Niagara Children's Centre Annual Report (2021-22)

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Discover the new ways we’re supporting children and youth in the region with physical, developmental and communicative delays.

2021-22 Annual Report
Photo credit: Julie Jocsak (TORSTAR).


In a year where the pandemic continued to be a significant disruptor affecting our services, families and our employees, new opportunities for growth and innovation gave us reason to look towards the future with optimism.

Throughout this report, you’ll discover stories that reflect an overarching theme for Niagara Children’s Centre, specifically “an evolution care”. That theme, highlighted by the implementation of several programs and initiatives in the past year, marked a new way for us to support children and youth in the region with physical, developmental and communicative delays.

For the first time in many years, we received a funding increase from the provincial government. While the funding will not fully meet the high demand for our Centre services, we were able to hire additional employees which, in turn, increased our ability to serve more children and families.

We found innovative ways to overcome operational challenges resulting from the prolonged pandemic. We expanded our capacity to provide in-person services. We continued to offer virtual care, webinars and parent education programs, where this was the preference of the families. We implemented new ways to support children and families with virtual care, including improved therapeutic interventions and

activities, equipment loans to families and technical supports for families who needed them. Virtual care was no longer viewed as a necessary alternative, but as an effective model of service delivery by many families and therapists.

Niagara Children’s Centre became a Regional Partner, delivering two early intervention programs under the Ministry’s new Ontario Autism Program. These included an entry-to-school program and a caregiver-mediated early years program, where we focus on a specific play-based, child-led model known as ESI/SCERTS.

We expanded our Family-to-Family Support program thanks to support from a number

Niagara Children’s Centre 2021/22 Board of Directors

of grants and donations. The Centre launched a Peer Mentorship program based on best practices, where caregivers are trained as mentors and then matched with families that are new to the Centre community as mentees.

A new partnership between our recreation therapy program and Broken Spoke enabled dozens of Centre children to benefit from low-cost adapted bikes. The program, run out of Port Colborne High School by Aubrey Foley, teaches students the understanding and benefits of refurbishing bicycles.

Our facility went through a number of upgrades. From ensuring our spaces were supporting safe care from an infection control perspective, to supporting the return of an expanded workforce on-site, numerous areas were renovated, repurposed and re-furnished. A major roof repair and replacement was also undertaken thanks to an infrastructure investment from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.

Fundraising once again had a very successful year, with the return of many popular events to an in-person setting. The Superhero Run achieved record results and, for the first time in many years, we were selected as a beneficiary of Tim Hortons Smile Cookies campaign. We are incredibly grateful for the generous support from the community. Donations, grants and fundraisers allow us to support more children and families in our community and to deliver important programs that are not funded through government funding.

Looking towards the year ahead, we are hoping to see an end to the pandemic and, as a result, greater stability in our day-today operations. We will be focused on continuing to provide high-quality and innovative services, the launch of a new strategic plan and the implementation of the new SmartStart Hub initiative.

We end with a note of gratitude. We are privileged to work with an amazing group of children and families. We are incredibly grateful to our employees who continued to deliver quality services under very challenging circumstances. A final note of gratitude to our volunteer Directors, community partners, donors and funders who supported us to do the work we love to do.

we will realize our vision of “Niagara’s children and youth at their best”.



Mr. Mathew Siscoe, Chair

Ms. Lois Ouellette, Vice-Chair

Ms. Shirley Cordiner, Director

Ms. Angela Davidson, Director

Ms. Dolores Fabiano, Director

Mr. Lorne Gretsinger, Director

Mr. Ken Janzen, Director

Mr. Larry Kent, Director

Mr. Vic Kerschl, Director

Mr. Frank Ruberto, Director

Mr. Don Thorpe, Director


Oksana Fisher,

Chief Executive Officer Dorothy Harvey, Director of Clinical Services

April 2021 to March 2022 Kathy Bell, Director of Clinical Services

January 2022 to present Tammy Davey-Wiebe, Director of Corporate Services and Finance Marla Smith, Director of Development Kristen Groom, Human Resources Manager

