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Niagara Children’s Centre targets $350,000 goal in latest fundraiser

May 01, 2024

Dad and Mom with their two children

Niagara Children’s Centre targets $350,000 goal in latest fundraiser

The Help Kids Shine campaign aims to expand therapy and support for children and youth

St. Catharines, ON – Andrew De Caire's typical mornings consist of watching Sesame Street, playing outside, or reciting his favorite books. Today, however, he was capturing the hearts of the local community.

The two-year-old is as an Ambassador for Niagara Children’s Centre’s annual Help Kids Shine fundraiser, which kicked off on Wednesday, May 1 at the Stone Mill In in St. Catharines. His mother, Courtney, delivered a personal message of hope during the event as she shared Andrew’s inspiring story with more than one hundred people in attendance.

Andrew’s story underscores the impact of early intervention and community support. Despite facing challenges associated with a brain injury and hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy affecting one side of his body, Andrew exudes curiosity, resilience, and an insatiable love for life.

“Before connecting with the Centre, we were overwhelmed with the unknown. We were feeling very isolated and were unsure how to navigate this new journey that we were on,” said De Caire. “Not only were we new parents, we were new parents with a child who had significant health concerns.”

The De Caire family found guidance through Niagara Children’s Centre, where Andrew received his first physiotherapy session at just two months old. Today, he thrives under the care of a dedicated team comprising physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and social workers, who empower his growth and development.

The Children’s Centre has become a beacon of hope for the De Caire family, providing not only therapeutic interventions but also a network of understanding and compassion. Through initiatives like the family mentor program, they found comfort in connecting with others facing similar challenges, fostering a sense of belonging and understanding.

“We're most thankful for the unconditional support and guidance from the entire team,” expressed De Caire. “The Children’s Centre has become an extended part of our family, and we're forever grateful for their compassion during what was the most difficult time of our lives.”

As Andrew continues to grow and develop, the De Caire family advocates for the crucial role Niagara Children’s Centre plays in the community. They urge others to support the Centre, emphasizing its vital role as a lifeline for families facing similar journeys.

“Niagara Children’s Centre is the best part of our story,” she affirmed. “With the support of donors in our community, children like Andrew are given a chance to access life-changing therapy and supports that help them reach their full potential.”

Wednesday’s launch event boasted a diverse attendance, including political dignitaries, campaign sponsors, community supporters, as well as board members, staff, and volunteers from the organization.

The morning also introduced seven other families who have utilized the Centre's services as campaign Ambassadors. Throughout May, these families will share their stories online and through radio interviews to raise awareness about the therapy and support services provided by the Centre.

The Help Kids Shine campaign relies on community donations throughout May to sustain programs and services for families. Funds raised also facilitate additional programs not covered by provincial government funding, such as recreation therapy, behavioral consultation services, family-to-family support programs, and aquatics.

Oksana Fisher, CEO of Niagara Children’s Centre, highlighted the campaign’s significance, emphasizing its role in extending support to more children and families in Niagara.

“We are grateful for the ongoing support of our partners, including local radio stations Newstalk 610 CKTB, 97.7 HTZ FM, and Move 105.7, as well as businesses throughout the Niagara region,” Fisher remarked.

To help achieve this year’s fundraising milestone, Wormald Masse Keen Lopinski (WMKL) Chartered Accountants LLP and O’Hara Trucking & Excavating have each pledged up to $25,000 as donor-matching sponsors during the campaign.

“Community donations are crucial to sustaining many of our services and planning strategically,” said Fisher. “Thanks to the support of WMKL and the O’Hara’s, every dollar pledged by our community to support the children and families we serve is doubled.”

WMKL expressed its commitment to supporting the local community through initiatives like the Help Kids Shine campaign.

“Having worked with the Children’s Centre previously on some smaller initiatives, our organization was very familiar with the important work they do for children and families across the region,” said Al Jovaisas, Partner at WMKL. “Making this donation to the Children’s Centre felt like a natural extension of our support in the community.”

The Niagara community is encouraged to follow the Centre’s social media channels and tune in for upcoming radio interviews with broadcast partner Bell Media properties such as 610 CKTB to learn more about how they can support the Centre.

Visit HelpKidsShine.ca to learn more about this year’s campaign and to make a donation that will ensure every child in Niagara has the opportunity to realize their full potential.


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 includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language services, augmentative and alternative communication, family services and therapeutic recreation.

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

Photo caption:
Justin and Courtney De Caire with their children Andrew and Connor at Niagara Children's Centre's Help Kids Shine launch event at the Stone Mill Inn in St. Catharines, ON.