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



A toast to community: Brunch caps largest fundraiser in Children’s Centre history

May 31, 2024

People display $401,610 while on stage

A toast to community: Brunch caps largest fundraiser in Children’s Centre history

Help Kids Shine raises $401,610 to support children and youth in Niagara

St. Catharines, ON – The room at the Stone Mill Inn was filled with the delicious aromas of eggs, bacon, and waffles as Niagara Children’s Centre celebrated a record-breaking achievement.

The celebratory brunch was attended by political dignitaries, campaign sponsors, community supporters, board members, staff, and volunteers. This event marked a significant milestone for the Centre, which annually supports more than 5,300 children and youth in Niagara with physical, developmental, and communicative delays.

Among the attendees were the Schulenberg family, who shared their journey and Niagara Children’s Centre's impact on their lives. Melody and her husband, Jason, raise four boys in Vineland where their two youngest children, Easton and Zeke, receive support from the Centre.

Their journey began in 2019 with Easton’s diagnosis of Optic Nerve Hypoplasia and Septo Optic Dysplasia, meaning he will always be legally blind and need medical supports. In early 2022, Easton was also diagnosed with Autism.

“As I was doing research and trying to wrap my head around this new diagnosis, I was also looking at my then 2-year-old, Zeke, and I noticed that he too met a lot of the criteria for Autism.”

After a series of assessments, Zeke was also diagnosed with Autism in late 2022 and now regularly receives treatment from Niagara Children’s Centre.

“You never expect to have a child with special needs,” she commented as she recalled the intense desire to learn everything she could to help her sons and break accessibility barriers.

“Every time we went for an appointment at Niagara Children's Centre I would soak up as much of their knowledge, tricks and tips as I could, and try to implement them in our daily life.”

The family was one of eight who served as campaign Ambassadors, sharing their stories throughout May through online platforms and radio interviews with presenting sponsor Bell Media on their properties Newstalk 610 CKTB, 97.7 HTZ FM, and Move 105.7. These stations also featured interviews with staff and volunteers, which raised awareness about the Centre’s services.

Hitting the airwaves wasn’t the only approach the media outlet used to reach the Niagara community. Radio hosts Matt Soper and Carl Brown of 97.7 HTZ FM were inspired by the fundraiser's namesake. They created Make Carl Shine, which encouraged the show’s listeners to donate in exchange for seeing the hosts covered in olive oil and glitter. The idea resonated with the audience and raised more than $10,000.

Beaverloch Farms hosted another standout event in Thorold, where the community was invited to take photos in their blooming canola fields in exchange for donations: the initiative and the farm’s pledge to match donations raised more than $24,000.

Niagara Children’s Centre also received this year’s McHappy Day event in St. Catharines. On May 8, McDonald’s Canada hosted a nationwide event to support Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) and local Canadian children's charitable organizations. In St. Catharines, the funds raised during the event benefited RMHC Southcentral Ontario and Niagara Children’s Centre, Village of Hope and Grimsby Benevolent Fund. Niagara Children’s Centre will receive more than $23,000 of the proceeds.

“Help Kids Shine always reminds us of the power of community spirit,” said Oksana Fisher, CEO, Niagara Children’s Centre. “It shows us that even the smallest acts of kindness can profoundly impact a child's life. We are grateful for the extraordinary generosity from our community and the dedicated support from our staff and volunteers throughout the campaign."

Two community-minded organizations played a vital role in the campaign’s success. Wormald Masse Keen Lopinski (WMKL) Chartered Accountants LLP and O’Hara Trucking & Excavating pledged up to $25,000 as donor-matching sponsors during the campaign. Their support helped drive more than 1,000 monthly and individual donations that totaled more than $136,000 for the Children’s Centre.

“The funds raised during the campaign will help us address the increasing demand for services. Monthly donations, in particular, offer a reliable and sustainable funding source, enabling the Children’s Centre to plan effectively for the future,” said Fisher.

Chuck McShane, Chair of the Help Kids Shine Cabinet and CEO of Niagara Home Builders Association (NHBA), expressed his pride in supporting such a transformative organization within the community.

"I am privileged to work alongside such a remarkable organization," said McShane. “The programs and services offered by the Centre are vital to families, and through our fundraising efforts, we aimed to reach even more families across the region, ensuring that their life-changing work continues to make a difference.”

Though the 21st annual Help Kids Shine campaign has concluded, donations are still accepted by phone, in person, or online at helpkidsshine.ca.

To learn more about the Niagara Children’s Centre and its services, visit 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 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:
Ambassador families from Niagara Children’s Centre celebrate the record-breaking fundraising total for Help Kids Shine at the Stone Mill Inn in St. Catharines.