Kindale began in Armstrong in 1959 as a small school for children with special needs.  The original school was the vision of Lydia Boss, a public health nurse serving Armstrong and Enderby.  She was aware of a number of children in the area with developmental disabilities, including her own son Gary, who had no access to public education.   Lydia presented her ideas to the Armstrong Kinsmen’s club who convinced other members to take up the challenge to make her vision of a special school a reality.  A new society was formed and members promoted the ideas and raised funds.  Volunteers from the Armstrong Kinsmen Club and the Enderby Lion’s Club, as well as many other people in the community, worked evenings and weekends until the school was completed – in record time.  This spirit of ‘community building’ is an integral part of Kindale’s history and this spirit continues in our motto, mandate and philosophy to the present day.


Rona LeDuc and students at the Kindale School.        Lydia Boss with husband, Rawleigh, and son, Gary.

From those humble beginnings as a small school more than 50 years ago, Kindale has now grown into a large Community Living Agency with fulltime, part-time, and casual staff, contractors, and volunteers serving adults and youth with disabilities and their families in most communities throughout the North Okanagan and Columbia Shuswap.  The services we offer are determined by the needs, goals, and dreams of the people we serve, identified through their person centred plans.  Our day program centres are no longer sheltered workshops, but rather they are meeting places from which persons served participate in community activities, just like everyone else.  Employment, too, is integrated and consists of both paid and volunteer opportunities.  As we continue to learn from the people we serve, we look forward to further innovation and growth in the decades to come.

 For a fascinating look at Kindale’s history read ‘You Are My Friend’ by local author Shirley Campbell.  The book is based on extensive interviews with current and past Kindale staff and persons served as well as information and pictures garnered from newspaper archives.  The cover features an original painting by Gary Boss – one of the first students and still with Kindale.  For more information about this book and how to purchase it click here.


2010 - 2019

2019 - Kindale celebrates 60 years in operation.

2017 - Kindale began offering services to youth transitioning to adult services.

2017 - Kindale achieved the 4th three year CARF accreditation of services.

2016 - Kindale opened a third Thrift Store (in Vernon); expanded program centre in Salmon Arm.

– Kindale opened a second Thrift Store (in Salmon Arm); opened Lakeview (Coldstream) and 35th Avenue (Vernon) homes.

2013 – Benita (“B”) Elliott was named Executive Director after holding the position of Controller for many years.

2013 - Kindale opened an office and program centre in Salmon Arm.

2013 - Kindale opened Mountain View House, a residence for four senior women, in Coldstream.

2013 - Seaton Centre celebrated their 20th Anniversary.

2013 - The Kindale Thrift Store in Armstrong celebrated their 10th Anniversary.

2013 - Kindale achieved the 3rd three year CARF accreditation of sevices.

2012 – Kindale obtained a contract to deliver Work BC employment services to people with the highest barriers to employment, including those with developmental disabilities.

2012 - Kindale partnered with RDNO, Okanagan College, SPCNO, BC Schizophrenia Society, and Canadian Mental Health Association to develop a collective farm and community gardens, named Patchwork Farms.

2011 – Kindale, with partners PLAN Okanagan and lawyer Geoff White, organized workshops for individuals and families with funding from the Law Foundation of BC.  The workshops included topics such as: Wills, Trusts, and Estates; RDSP; Home is Where the Heart is; Safe and Secure.  They were held in Vernon, Salmon Arm and Revelstoke.

2010 - The number of individuals served in residential homes and community living options reached 130.

2010 - The number of permanent staff grew to more than 100 - with an additional 30 casual staff providing relief.

2010 - Kindale and partners developed Under One Roof, an affordable housing initiative, in Vernon.  Kindale retained ownership of three of the six units.

2010 - Kindale went through its second CARF certification and earned accreditation for three years.

2009 - 2000

2009 - Independent Generation moved back to the Smith Drive mall in Armstrong (name changed from Training & Learning Centre).

2009 - Olde Towne Thrift Store moved to the Bechtold Centre (Armstrong).

2009 - Kindale celebrated our 50th Anniversary with a full day of entertainment and events.  Many of the original people involved in starting the school – including Rona Leduc, Jean Lockart and Aage Grann attended.  Aage, the first President, who was then in his 80’s, traveled all the way from Denmark to be present.