Mat Siscoe Oksana Fisher INSIDE THIS ISSUE Our impact on the region The future role of virtual care Families are all ears for new mentorship program Supporting the spectrum through new program Community bike donations helping Centre families Scorecard Statement of Operations Donor Recognition 3 5 7 11 16 17 18 19
319 Grimsby 358 Lincoln 1,913 St. Catharines 137 Niagara-on-the-Lake 278 West Lincoln 214 Pelham 302 Thorold 1,233 Niagara Falls 39 Wainfleet 202 Port Colborne 1,091 Welland 429 Fort Erie 6,557 children served  envelope44,856 Total visits 2,442 New referrals Our impact on the region Client breakdown by municipality in Niagara
4 Speech & Language Disorders Autism Spectrum Disorders Global Developmental Delay / Genetic Disorders Neurological / Neuromuscular Sensory Processing or Regulatory Disorders / Attention Disorders Developmental Orthopedic OUR MISSION We enable children and youth with physical, developmental and communicative delays or disabilities to achieve their optimal potential within their home, school and community environments. We do this through delivering a continuum of therapeutic supports and services to children and families and by working with our partners to deliver coordinated, integrated and family-centred care. OUR VISION Niagara’s Children & Youth at their best. OUR VALUES heart lightbulb   A closer look    79,576 Hours of service 2,892 Waiting for assessment (as of March 31, 2022) 808 Waiting for treatment (as of March 31, 2022) 35% Children with 1 service need 65% Children with 2+ service needs Children & families come first Excellence and innovation are the cornerstones of our achievement Teamwork & partnerships are vital Respect underlies all we do What are the most common diagnostic groups?

The evolution of care: The role of virtual care in the future of children’s treatment and rehabilitation

From not leaving your home, to worrying about finding childcare or the difficulty of navigating transportation to and from an

appointment, the pandemic changed the way we approached daily tasks.

In the first year of the pandemic, virtual therapy was the only service delivery option for most families. In the second year of the pandemic, the Centre returned to in-person services, but continued to support virtual offerings where this was the preference of families. Many parents started to truly

value the adaptation of services to virtual offerings and embraced them as a new way forward. This past year, approximately fifty per cent of the nearly 48,000 visits were delivered virtually. This included assessments, therapy visits, child groups, as well as parent education and support groups.

For Niagara Children’s Centre, it marked an evolution of care – an additional way to support children and youth in the region with physical, developmental and communicative delays.

A survey conducted by the Children’s Centre indicated that eighty-three per cent of families were satisfied with the services provided by virtual care with forty-one per cent suggesting it was better than expected. The medium provided new opportunities for interactive games and activities with families during the sessions, while the technology made it possible for parents to join their child and significant other if they were unable to make the physical commute from home or work.

Virtual appointments can be a benefit for therapists as well. The ability to see the child and family in their natural home environment can provide additional insight for therapists and allow them to better individualize their recommendations and treatment approaches. While many forms of treatment still benefit from an in-person visit, a survey sent to Niagara Children’s Centre therapists indicated that seventy three per cent of staff felt that future services should continue to be a mix of both offerings.

This past year, the Centre was able to improve some of the early challenges experienced with virtual care. Therapists learned what services and programs could be delivered well virtually, which types of clients and families benefitted from virtual care, and families were offered technical support and equipment loans, where needed. Niagara Children’s Centre also modified many of our therapeutic activities for a virtual platform.

While the advent of virtual has been a learning curve for all involved, virtual appointments have found a place in the Centre and will continue to play a role in the way services are delivered.

Aisha Asad, Occupational Therapist, Niagara Children’s Centre
0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 35,000 40,000 45,000 50,000 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22 AT A GLANCE  22,576 In-person visits  12,216 Virtual Care visits (phone)  13,057 Virtual care visits (telepractice)  83% Families were satisfied with the services provided by telepractice  73% Staff think future therapy should be a mix of in-person & telepractice Total visits by type (#) Hybrid (36%) No (32%) Yes (8%) Other (9%) Maybe (16%) Future interest in virtual care Level of satisfaction with virtual services  Very satisfied  Satisfied  Neutral  Dissatisfied  Very Dissatisfied 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120% Other Initial Assessment or Reassessment Child focussed intervention Parent Coaching Parent Consultation Group Parent Training Parent Education Workshops Parent Counselling or Support  Face-to-Face  Virtual  Telephone  Group

The new program pairs trained parents or caregivers as mentors with families that are new to the Centre community as mentees.

