I Am...
<  Back

A parent of child aged 0-4 ?

Here's some links that might help!

make a referralLearn about services available
<  Back

A parent of a school aged child (4-21)?

Here's some links that might help!

Learn about services availablemake a referral
<  Back

A job seeker?

Here's some links that might help!

see available positionslearn more about jobs at the Centre
<  Back

Wanting to make a donation?

Here's some links that might help!

Learn more about what your donation supportsDonate Now



Longtime therapist honoured at Niagara Children’s Centre

April 05, 2024

Two women and young boy in a treatment room

Longtime therapist honoured at Niagara Children’s Centre

A new program celebrates staff for dedication to their role

St. Catharines, ON – Kate Wiley feels grateful to Pam O’Connor. After years of treatment, the Occupational Therapist helped Wiley’s son in ways that she felt would never be possible.

“Aaron loves baseball, but the ability to wear a glove on his non-dominant hand was impeding his ability to catch and throw a ball in the flowing manner required for the sport,” said Wiley. “Pam met this struggle as a personal challenge to herself to develop an adaptive way for Aaron to play."

O’Connor would take time over several weeks to adapt his baseball glove, trying different materials and methods, sometimes on her own time at home, to modify the glove in a way that would allow Aaron to wear it on his left hand.

“I would have given up, but Pam never would have. This is just the way she is, and the way she cares for the children in her care,” said Wiley.

Years later, she admits that she often wondered how she could have shown more appreciation to O’Connor and let her know just how much she meant to her family.

“When I heard about the ‘Thank a Therapist’ program she was the first person to come to mind as someone who deserves recognition,” said Wiley. “Pam goes above and beyond, she cares as if you are her family, and she loves the children she works with wholeheartedly. She will never fully understand how much she has changed lives, but I hope that this small amount of recognition helps her to know how special she is.”

Niagara Children's Centre recently announced its latest initiative, which aims at celebrating the outstanding commitment and compassion of its therapists.

“At the heart of every session at Niagara Children's Centre lies the dedication of our therapists and staff, who go above and beyond to support children and their families,” said Marla Smith, Director of Development, Niagara Children’s Centre. “The 'Thank a Therapist' program provides an avenue for the community to express their gratitude and appreciation for these exceptional individuals.”

Through this program, members of the community are encouraged to nominate any employee at Niagara Children's Centre who has demonstrated exemplary dedication and care in their work. Nominees will be honored with one of four exclusive collectible pins, symbolizing a deep appreciation for their contributions.

"Our therapists and staff play a pivotal role in transforming the lives of children and families in our community," said Smith. "I’m so proud that we’ve found a way of recognizing and celebrating their remarkable efforts while making a positive impact on the lives of those we serve."

O’Connor was honoured to receive the recognition, which symbolizes the passion the Children’s Centre therapists exude when working with children and their families.

“It has been an absolute pleasure to support Aaron and help him surpass expectations,” said O’Connor. “Over the years I have been so fortunate to work with and learn from families, like the Wiley’s, which has definitely helped me to be a better clinician and genuinely contributed to keeping meaningful perspective in my daily life,” 

She added that while families often share how much they value the relationships that are developed through the Centre’s family-centred care approach, the Thank a Therapist program provides the perfect platform for families to express their appreciation and celebrate the incredible work of our clinicians.

“Sometimes we lose sight of the little things that we do to help our families and it’s those little things that add up and make a difference in their lives and ours,” said O’Connor. “I think it is important that we recognize and honour these moments.”

While there is no minimum donation, contributions made through the program will directly support Niagara Children's Centre in its mission to enhance therapy services, acquire essential equipment, and develop new programs and services to better serve the needs of children and families.

“Being given this opportunity to recognize the work Pam did for Aaron and our family, years later that still has a lasting impact, is important,” said Wiley. “I want her to know that every day we consider ourselves lucky to have worked with her. If she is having a bad day sometimes, I want her to remember that there is a reason that she does this job and that she is truly making a difference for so many children and families.”

To honour a therapist in your life or to learn more about Niagara Children's Centre's services, visit their website or contact Marla Smith at Marla.Smith@niagarachildrenscentre.com.


About Niagara Children’s Centre:
Niagara Children’s Centre provided rehabilitation and support services to more than 5,300 children and youth last year across the Niagara Region with physical, developmental and communicative delays. The range of services include: physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language services, augmentative and alternative communication, family services and therapeutic recreation.

For further information contact:
Michael Morrison, Marketing & Communications Officer
Phone: 905-688-1890 ext 260
Email: michael.morrison@niagarachildrenscentre.com

Photo caption:
Kate Wiley and her son Aaron present Pam O’Connor with a thank you card and commemorative pin for her years of treatment as their Occupational Therapist.