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Falls illumination caps $325K fundraiser for Children's Centre

June 01, 2023

People in front of Horseshoe Falls holding numbers

Falls illumination caps $325K fundraiser for Children's Centre

Help Kids Shine campaign the largest in organization's history

Niagara Falls, ON – As the Horseshoe Falls was illuminated in streaks of blue and yellow, onlookers were witness to a powerful reminder of the impact made possible through community support.

On May 31, Niagara Children’s Centre celebrated the culmination of its annual Help Kids Shine fundraising and awareness campaign with a captivating viewing party at the illumination tower in Niagara Falls. The event gathered dignitaries, ambassador families, sponsors, community donors, and dedicated staff from the organization, all coming together to commemorate the campaign's success.

“Tonight was a symbol of the collective power to effect change,” said Mat Siscoe, Chair, Niagara Children’s Centre Board of Directors and Mayor of St. Catharines. “What we were able to accomplish this month was thanks to the unwavering support of the local community, generous donors and a number of supportive organizations.”

Bell Media, Help Kids Shine presenting sponsor, conducted dozens of interviews with staff, volunteers and ambassador families on their radio stations Newstalk 610 CKTB, 97.7 HTZ FM and Move 105.7. The air time throughout the month-long campaign helped raise awareness for the organization and educate the community about families supported by the Children’s Centre.

“It’s one thing to hear it from someone on the radio but quite another to hear it from a child who couldn’t speak until they got to the Centre or from a parent whose family suddenly has hope or from a therapist who spends their days changing the lives of others,” said Tim Denis, Morning Show Host on 610 CKTB. “I think this campaign puts a personal face on it, and that’s what makes the big difference.”

Hitting the airwaves was just a part of a multi-faceted approach the Centre took to reach the Niagara community. A series of carefully organized events and partnerships throughout the month were significant contributors to the campaign's success.

The month began with local support from one of Canada’s largest restaurant chains. On May 10, McDonald’s Canada hosted McHappy Day, 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 specifically benefited RMHC Southcentral Ontario, in addition to Niagara Children’s Centre, Village of Hope and Grimsby Benevolent Fund.

In total, $43,137 was raised for McHappy Day by five St. Catharines locations. Niagara Children’s Centre will receive more than $24,000 of those proceeds with an additional $1,000 coming through drive-thru cash donations.

“Beyond financial contributions, events like McHappy Day celebrate the spirit of giving,” said Siscoe. “It reminds us that even small acts of kindness can make a significant difference in a child's life. We’re so thankful for the immense generosity and compassion within our communities, empowering everyone to participate and contribute to a brighter future.”

On May 25, the Children’s Centre hosted its annual Plasma Car Race at the Gale Centre in Niagara Falls. The relay-style event featured 12 teams of four wiggling their way to the finish line on the popular children’s ride-on toy in a series of races. When the evening was complete, participants left full of nostalgia and pride as their efforts raised more than $17,000 for the Help Kids Shine campaign.

Lisa Vinc, who won this year’s competition on the S&B Rockets, felt that the Plasma Car Race carried a lot of momentum leading into this year’s event.

“Our HTZ-FM Team leveraged that power and we were able to raise a lot of money and awareness for this very entertaining event that marks the culmination of the Help Kids Shine campaign,” said Vinc. “We hope that it becomes a flagship of the campaign in years to come.”

The region’s construction industry also played an important role throughout the campaign. To help the Centre achieve this year’s milestone, O’Hara Trucking & Excavating became a monthly donor matching sponsor, pledging up to $25,000 to the campaign. Throughout the month, more than 1,000 monthly and individual contributions were made to Niagara Children’s Centre.

“The community truly rallied behind our organization,” said Siscoe. “The funds raised during the campaign will help us meet the growing demand for services with monthly donations providing a strong, sustainable source of funding to help the Children’s Centre plan ahead.”

Members of the Niagara Home Builder's Association (NHBA) rolled up their sleeves to build a brighter future for the Children’s Centre, contributing more than $25,000 to the campaign.

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

"We, at the NHBA, along with our members, are privileged to extend our support to this remarkable organization," said McShane. “The programs and services offered by the Centre are vital to families, and through our fundraising efforts for the Help Kids Shine campaign, we hoped to reach even more families across the region, ensuring that their life-changing work continues to make a difference.”

Each year, more than 5,300 children and youth in Niagara with physical, developmental and communicative delays are supported by the range of services offered at the Centre. Those services are made possible, in part, by the Centre’s annual Help Kids Shine fundraising campaign that encourages community donations throughout the month of May to support programs and services for families.

While the 20th annual Help Kids Shine campaign has come to a close, the Children’s Centre still accepts donations either by phone, in person or online at helpkidsshine.ca.

To learn more about the organization's 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
Web: www.niagarachildrenscentre.com

Photo caption:
Dignitaries, ambassador families, sponsors, community donors, and dedicated staff from Niagara Children’s Centre gathered at the illumination tower in Niagara Falls for a viewing party to commemorate the conclusion of Help Kids Shine.