“We talked about acceptance, how to make it okay to be around neurotypical children and the best way to include our kiddos in different activities,” said De Lima Pinto.

The mentors share their lived experience, provide a working knowledge of community resources and Centre services while offering emotional support to new families.

“Communication skills are key but, more importantly, it’s listening skills,” Sabrina Elliott Vergara, Family Mentor Coach at Niagara Children’s Centre. “Many parents are not looking for answers, they’re looking for someone who gets it to have a listening ear.”

The programs also allows mentors and mentees to set their own schedules and connect when it’s convenient for them. Families can be matched based on their child’s diagnosis, specific resource / expertise, similar situations and a number of other factors.

The evolution of care: Families are all ears for new mentorship program

Having someone to talk to made all the difference for Dyane De Lima Pinto.

After moving to the region with her family and starting treatment for her daughter, Joannah, at Niagara Children’s Centre, all she was looking for was a friendly ear.

“I wanted to speak to someone that was already involved in the community and knew different inclusive activities that we could take part in,” said De Lima Pinto.

She signed up for the family mentor program, an initiative started by the Children’s Centre over the past year.

“To learn that there’s another parent out there that has gone through everything you are going through right now, and understands your feelings – it means a lot,” said De Lima Pinto.

While the program is still in its early development stages, the Centre anticipates to move into the next phase in the upcoming year, which aims to recruit more volunteer mentors to support the growing demand from families.

Michelle Sanders, Mentor, was matched up with Dyane De Lima Pinto, Mentee, in Niagara Children’s Centre’s Family Mentor Program.

“When parents and caregivers are supported and have the opportunity to find community, connection and resources, it’s a win for all involved,” said Elliott Vergara.

The mentorship program is part of the Children’s Centre’s family partnership program.

Launched in 2014, the program was co-designed with families connected to the Centre’s services and embodies the organization’s philosophy of family-centred care. It’s built upon four pillars that include families as advisors, family-to-family support, families as informed consumers and families as educators and ambassadors.

The Family Advisory Network (FAN), a group of 15 parents and caregivers, meet monthly with management to discuss initiatives. Over the past year, they’ve provided input on intake messaging and scripts, the Clinical Services Information Guide, along with Ontario’s new Autism program and SmartStart Hub.

Family-to-family support includes a number of initiatives designed to encourage parents and caregivers to talk about their shared experiences and connect with the Centre community.

A monthly Parent Talk support group meets virtually, and in-person, throughout the year. Each of the 10 sessions held this year were based on a theme that parents and caregivers can relate to, such as consistency amongst the chaos,

Pictured right:

Sabrina Elliott Vergara, Family Mentor Coach at Niagara Children’s Centre.

transitioning to school, the power of play and balancing relationships.

Helping families be informed is another important aspect of the family partnership program. This past year, the Centre hosted its 3rd annual Parent & Caregiver Conference on April 27 virtually to a group of 32 participants. Themed around the power of a personal story, special guests Mike Lang and Sue Robbins shared insights on how to find meaningful moments and create meaningful change in the home and the places we go.

Family advisors also shared their ideas about the future redesign of the Centre’s website to make it more informative and user-friendly.

Families also play an important role as educators and ambassadors in the community. This past year, 16 families served as ambassadors for our annual Help Kids Shine fundraising and public awareness campaign. Throughout the month of May, families shared their personal stories at speaking engagements, online and through media interviews to educate the Niagara community about the therapy and support services the Centre provides.

We are grateful for the financial contribution received by the Niagara Community Foundation and TD Bank towards the family partnership program, which provided our organization with the capacity to expand our support and develop the mentorship program.

FAMILY PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM AT A GLANCE  15 Members of Family Advisory Network (FAN)  12 Trained parent mentors  7 Families matched with mentors  10 Parent Talk sessions facebook 458 Online Support Group  16 Families served as Ambassadors

Mom hopes son’s story will help other families

He’s a cutie. He’s very smiley,” says Jillian Janzen.

He’s Paddy — baby Patrick Janzen

— just turned one year old, and soon one of the faces of Niagara Children’s Centre’s Help Kids Shine campaign that starts in May.

