An update for friends and partners of ErinoakKids
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Community Newsletter | Fall 2018

An update from Bridget Fewtrell, President & CEO

With fall nearly upon us, we at ErinoakKids are also celebrating a new beginning. Only a few months ago we moved into three new facilities, where children and youth can maximize their abilities in a space tailored to meet their needs under one roof.

Now, unlike ever before, we can truly provide the services and supports our young clients need and deserve in an integrated setting.  And now, more than ever before, ErinoakKids is poised to set even higher standards of excellence in the provision of service and supports to children and youth with disabilities and special needs in Ontario. The children we serve have access to a broad range of therapy, medical, autism and support services that ErinoakKids provides, which will help advance their learning, promote participation and independence, and help them meet their goals.

Our amazing staff, many of whom were involved in the planning and design of our therapy, work and amenity spaces, are thrilled to be able to work collaboratively and in a more integrated setting now that we have consolidated our 750 staff into three sites from 11. The efforts, commitment and dedication everyone demonstrated during this lengthy but rewarding experience was exceptional. 

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our generous donors who helped make our vision come to fruition by raising $13 million to outfit our three new spaces with much-needed therapy equipment. This includes our new Regional Respite Centre in Brampton where we have a fully-equipped 26-bed Respite facility which offers much-needed support to families. 

With our move now a memory, we at ErinoakKids are looking toward the horizon. We’ve engaged families, staff and community partners to help inform a strategic planning process now underway at ErinoakKids that will guide our next three and a half years of operations. Their input and feedback will help optimize outcomes for children and youth with disabilities and special needs today and into the future. 

Lastly, I would like to personally welcome and congratulate our new Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, the Hon. Lisa MacLeod, as well as our local MPPs who were elected in the spring: 
  • Jane McKenna (Burlington)
  • Effie Triantafilopoulos (Oakville North—Burlington)
  • Parm Gill (Milton)
  • Stephen Crawford (Oakville)
  • Rudy Cuzzetto (Mississauga—Lakeshore)
  • Sheref Sabawy (Mississauga—Erin Mills)
  • Natalia Kusendova (Mississauga Centre)
  • Nina Tangri (Mississauga—Streetsville)
  • Deepak Anand (Mississauga—Malton)
  • Kaleed Rasheed (Mississauga East—Cooksville)
  • Hon. Ted Arnott (Wellington—Halton Hills)
  • Amarjot Sandhu (Brampton West)
  • Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria (Brampton South)
  • Sara Singh (Brampton Centre)
  • Kevin Yarde (Brampton North)
  • Gurratan Singh (Brampton East)
We look forward to working with you to support the children and youth that we serve.

Bridget Fewtrell

ErinoakKids celebrates the official opening of three new locations

The WB Family Foundation Clinical Site, our Mississauga location, is named after a very generous ErinoakKids donor, the Beamish family. Pictured here are Bob, Marilyn and daughter Heather (sons Brian and Dave not pictured) together with ErinoakKids Board Chair James Sutherland (second from left) and ErinoakKids President and CEO Bridget Fewtrell (second from right).
In the spring, ErinoakKids hosted three separate ceremonies to officially open our new sites in Halton, Mississauga and Brampton. We were honoured to have more than 400 invited guests join us at these celebrations, including government officials, dignitaries, clients, and families.

“We are eternally grateful to ErinoakKids and the marvelous staff that work here," said ErinoakKids parent Allison Brunn at the grand opening in Halton. "My son Gavin is always excited to come to this beautiful facility. Every day, kids like Gavin are here working hard to take small steps forward in achieving their goals."

The ceremonies marked the end of a 10-year journey of advocating, planning, building and finally opening new buildings. Today, our clients are receiving the services they need in a single location while benefitting from new spaces, and expanded services and programs designed specifically to support their learning and development. 

Thank you to everyone who attended our grand openings and supported us throughout the entire project! We are truly grateful for your support.

The 2017/18 Annual Report is here!

It's been an exciting year at ErinoakKids! Not only did we open our three new facilities, we also launched the Ontario Autism Program and wrapped up our In My Dreams fundraising campaign. Read all about it here.

New ErinoakKids facilities provide more opportunities for client growth and improvement

When Gavin was three years-old and receiving speech therapy services alongside his twin brother Tyler at ErinokakKids, mom Allison Brunn began noticing a difference in speech progress between both her sons. 

“Over time, we saw a lot of positive changes in Tyler's speech development,” says Brunn. “But Gavin did not excel quickly like his brother.” 

Allison and her husband Kelly began to realize that some of Gavin’s behaviors, such as lack of eye contact, repetitive movements, an inability to allow anything to touch his head, and a fascination with spinning wheels, were simply more than a developmental delay. Read the full story >>

Did you know? ErinoakKids is the largest provider of autism services in Ontario, serving 23% of children with autism in the province.

