13th JT Award Recipient: Cathy Proll
On Tuesday, November 14, at CHKC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), Cathy Proll was awarded the 13th Annual JT Award.
The “JT Award” recognizes significant contributions to the Canadian deafblind community by a deserving individual, consumer group or service provider who has demonstrated excellence in the categories of awareness to the disability of deafblindness, expansion to available services and programs and involvement of individuals who are deafblind at all levels.
Below are the remarks from Jennifer Robbins, Executive Director, CHKC, about Cathy’s service to the deafblind community.
Sensity CEO, Cathy Proll demonstrates true leadership in the field of deafblindness in Ontario, Canada and internationally. Her excellence in bringing awareness to the disability of deafblindness has been instrumental in the expansion to available services and programs.
Cathy Proll began working with children who were congenitally deafblind in the provincial school in Ontario, first in the school setting and later as a resource consultant supporting children and families across the province of Ontario.
Cathy left the education sector and began her work with adults that were transitioning from the school setting to adult services. Through her work with the Canadian Deafblind and Rubella Association Ontario Chapter, Cathy was a practitioner and an advisor in the development and provision of Intervenor services and service agencies in Ontario.
Cathy led the development of the resource centre in 2012 allowing for the expansion of services to serve deafblind individuals. The centre located in Paris, Ontario is the first of its kind, features a multi-purpose room complete with a kitchen, a sensory or “Snoezelen” room, a two-bedroom respite area, four accessible bathrooms, a music room, copy room and much more.
In every role, Cathy demonstrates unwavering determination and commitment for people who are deafblind. With the resource centre established, it was time for a new project. In 2016, the apartment complex adjacent to the resource centre was developed. The complex is now home to 20 residents, with four three-bedroom units, two two-bedroom units and two one-bedroom units. It also includes an upstairs guest apartment where families are welcome to stay. The apartments were designed in collaboration with Vicano Construction Ltd. to ensure it was completely accessible with features to make getting around easier for individuals. Tiles, fixtures, and paint colours were all chosen to provide a high level of contrast for those who have some limited vision. There are also varied textures on titles and other surfaces to help them navigate.
Also included in the ground development is a spacious sensory garden that includes plants specially selected for their scent and colours, a water feature, a musical bench, and gazebo.
Cathy has distinguished herself the field of deafbindness internationally. As a board member for Deafblind International (DbI) for the past 12 years. In addition, Sensity is the current Secretariat for DbI. She also is Chairs the Deafblind Coalition of Ontario which was established in 2013 as a formal group to identify and address the needs of the sector in Ontario. Cathy acts as the current Chair.
In closing, Cathy continues to leave behind an indelible legacy in the field of deafblindness and is a worthy nominee for the JT Award.