Four months into her pregnancy, Jillian and her husband Tom learned Paddy would be born with Down syndrome, meaning he had an extra, 21st chromosome.

It occurs in about one in 800 live births worldwide, usually causing varying degrees of intellectual or physical disability, and in some cases other medical issues.

Getting the diagnosis early was good but worrying, Jillian Janzen says.

“It’s like, you have time to digest it. But you also have a lot of time to think about it before he’s born.”

“For us, receiving that diagnosis, I kind of felt a little bit alone … when you get a diagnosis, it’s very clinical and medical. They kind of red flag some things that might be there related to the diagnosis.”

By taking part in the Help Kids Shine campaign, she hopes other parents in her situation will realize they’re not alone.

“I hope if there is a parent with a prenatal diagnosis or that just received a diagnosis, whether that’s of Down syndrome or cerebral palsy or any birth diagnosis, they can see, ‘All right , I’m going to be OK. There is support in my community, and there are resources there.”

Janzen says Paddy is in an infant development program there: “He has, immediately, a team of a social worker, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist and a speech language pathologist.

“They kind of give you space — you know, you just had a baby … in terms of getting connected with your team, that usually happens in the first month or so.”

Janzen has a family member with Down syndrome as well as a background in teaching and working with kids and adults with special needs.

Even so, she says, the diagnosis can be hard to take.

Her biggest concern was that Paddy might have one of the medical issues that can come with Down syndrome.

In a small number of cases, babies can experience epileptic seizures. Thyroid problems are more common in children with Down syndrome, and about half of kids born with it will have a heart defect, according to Down Syndrome International.

Janzen says Paddy has a small hole in his heart, but doctors believe it will close on its own.

Paddy’s sister, who is two and a half years old, was not born with Down syndrome.

“To be honest, a baby is a baby is a baby …” says Janzen.

“Yes, they might have special needs. But he loves to play, he loves to smile, he loves to say Momma and Dadda and stuff like that. He loves interacting with other kids and looking at them.”

She says Paddy’s team at the Centre works with him in areas like feeding and improving his motor skills. They gave her exercises she and her husband can do with Paddy to help him progress.

“For example, Paddy is learning to stay in a standing position by holding onto an object in front of him, or a table,” she says.

Published March 6, 2022 by Gord Howard, St. Catharines Standard Reporter

“(The occupational therapist) will show me techniques of how to move his body to help him develop that skill. Or for reaching for objects.

“Right now, we’re working on him sitting alone, so supporting his hips. Things like that.”

He can crawl army-style and put food into his mouth, learning it through therapy and by just being a baby.

“He’s doing things a baby would normally learn, sometimes he just needs a little extra help or it’s just a little bit later,” Janzen says.

“Your typical child will maybe walk by a certain age, whereas in Down syndrome it’s a large range so that it could be 15 months, it could be three years,” she says.

“That’s something the occupational therapist works with in terms of focusing on where he is.

“So we don’t really track whether he’s behind or ahead, he’s just where he needs to be and he will do it at his own time.”

Usually when a baby is born with special needs, the doctor will refer the parents to Niagara Children’s Centre, Janzen says.

“But it’s nice to hear stories of, ‘Oh, that kid’s doing OK. I’m going to be OK,’” says Janzen. “I hope that Paddy’s story shows that.”

Reprinted with the permission of Metroland Media. To read the full article, visit

Jillian and Tom Janzen with baby Paddy, who was born with Down syndrome, and daughter Morgan. Photo credit: Bob Tymczyszyn (TORSTAR).

The evolution of care: Speech-Language Pathologists supporting the spectrum through new program

What are your hands doing that your child’s hand could? It’s often the first question posed by Savanna Bond and Jocelyn

Fedyczko to parents when meeting for their virtual therapy sessions.

As Speech Language Pathologists for Niagara Children’s Centre, it’s an important discussion topic to have with families new to a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Bond and Fedyczko are responsible for delivering a new initiative under the Ontario Autism Program (OAP), known as the caregiver-mediated early years program. Within the program, there are six available models for families to learn therapeutic strategies and specific techniques from professionals based on their child’s individual needs.