Starr’s on the Credit raises $150,000 for ErinoakKids 

On June 21, Mississauga City Councillor Ron Starr hosted his 14th annual Starr’s on the Credit fundraiser, raising $150,000 for ErinoakKids. More than 250 community leaders throughout the region attended the event, which included food from local restaurants and stores such as Longo's, live entertainment, and a silent and live auction.

Premier Doug Ford also dropped in to support the event and participate in the cheque presentation alongside ErinoakKids Board Chair James Sutherland, ErinoakKids President and CEO Bridget Fewtrell, former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, and Councillor Starr.

This was the third year in a row that Councillor Starr designated ErinoakKids as his charity of choice. More than $425,000 has been raised to date over the three year period. Our sincere thanks to Councillor Starr and everyone who helped make this event a remarkable success once again!

New program offers parents of young children a chance to connect and work towards goals

Earlier this year, ErinoakKids implemented Baby Club to families of clients who are under the age of two, after hearing from families looking for an opportunity to connect with each other while working on therapeutic goals in a safe environment. 

This unique program involves physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, social work and service navigation. The group’s program aims to improve gross motor, fine motor, communication and social skills using play-based activities such as circle time, crafts and toys. At the same time, parents and caregivers can connect with each other and attend information sessions relevant to parenting a child with disabilities.

We are also excited to partner with researchers from the University Of Toronto’s Department Of Physical Therapy. Through interviews with parent volunteers from the program, researchers are exploring the impact of Baby Club as well as parent perceptions around social opportunities, learning techniques for holding and handling fragile infants, connections with other parents and more.  This study will build upon the body of knowledge regarding group therapy experiences and parents’ perception of care, and help to shape therapy service to better meet child and parent needs.  Baby Club is currently offered at all three ErinoakKids sites. 
Province's largest Regional Respite Centre opens at ErinoakKids
Located directly beside The Giampaolo Foundation Clinical Site in Brampton, ErinoakKids' 26-bed Regional Respite Centre is the largest of its kind in Ontario. It is a home away from home for children who are medically fragile/technology dependent, have complex care requirements or have significant behavioural concerns/autism. Specially trained staff provide nurturing care for children during daytime and overnight stays as well as summer camps, providing much-needed caregiving relief for parents.

“The 26 bed respite facility will provide meaningful support and programming for children and youth with complex care needs,” says ErinoakKids Board Chair James Sutherland. “It will give their families who have 24/7 caregiving requirements, the chance to unwind and spend precious quality time with each other as well as other family members.”

Working with our partners at the Mississauga Halton LHIN, ErinoakKids is currently running a respite pilot project for medically-fragile/technology-dependent (MFTD) clients who have transitioned into the adult system. This service is not currently available and is much-needed. 

"When my daughter Devon aged out [of children's services], we no longer had ErinoakKids respite as an option," says Carolyn Bell, ErinoakKids' Board Director. "It resulted in me experiencing caregiver burn out and our only choice was to place Devon in a long-term care facility with senior citizens. This was one of the hardest times of my life. I am so thankful for the respite pilot project for clients who have transitioned into the adult system. My hope and dream is it will continue."

To realize the full vision of respite support for families, we are looking for partnerships and funding support. If you are interested in partnering with us, please contact
Pop star Alessia Cara unveils new smilezones at our Brampton site 
Left to right, Smilezone Foundation's co-chair and founder, Scott Bachly; Smilezone Foundation Ambassador, Alessia Cara; and ErinoakKids President and CEO, Bridget Fewtrell, pictured in the music-themed Alessia Cara-inspired Youth Zone.
On August 28, international pop star and Smilezone Foundation Ambassador Alessia Cara helped unveil new smilezones at a ceremony at our Brampton site hosted by ErinoakKids on behalf of the Smilezone Foundation. The smilezones include a music-themed Alessia Cara-inspired Youth Zone, outdoor-themed murals along both of the Respite wings, and vibrant Canadiana inspired murals above Reception. These murals co-ordinate with the site’s fox theme and colours, and provide fun, educational and comforting spaces for clients visiting our sites for care. The Smilezone Foundation has also provided an interactive floor projector that responds to movement and can be used to stimulate language, and physical and mental development.

Also in attendance at the event were special guests the Hon. Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, MPP for Brampton West Amarjot Sandhu — who toured the Brampton site and were extremely impressed by the amount of client activity and staff dedication — Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey, and Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson.
View the webcast of the ceremony here.
Copyright © 2018 ErinoakKids, All rights reserved.

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