Laurie McColl House
At Semiahmoo House Society we try to live the Person-Centered Thinking philosophy. We spend time finding out what is important to and for the people we support and work hard to support them in achieving what they want out of life. Here is a recent example of this philosophy in practice.

On November 1st, we completed the closure of one of our staffed residences. This was a closure that was done because the people living in the group home told us they no longer wanted to live in a residence with each other and that they wanted to live in the community with people they chose to live with in a roommate or family setting. Nolda Ware, our Manager of Person-Centered Practices, facilitated a great staff team during the transition. After the final resident, Dan, moved out, she sent this email about the move to the staff she worked with. I was cc’d and was really moved by the message—it speaks to what is best about the people I have the privilege to work with. With Nolda’s and Dan’s permission, here is her message to the staff:

Hi Everyone – Alan Watts said “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” I recently crossed paths with this quote and it made me think of the team of people who are in Dan’s life.

With November 1 approaching quickly…it’s time to let you all know what an honour it has been to work with people who really, really get it. That our jobs are about helping people to get the life they want—the life they choose for themselves.

But it’s also not really just about Dan “moving on up” (as George Jefferson or John Smith would say!) It’s about the end of an era – Laurie McColl House.

While going through 25 years of photo albums recently, I had a profound thought that I had never stopped to think about til now…almost all the people we had the privilege of knowing over the years who came to live at Laurie McColl House and 153 A Street came to a time in their lives when they wanted a different life. Lives they chose for themselves and chose to explore. And through those years and the various staff and team combinations…people listened, honoured them and acted. And it came naturally—it was just the way things were done.

Moving through and over barriers like risk, worry, fear, change – never seemed to get in the way. Because the person was always at the center.

For me I am thankful for the ups, the downs, the learning, the growth, the stories and the memories. And of course, the people! Thank you all for your dedication and your enthusiasm…and for working through these last steps with keeping Dan at the forefront.

I wish you all the best – it’s been a blast!


Thank you, Nolda, and the staff of the house on 153 Street, for living the Person-Centered Thinking philosophy.

By Doug Tennant, Executive Director, Semiahmoo House Society

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