News & Events

Building Belonging…On the Table

A Reflection on KW Habilitation’s “On the Table” Discussion

Earlier in June, KW Habilitation hosted an “On the Table” discussion, an initiative designed to foster meaningful conversations about community and social infrastructure. On the Table is an event organized by Waterloo Region Community Foundation (WRCF) that was created to encourage others to come together to talk over some food to talk about what matters most to them. Conversations are then reported back to WRCF where they will provide a report of the great community conversations and connections that were made.  

Understanding Social Infrastructure

At its core, social infrastructure is “the system of organizations, spaces, and experiences that enable people to connect with each other. It builds the bridges necessary to foster trust and civic participation, creating a sense of belonging and well-being. This system is pivotal in enabling sustainable, widespread community development.” WRCF emphasizes the significance of these connections in strengthening community bonds and enhancing the quality of life for everyone.

The “On the Table” Discussion: Building Belonging

Our recent gathering focused on “building belonging” within our community. We brought together Developmental Services (DS) agencies, particularly those involved in direct work in community participation, to discuss ongoing support efforts post-COVID. The goal was to explore how we could collaborate more effectively, identify gaps in support, and find ways to fill these gaps without duplicating services.  This discussion brought together approximately 15 people from two different organizations: KW Habilitation and Extend-A-Family.

One of the key aspects of this meeting was learning more about each other’s work. For instance, the Extend-A-Family team shared insights about their Seed Program, which supports extended trips using Passport funding—a resource that brings joy and enriching experiences to those who participate. More about the Seed Program can be found here.

KW Habilitation continues to pursue fully individualized, person directed and community-based services through Out and About Waterloo Region (OAAWR). We continue to receive new DSO referrals regularly and our Local Community Connectors are working at a grassroots level to learn about and connect with all the amazing people and places that exist in our neighborhoods. Connections and collaborations are happening on the frontline and leadership levels to strengthen, create and align our services to better serve the people that we work for and their families. KW Habilitation continues to embrace the Journey to Belonging and the philosophy behind it, as we work to empower and excite our community to become a place where everyone belongs and participates in a way that is meaningful for them.  


Main Takeaways and Ways to take Action

Several important takeaways emerged from the discussion:

  1. Unified Goals: It was clear that all attendees are working towards a common goal—enhancing community participation and support for people with developmental disabilities in our community.
  2. Similar Efforts: We recognized that both KW Habilitation and Extend-A-Family are engaged in similar initiatives, underscoring the potential for collaboration.
  3. Frontline Connections: It was valuable for frontline staff, who are often the direct service providers, to connect and share their experiences. These discussions can support effective collaboration and service coordination.

Moving forward, we also identified several actionable steps:

  1. Future Meetups: Plan another meetup and extend the invitation to other agencies. These gatherings should not necessarily be formal work or community practice meetings but opportunities to build relationships.
  2. Community Engagement: Plan activities that give back to the community. By doing so together, we can foster social connections that lay the groundwork for broader community impact.
  3. Informal Supports: KW Habilitation has created a community calendar and invited DS serving agencies from across the Region to contribute to activities, while it is still in it’s pilot stage, there are activities that people can connect to offered by our organizations and other community partners. If we’re going to build belonging, people need to know about the different things they can do..


The “On the Table” discussion hosted by KW Habilitation was a step forward in building a more connected and supportive community for people with developmental disabilities. By leveraging the strengths of each organization and working collaboratively, we can fill gaps in support and enhance the quality of life for those we serve. As we plan future initiatives and meetups, the focus remains on building belonging and fostering sustainable community development.

For more information about the “On the Table” initiative by WRCF, you can visit their website here.

To connect with KW Habilitation about our next informal meet up, please email us at [email protected]