This summer, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) Director of Member Relations Brent Hutton and Marketing & Communications Director Karen Viveiros had the opportunity to see firsthand some of the incredible services available to children and youth at The Rehabilitation Centre for Children (RCC), located on Notre Dame Avenue in the former Christie’s Biscuits factory.

Special thanks to Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation Fund Development Officer Mia Dunn for the facility tour, which she offered with the goal to help us learn more about their organization as new members of MCC.

RCC provides clinical services and outreach therapy to children with physical and developmental challenges. Together, with children, youth, families and partners, RCC promotes excellence in children’s rehabilitation and developmental pediatrics through innovative clinical service, education, research and technologies.

“As the Foundation, we raise funds to improve the lives of children who access services through the Rehabilitation Centre for Children and SSCY Centre, which means helping children and youth with disabilities live as independently as possible. What mission could be better than that?” says Dunn.

Through the generous support of community members, the Foundation is able to re-invest into the Rehabilitation Centre for Children and to fund life-changing programs, services, equipment, new technology and leading-edge research for children and youth with disabilities. From customized bikes and hundreds of books in their library to assistive communication devices, funds for camps and lifestyle programming like cooking classes and family support services, funds raised defray the cost of equipment, programs and support that make a significant difference in the daily lives of children living with a disability.

“It’s wonderful to see a child’s eyes light up when they receive their new bike, or when they learn to communicate with their family using a specialized iPad. We need to keep doing this great work to provide these types of opportunities. For example, this summer, we are running a camp for children with specialized needs, which requires a staff to camper ratio of 1:1. Thanks to our generous donors, we are able to deliver these types of intensive programs, and there is always a need for more,” commented Dunn.

Both the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation and the Rehabilitation Centre for Children are located in the Specialized Services for Children and Youth (SSCY) building. SSCY is an initiative focused on improving the coordination and integration of services for children and youth with disabilities and their families.

During our SSCY facility tour – which was clearly a very busy day – we were able to watch Blair perform the high-tech fabrication process of customized prosthetics and orthotics (which the team can even design with fun, funky patterns and designs like  family photos, unicorns, plaid, and more!). We also met engineers, Ryan (EIT) and Jason (P.ENG) who are responsible for the design of specialized/customized equipment for safe eating and learning and to assist with mobility. Jason, a five-year employee, told us he pinches himself every morning when he comes to work because he still can’t believe this is where he ended up and how he is able to use his engineering background in such a meaningful way.

 

Dunn says the pandemic was challenging for RCC’s clients, who were forced to pivot to virtual services, adding to their underserved population’s isolation. Like other charitable organizations, the Foundation has felt fundraising pressure due to cancellation of in-person events. However, the organization is very fortunate to have been chosen again this year as one of Tim Horton’s Smile Cookie fund recipients. Business and community support for this campaign will make a tremendous difference to help achieve their goals in 2022.

“Smile Cookie Week is September 19 to 25 and it’s going to be incredible and spirited. We will be taking pre-orders of two-dozen or more cookies, and we will be doing deliveries, which means we can get out to meet our donors and thank them in person for championing our mission. This is a gift for us,” says Dunn. “Plus, Smile Cookies are the perfect way for business leaders to thank employees with a small treat while supporting children living with a disability. Each cookie costs $1, and all proceeds are directed to the chosen charities.”

To place orders for Smile Cookies email [email protected] or call 204-258-6700