38 year old stepdaughter Analisa (who has Down’s Syndrome) offering support and coordination in all levels of her community involvement. These activities have included many recreational programs, budgeting for her home and even in her preparation and ongoing studies in American Sign Language at the mainstream college level. As a retired educator myself I can appreciate George’s dedication, passion and unique gifts for working with people with intellectual disabilities. In my opinion he has the character, skills and personality required to work in this field. His constructive ongoing support for Analisa has broadened her horizon and her efforts to improve her quality of life an an active member of her community. It has been a privilege to work with George and I recommend him without reservation in his chosen career and hope he continues his advancement which he has earned and justly deserves.”

Regina Jurjonas, stepmother of Analisa Kiskis (supported member/client)

“As the Volunteer Coordinator at the Ottawa Food Bank, I had the pleasure of working with George Kranitis for over five years.  His warm and friendly approach to securing placements was invaluable as we worked towards interviewing and selecting clients that would thrive in our volunteer program.  George was always open to feedback and was quick to provide support to either clients or the placement as required. It was a pleasure to work with an individual that always had a genuinely caring interest in the clients and who worked in a dedicated and professional manner with the community at large.”

– Jo-Anne Turple, Volunteer Coordinator at the Ottawa Food Bank

“I liked working with George because he helped me plan my social parties at my place where I enjoyed playing host and inviting all my friends over to hang out. He gave me encouragement and ideas to help me plan future socials on my own too. He was also a great support on trips and make them even more fun!” 

– Brodie Cox, supported member/client

” …[George], your support and guidance with Jeremy over the past four years has greatly improved his personal development. It is remarkable to compare where he was when we first met to the present day. The model for inclusion for all has truly enabled our Jeremy. Our decision four years ago to hire Jeremy has proven to be a profitable decision for our company. There are many advantages to hiring a person with an intellectual disability; we are every bit confident that you will spread the word about the untapped labour pool.”

– Vaughn McKinney, General Manager of Parliament Cleaning Group (to read full statement click here)

“I had the opportunity to work in collaboration with George in providing support to individuals with disabilities. George is a considerate, enthusiastic and dedicated advocate for the individuals we assist. He is always energetic and positive and provides a great sense of inclusion and safety for our folks. George uses a person-centred approach, always ensuring that each individual has a voice and decision making power in their lives. It was a please working in partnership with him and I wish him all the best in his new ventures.”

– Cynthia Schreiber, Dual Diagnosis Case Manager, Canadian Mental Health Association

“George is a kind person. I will miss you. Come back to visit in Ottawa.”

– Ali Wilcox, supported member/client

“George worked with my daughter for a number of years, as her community connector with LiveWorkPlay. My daughter volunteered at a day care centre and had to review its policies annually. George was always patient in going through the documents – an onerous task at the best of times. George was also very helpful in guiding my daughter through some challenges at her workplace. He was in every instance patient, kind and enthusiastic, while at the same time, aware of the difficulties faced by an individual with an intellectual disability. Furthermore, George was there to help us navigate the red tape of our local bus company, when my daughter’s bus pass was cancelled without notice. Thank you so much, George. We wish you every success in your new endeavours in Australia. We will miss you.”

– Mary-Ann Wilcox, mother of Ali Wilcox (supported member/client)

“Thanks for helping me get into soccer, George! I like my teammates! They are very, very friendly. They give me rides to the games and they never don’t show up. We love to play as a team. They pass the ball to me and I move the ball up the field. That makes me part of the team. I get into shape when I play. When we have early games we go for drinks after the games. When we win the game or tie, we get beer points! At the end of the season we go to a party at the Senate Pub in the Market. We get beer trophies – it’s cans of beer put together with a glue-gun. It looks like a trophy with a soccer ball on top! Thanks George!

I did some woodworking in high school and I liked it. When you asked me what I like to do, I said I would like to do more woodworking. So, we went to the Bronson Centre and took a tour. I liked what I saw – all the hand tools and power tools. I said now this is something I want to do! So, I got into it and now I go every Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon. Thanks George, for listening to me and helping me get back into woodworking!

George, I liked it when we went to Carleton University to play hockey. That was good because it made me feel stronger and my skating developed so that I was quicker.

George, I will always think of all the fun that we had! I hope you come and visit sometime!”

– Chris Jones, supported member/client

“Getting connected to LiveWorkPlay was a great opportunity that allowed me to meet Chris. I think it’s important that adults with intellectual disabilities have a chance to be a part of their community. George from LiveWorkPlay supported Chris to join a soccer team with us (might I say one of Chris’s passions) and was there to help with the welcoming and introductions. At one point, he reached out to Team Doug (our team name) to see if we could give Chris lifts to some of the games, but turned out we were already doing so! Living in his area, I sometimes drove Chris to the games and he added so much laughter and joy to the drives and the games, of course. He is known on our team as “Big Kick Chris”. I can’t imagine playing soccer without him!”

– Chelsea King, Captain of Team Doug and teammate/friend of Chris Jones (supported member/client)

“Thanks George! It certainly was a pleasure working with you. You really know how to listen to people and you offer support in such a cheerful and optimistic way. Even when things get challenging, you respond that problems might only be temporary and that a solution is not too far away. Of course, your soccer idea for Chris was the all-time best! I really liked how you executed – especially in those all important first few weeks, when great ideas can sometimes go off the rails because not all the details are thought through. Given this foundation, I think the most important part of this success story was your trust – knowing that community would come through for Chris. It must feel good to know that this experience will continue for Chris in the future! Best of luck with your new ventures in Australia! We know that your spirit and talents will continue to make a positive difference for people!”

– Mark McCormick, friend and roommate of Chris Jones (supported member/client)

“Thanks for everything, you were always there for me when I needed someone to talk to. You were always easy to talk to and a great listener.”

– Amanda Manuel, supported member/client

“Working with George was an amazing experience. He was very receptive to the needs of the people he supported and was always advocating for a better quality of life for them. His approach was rooted in empathy and understanding which made working with him and absolute pleasure. It was quite evident that individuals he supported felt a strong sense of rapport with him. I have every bit of confidence that George will continue this great work with others in the community.”

– Aisha Stambouli, Clinical Coordinator, Solutions