Supported for many years by Community Living Toronto, Ruth Kells loved to reminisce about the days that she and her mom visited Niagara Falls for the Festival of Lights.
She would talk at great length about the glittering lights and in 2005, Ruth and a few other friends set out to Niagara Falls to see this annual festival. What started as a one-time trip became an annual event. Since 2005, more than 150 people have made the trip to see the Festival of Lights.
Sadly Ruth passed away in 2010. In 2011, upon hearing that many individuals were not able to make the trip because of increasing costs, Ruth’s brother partnered with the Choices that can Change Lives Fund to cover the cost of transportation, keeping Ruth’s dream alive for another 25 individuals.
This partnership helps keep Ruth’s memory alive and helps others share a love for the Festival of Lights.
Ronel had only one dream, and that was to go to Disney World with the rest of his housemates. Unfortunately, his financial situation sadly made it impossible for him to do this. Not wanting to leave Ronel behind while the rest of his housemates travelled to Florida, the support staff at Ronel’s home rallied together.
After a number of bake sales, raffles and lots of help from friends and family, enough money was raised to cover the cost of Ronel’s accommodation and travel. The only pieces missing were luggage and a small amount of spending money. Through the Choices that can Change Lives Fund, a small grant was provided to help make Ronel’s dream a reality. This, along with a set of donated luggage, and he was all set to go! Ronel had a fabulous trip and his memories will last a lifetime!
This partnership between Community Living Toronto staff, friends, family and the Choices that can Change Lives Fund is a perfect example of how a little money and a lot of persistence can go a long way!
Like many individuals with an intellectual disability, Wayne has had few opportunities in life. A real high point for him has been attending Shadow Lake Camp but due to personal circumstances, he hasn’t been able to attend in several years. Wayne has dreamed of going back and with the help of his support worker, they came up with a plan – Wayne would start a savings plan and apply to the Choices that can Change Lives Fund to help him with the rest of the camp fees.
By the spring of 2011, Wayne had saved $300 and his wish came true! He was granted the remaining funds needed to attend Shadow Lake Camp.
Wayne attended camp for two weeks and had the best time of his life playing games, walking through the trails, bicycling and hanging out with all of his friends. When asked what some of his favourite things were, he mentioned “singing around the campfire at night and paddle boating – lots of paddle boating.” “I had lots of fun!” says Wayne “Thank you for helping me.”
Wayne’s story shows that with a little planning and persistence, individuals with an intellectual disability can become funding partners in making their dreams happen.
Zinaida is all about rock and roll.
When asked what she wants most in the world, she always replies – “I want to see Slash!!”
Zinaida is a big Guns and Roses fan and most of all Slash’s biggest fan. This year, when it was announced that Slash was coming to Toronto, Community Living Toronto staff knew they had to make Zinaida’s dream come true. Several calls were made to Live Nation and after hearing about Zinaida’s dream, tickets were donated and on September 23rd – Zinaida got to go to her very first Slash concert.
Dreams and wishes granted through the Choices that can Change Lives Fund come in all sizes. Zinaida’s support staff helped her get to the event and she was able to purchase a t-shirt, thanks to a small grant from the Choices that can Change Lives Fund.
This dream was made possible through the cost of a t-shirt. It was a night to remember and Zinaida’s memories will last her a lifetime.
Can you imagine never being able to go on vacation or take a week off – just because you need a break?
Pat can. Until recently, she couldn’t remember the last time she had been able to take a break.
Pat is an individual in support at Community Living Toronto. She has no family supports, does not qualify for ODSP or Employment Supports.
To support herself, Pat cleans homes and simply cannot take time off without losing income. She’s self- employed, has no benefits and for her taking time off would lead to so many financial and emotional challenges.
Through the support of the Choices that can Change Lives Fund, Pat was able to take that much needed break. A grant was provided to cover her weekly wages of $250 with a little extra that allowed her to pamper herself and take in a movie and dinner with friends.
“This break relieved a lot of tension and helped clear my thoughts. “ Says Pat “It was nice to be able to dress up and go out. Thank you, this has really helped me.” Refreshed and renewed Pat is now able to take on new challenges.
Alex lives in a Community Living Toronto home and doesn’t see her family that often. This causes her a lot of stress.
She also has limited verbal capacity – she can’t just pick up the phone and call them whenever she wants.
Last year, Alex’s support team came up with a plan that would help alleviate her anxiety. They would seek out ways to purchase Alex an iPad.
Donations were sought and an application was made to the Choices that can Changes Lives Fund for the remaining balance. Alex is now the owner of a brand new iPad.
Now, she communicates regularly with her family using the Face Time application. Other applications have also been added which are helping Alex build on vocabulary, sign language and other communication skills.
Through the generosity of donors and the Choices that can Change Lives Fund, Alex’s world is now open to new possibilities. She is much happier and is learning new ways to express herself.