Community Of Hearts - Dreaming Big!
Community Of Hearts
October 1, 2012
Between 100 - 1,000
“It’s about Dreaming Big!” With increased waitlists for individuals with intellectual disabilities to attend day programs, summer programs and social events, three devoted individuals decided to create an organization that provides opportunities to individuals with disabilities. Susan Wahlroth, a mother of a 23-year-old man with Downsyndrome, Jason Dudgeon an Educational Assistant and Andrea Kretz a Special Education teacher decided to take the steps towards creating change in the growing community of Guelph, Ontario. We believe those that are able to create change, have a responsibility to create change!
Community of Hearts is a Not-For-Profit Organization created to better service individuals with intellectual disabilities. This organization has three program areas: An Educational Day program, a Social Network and a Cottage Crashers Summer Vacation program.
An Educational Day program opened September 4th, 2012. This is a learning centre for individuals with intellectual disabilities to continue their learning in areas of Functional Language, Functional Math, Cooking, Busing, Volunteering and Life Skills. This program provides meaningful, inclusive community experiences and assists the participant to work towards independence in all aspects of their life.
Our next program is a Social Network, which includes a Facebook page and social events that are hosted throughout the year. The first social event hosted was a Valentines Day Dance. This event was very popular with 100 people in attendance. The second event was a dance/karaoke. Community of Hearts will continue holding various events in September 2012 to provide an opportunity for individuals with disabilities to socially engage with each other.
The final program that Community of Hearts offers is a Cottage Crashers Vacation program. Families, friends and people in our community are donating their cottages to Community of Hearts for a week! Participants with intellectual disabilities sign-up for the weeklong vacation and are provided with an engaging program of canoeing, crafts, swimming, menu planning, hiking, fishing and of course fires to roast marshmallows’. A Canadian cottage experience! Participants also take part in cooking and doing their laundry to continue their education towards becoming more independent! This year was a huge success with two weeklong sessions of Cottage Crashers. In the summer of 2013 we hope to have four sessions.
WHY CHOOSE US
We believe Community of Hearts not-for-profit organization was created in the true spirit of the “Aviva Community Fund!” Creating positive change not only in the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities but also with the Guelph Community. We have a big dream, a dream that anything is possible, an innovative organization that will aid individuals with disabilities to lead fuller lives, providing educational and social opportunities thus enabling individuals to become more active in their community. Most days our goal seems like an overwhelming mountain that needs to be climbed, however throughout the last 8 months with dedication and tenacity we have slowly made our dream become a reality. The money provided through the Aviva fund will provide us equipment for our Cottage Crashers Vacations (i.e. lifejackets, canoes), and will assist our educational day program to purchase technology such as computers with touch screens, ipads, apps such as Proloquo2go and a Smartboard to provide us with the tools to make education and communication more accessible for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. We require a 12 passenger van to transport individuals to the cottages, to transport individuals to and from social events, and to transport individuals to and from the learning centre. This van will effect all aspects of our organization and will break down our biggest barrier to providing opportunities. With this financial support, we will purchase items that will provide opportunities to individuals for many years to come. Aviva, we thank you for the opportunity to create positive change within our community.
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