Spirits and emotions were high as CONNECT celebrated 20 years in Langley and five years in Lake Country.

Rain in Langley couldn’t keep party-goers away from cozying up in the coach house on September 19, as attendees in Lake Country gathered under tents for shade from the sun.


“This is a momentous event,” John Sherwood, President of CONNECT, told the crowd in Langley. “When we started CONNECT 20 years ago with one house in Langley, we certainly didn’t imagine we would have come so far today.”

John said he was humbled by the dedication of the staff and the strength and perseverance of the residents who make CONNECT the incredible resource it has become.

“I am very humbled by the dedication and contributions you all have made to making our dream the reality that CONNECT is today,” he said. “The story of CONNECT ceased to be my story a long time ago and it became yours.”

Patti Flaherty, CONNECT President and Chief Operating Officer, attended festivities in Lake Country and noted how far CONNECT has come since it started in Langley in 1994.

“We honour our roots and history and know that it’s what started there 20 years ago by John Sherwood and his mother Janet that we wouldn’t be standing here today celebrating in Lake Country,” said Patti.

She also thanked the residents and their families for helping to shape CONNECT’s unique culture.

“You inspire and teach us so very much,” said Patti. “Your focus, dedication and love for living well with some of what is the most challenging of life’s barriers — we do all of this for you — you make us better and we work to help you make your life better. You have our commitment to keep this going.”

The last 20 years have brought many changes since John and his mother had the idea to start CONNECT, and John said he’s looking forward to what the future has in store.

“With any luck we are very hopeful CONNECT will continue to grow and have a positive influence on our communities,” said John. “I am super excited about the possibilities and you should be too.”