Bond and Fedyczko focus on a specific play-based, child-led model, known as the

Early Social Interaction/Social Communication Emotional Regulation and Transactional Supports (ESI/SCERTS).

“It empowers the parents to see how much they can do with their child,” said Fedyczko.

Based on an evidence-based approach to treatment from Florida State University, the model targets Autism’s core features, communication, social interaction and

Jocelyn Fedyczko and Savanna Bond, Speech-Language Pathologists at the Centre, deliver a specific play-based, child-led model, under the Ontario Autism Program (OAP).

repetitive patterns of behaviors or interests. To enroll, the child must have a diagnosis of ASD, be 12 to 36 months at the start of intervention, and be registered with the OAP. The program is fully funded by the provincial government and is available to families for six months with sessions occurring twice weekly.

In ESI/SCERTS, families receive virtual coaching and support to develop their child’s social communication skills within everyday and social activities, such as games, meals and snacks, caregiving activities, play with toys, family chores, books and transitions from one activity to another.

“We’ve done a lot of laundry during our sessions,” said Bond. “The model provides families with ideas for embedding supports and strategies that their child needs to be successful across an endless amount of activities.”

A typical session has Bond and Fedyczko review priorities with the parent or caregiver followed by a selection of three to five activities. During the activities, they provide encouragement, positive feedback and coaching strategies to work on at home. After the activities, they reflect and discuss any feedback with the family before planning for the next session.

“The opportunities for embedding those strategies are endless,” said Bond. “It’s really cool to see the activities the families come up with.”

Bond and Fedyczko also guide and support them throughout the program, helping parents and caregivers engage their child by following their focus of interest and by keeping activities predictable.

“One of the biggest challenges with Autism is gaze shifting,” said Bond. “All we want to do is get their attention. They’re not learning from experiences of things around them unless they’re embedded in their routine as an active participant.”

Research from the ESI/SCERTS model suggests that children with ASD should spend at least 25 hours per week actively engaged to improve outcomes.

“The key to keeping a child actively engaged is finding their interest and building on that as a learning opportunity,” said Fedyczko. “The best part is that it can occur in any activity that your family already spends time doing.”

From games to preparing snacks, family chores to reading books, the model encourages parents to look at a variety of activities spread across the day to support their child’s development.

Clear signs that a child is actively engaged are evident when they are well regulated, productive, socially connected, looks at another person’s face often, responds to voices and words and communicates directly with their parent or caregiver.

Some of the biggest progress that Bond and Fedyczko have seen since the start of the program has been with the parents.

“We’ve watched parents blossom and grow into very confident support systems for their children,” said Fedyczko. “They become completely different people over the course of six months.”

Bond and Fedyczko joke that the ultimate goal of the program is to work themselves out of job.

“We are building fidelity in parents so that they can continue the intervention themselves,” said Bond.

Preparation for delivering the ESI/SCERTS model began more than two-and-half years ago.

Bond and Fedyczko were enrolled in a rigorous training program. They’re two of a handful of therapists in the province of Ontario to have completed tier three program certification. Now they support families from across the golden horseshoe including Cambridge, Milton and Stoney Creek.

Their efforts were recognized by the Centre at this year’s Employee Recognition Dinner when they were presented with an award for Innovation & Excellence. The award recognizes employees who demonstrates a commitment to and/or achievement in activities that support innovation and excellence in the workplace.

As the Centre moves into year two of the program, Bond will continue to work with families enrolled in the program while Fedyczko will also work towards tier 4 certification in the program. Upon completion, Fedyczko will become a regional trainer to educate additional clinicians in the model.


Niagara Children’s Centre a lifeline for families

When Kimberly Melville and her daughter Amelia started going to Niagara Children’s Centre, it was just a place they went.

Like going to the doctor.

But as Amelia got older, requiring more and more of its services, the centre became “embedded” into their lives in ways Melville never saw coming.

“I thought we would go in there, maybe have a couple of therapy sessions and that would be it,” she said. “Now, nine years later, it’s very much a part of us, a part of

our family. We’ve gotten to know a lot of the staff up there, we have gotten to know a lot of families.”

