My name is Christie and I am of the lucky few to be a part of the Special Needs Community. We found out very early in our pregnancy that Lennox had Down syndrome. We were scared, uncertin of the future and left feeling very alone. Feelings that no parents should ever have to feel. We received very little resources or information and the information we did receive was not very encouraging. We quickly learned that society had already determined what Lennox would be incapable of...which, fast forward to today...I am happy to say that our "society" was dead wrong! Lennox may have Down syndrome but that doesn't define who he is or what he will become.
Over the past 3.5 years I have become more aware that we ALL are born with unique talents and abilities and in order to be happy in life, we must embrace what makes us different. As a special needs parent, I want what every parent wants for their child...a full and happy life. The value of a person is NOT based on a medical diagnosis, or disabilty(I prefer different ability) And every parent should have the resources and information available to them and never made to feel that their baby or child is incapable. All children can accomplish AMAZING things when given the proper support, love and encouragement. Let's celebrate what our children CAN do and grow from there...
ElmTree isn't just for Lennox and his friends with Down syndrome. The ElmTree Ability Centre will be a unique “drop-in” multi sensory environment that offers individuals with special needs AND their families support and guidance to ensure quality of life and success from infancy to adulthood. A safe, “on their own terms” place for members to come to connect with other parents, get more information on available resources for their child(ren) and form a meaningful support system. Because there is such a huge disconnect between resources within our community, our vision is ElmTree will "bridge the gaps” and supplement the pre-existing services to help create a fulfilled and productive future for all.
Our mission is to provide a solid foundation for individuals with Special Needs and their families, where we focus on abilities from infancy through adulthood, to help them become everything they were born to be, while promoting global acceptance. It will be a fun and engaging space for our loved ones to discover and pursue their passions through extracurricular activities and programs created to enhance development, self confidence and peer relationships(art therapy, music therapy, open gym and movement classes). Teens and young adults will have opportunities to volunteer/work in our local coffee shop with support, fostering independence and fulfilling a sense of purpose.
Our goal is to ensure a safe and nurturing gathering place for members and their families to come together, learn together(and from each other) and grow together to EMBRACE our differences, INSPIRE others to become all they are born to be and EMPOWER ourselves and each other as individuals.
I have found the PERFECT space for our Ability Centre, complete with a coffeeshop that will employ/volunteer individuals with different abilities, an art studio, a small gym, an auditorium as well as many other resources. It is MORE than I could ever imagine and it is AVAILABLE September!! I never expected it to happen this quickly! The incorporation of The ElmTree is in progress and should be registered late summer 2017, therefore I am unable to approach companies, other businesses and firms for support...so this is where you come in. I am looking to secure the first 6 months rent so I can open the doors to The ElmTree Ability Centre this fall. A dream come true! Help us help our kids DEFY ALL LIMITS.
For more information please visit www.the-elmtree.com
- Kristy Gerber
- Erin Graham
- Syreeta Breen
- Kerri King
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