2009 - A book celebrating Kindale’s History entitled ‘You Are My Friend’ by author Shirley Campbell was released.  It featured, on the front cover, a painting by Gary Boss – one of Kindale’s original students 50 years before.

2009 - Kindale participated in the SPCNO Homelessness Initiative in Vernon.

2008 - Mainstreet Connections opened in downtown Vernon (name changed from New Beginnings).

2008 - A Family Resource Worker was hired with a focus to provide services to senior parents and their adult children.

2008 - The Board, Management and staff at Kindale began a comprehensive strategic planning process designed to identify key priorities and strategies for the future.

2008 - Kindale assisted Haugen Community Healthcare Society to open a healthcare centre in Armstrong.

2008 - Kindale joined Partners in Action (Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan - SPCNO).

2007 - With grants from the Vancouver Foundation, United Way and the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan, Kindale begin offering Customized Employment Services.  Twelve individuals were placed in “real work for real pay”.

2007 - Kindale became CARF Certified.

2006 – Self Advocates initiated a survey on public transit issues.

2005 – Community Living focus shifted to Person Centred Planning.

2004 - Warner House celebrated their 20th Anniversary.

2003 - Suncountry Cablevision donated their building located beside Kindale’s Administrative building in Armstrong.

2003 - Kindale’s Old Towne Thrift Shoppe opened in November in the Suncountry Cable building.

2002 - BC Government closed all Community Law Offices in BC.

2000 - New Beginnings opens in Vernon with a focus on services to more independent young people in a non-traditional setting.

2000 - A Public Relations Office opens March 1st in downtown Vernon.

2000 - Middleton House, a residence for people with more complex disabilities requiring a greater level of care, opened in Coldstream on April 14th.
2000 - VanKleeck House celebrated their 10th Anniversary.

1999 – 1990

1999 - Ellison House closed.

1999 - Kindale celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a large gala ceremony.

1999 - Rosewood Duplex, Armstrong, opened with 4 residents.

1998 - The number of individuals serviced reached 100.

1998 - The number of Management and Staff grew to 95.

1998 - TLC Store moved to downtown location in Armstrong.

1997 - In conjunction with the Law Courts Education Society of BC, Kindale opened and operated the North Okanagan Community Law Offices.

1995 - Ellison House was opened in Vernon to provide a home and services for young men who were experiencing significant social challenges as a result of their disabilities.

1995 - An innovative guide to legal services was created called ‘Legalpix’ (joint project between Kindale and the Law Courts of BC). It utilizes ‘plain language’ and plenty of simple diagrams and pictures to make it user friendly.  It was also released as an interactive CD.

1994 -
Kindale took over management of Varsity House – a residential home in Vernon.

1993 - Seaton Centre opened in Vernon on property donated by the Kinsmen Club.  The Grand Opening is held on June 11, 1993.

1991 - The Learning Centre (TLC) opened in the Armstrong Mall.

1990 - VanKleeck House opened in Armstrong.


1980 - 1989

1988 - Bechtold Centre opened on Patterson Avenue in Armstrong.

1985 - Henry Sundquist replaced Llowyn Osachuk as Executive Director and  held this position until 2013.

1984 - Warner House, the first residential home, opened in Armstrong, to accommodate people who had previously lived in large institutions such as Woodlands in New Westminster and Tranquille in Kamloops

1983 - The number of individuals served reached 70.


1970 - 1979

1978 - Executive Director: Llowyn Osachuk. She introduced a new philosophy called, ‘Normalization’ to the Association and into the lives of the individuals served.  The focus here was to develop practical life skills that would allow individuals to lead more normal lives in their communities. 

1977 - Brent Nolan replaced Mr. Drebert as Executive Director.

1975 - An expanded Kindale Workshop was opened on Patterson Avenue to provide day programs and activities for adults.

1975 - The first Executive Director was Mr. Drebert.

1974 - Kindale School closed as the children had grown up.

1965 - Kindale Workshop was opened in a house below Armstrong Park.

1963 - Jean Lockhart replaced Rona Leduc as teacher after Rona moved.

1961 - A new teacher, Mrs. Simard was hired to assist Rona Leduc.

1959 - The first teacher was Rona Leduc.  

1959 - The Grand Opening of the Kindale School was on December 5th.