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Canada Post makes a special delivery for youth with disabilities

Canada Post has put its stamp on helping youth with disabilities by giving a generous gift to The Independence Program (TIP) at Holland Bloorview.

The Canada Post Community Foundation supports child-focused initiatives and programs across the country and on September 26 presented Holland Bloorview Foundation with a cheque for $15,293 that will be used to pay for accommodation costs for the 2017 TIP program.

“Our vision is that kids live in a happy, healthy community, so we align with organizations that believe in that,” said Lise Côté, Canada Post’s General Manager for Consumer and Small Business Marketing. “We want to make a positive impact on children in Canada.”

TIP addresses the challenge of living independently

That positive impact will be felt next summer when TIP invites a group of young adults with physical or cognitive disabilities to live away from home by staying at a university or college residence for three weeks.

TIP participants are between the ages of 17 and 21. Some of the participants plan on attending university or college while living on campus, while others plan on working and living independently in the near future.

The three-week program is filled with workshops on how to buy groceries and prepare meals; how to manage money; how to safely take public transit; how to direct an attendant for care needs; and other independent living and social skills. 

Like mother, like daughter

Lise’s connection to Holland Bloorview doesn’t stop there.

Her 18-year-old daughter, Lauren, volunteered with Holland Bloorview this past spring helping youth with disabilities develop friendship skills through the hospital’s Fun with Friends program.

(Participants learn how to make new friends, participate in activities that practice conversation skills, teamwork, taking turns and cooperation.)

“I helped the program directors to set up and run games and activities with the clients,” said Lauren who is studying neuroscience at Bishops University in Quebec.

“On the first day the clients wrote down a goal they wanted to complete by the end of the week, such as making a new friend,” she continued.

“The program directors did a great job of helping the clients accomplish this through their thoughtful activities and exercises and their general support. I believe all of the goals were completed successfully. The program was effective and we all had a blast throughout the week, too.”

Thanks to generous organizations like Canada Post and big-hearted people like Lise and Lauren, youth with disabilities are making friends and making plans for the future.