Amelia, who has a rare condition called Zellweger spectrum disorder, first started at the centre when she was eight months old, delayed in her gross, motor and fine motor skills. The St. Catharines family was referred to the Centre, without a diagnosis, after a stint at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton.

Melville recalled being a “nervous wreck of a parent,” not knowing what to expect.

“I remember when I first got the call from the Children’s Centre to do the intake, and the social worker telling me that she’s here to help and guide us through it,” she said.

“I spent eight months struggling, trying to figure out what I was doing. I was just calling people and showing up at doctors. So to have somebody that can help you navigate that and understand and support— I honestly don’t know how we would have gotten through … without having that.”

Through Niagara Children’s Centre — it helps about 5,800 Niagara children and

Niagara Children’s Centre has become embedded into the lives of Kimberly Melville and her nine-year-old daughter Amelia. Photo credit: Julie Jocsak (TORSTAR).
Published June 2, 2022

youths with physical, developmental and communicative delays each year — Amelia has accessed services including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, augmentative communication (allowing Amelia to use a tablet to communicate) and its gait clinic.

Now, at nine years old, Amelia is “doing really well.”

“She’s exceeding all expectations. It’s very unusual for a child like her, with her diagnosis, to live until nine,” said Melville.

“To be as healthy as she is still right now, very vibrant, energetic, super social, fun, so smart — she’s learning Braille and ASL (American Sign Language). She’s doing great.”

Amelia — as well as her mom and dad, Todd — participated as Team Unicorn at the Niagara Children’s Centre Plasma Car Race, a relay-style event that marked the end of the centre’s monthlong community fundraising campaign, Help Kids Shine.

Melville has been a part of the Centre’s family advisory network since its inception, providing upper management with personal perspective on how best to engage families and help those who directly use its services.

She knows personally the feeling of needing help, but not being able to access it due to long wait lists. Melville hopes the centre’s campaign will increase staff and available programming, and get children, and families, the support they need.

“When you’re a family and you’re waiting for help for your children, it is one of the hardest things,” she said.

“It’s more than just your rehabilitative supports, it’s the whole system … (the centre) made it relatable, gave us people that understood us. It’s an isolating life if you don’t have people that you can connect to or that understand what you’re going through.”

Reprinted with the permission of Metroland Media. To read the full article, visit

Team Unicorn, comprised of Todd, Amelia and Kimberly Melville, along with Lauren Skeoch and Rhonda Silwa, raised

for the Centre through the Plasma Car Race.

THERAPY VISITS AT A GLANCE  17,456 Speech & Language Therapy  11,334 Occupational Therapy  3,780 Physiotherapy  3,167 Social Work

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley honoured with award by Niagara Children’s Centre

The Niagara Regional Chair was unanimously selected as the recipient of the 2021 Dr. Orr Tribute Award.

The award, which honours the legacy of the Centre’s founding medical director, recognized Chair Bradley’s outstanding dedication to supporting the mission and vision of Niagara Children’s Centre and positively impacting the quality of life of children and youth with disabilities.

Chair Bradley has not only been a supporter and influencer through his various educational and political roles but, on a personal level, he has been a strong ambassador, advocate and supporter of the Centre. He has seen the evolution of the Children’s Centre over the course of his

political career and has always taken the time to support the Centre and the children and families we serve.

“Chair Bradley is well respected across our region and by people across the political spectrum,” says Oksana Fisher, CEO, Niagara Children’s Centre. “Having an advocate like Chair Bradley in our corner has opened many doors and conversations, always to the benefit of children with delays and disabilities.”

Never one to shy away from an opportunity to connect, Chair Bradley has visited the Centre on numerous occasions over the years. He came to the Centre to announce provincial infrastructure grants to support much-needed improvements to the

building, facilitated meetings and site visits with then Minister of Children and Youth and regularly attended the launch of our annual Help Kids Shine campaigns and Superhero Runs.

Community support is at the heart of Chair Bradley’s public service. Through his public service, he has demonstrated a commitment to positively impacting the lives of children with disabilities and their families.

Fisher added that the organization is so proud to present Chair Bradley this award and we hope that it reminds him that his impact and legacy are seen and celebrated.

Mat Siscoe, Board Chair, Niagara Children’s Centre, Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair and Oksana Fisher, CEO, Niagara Children’s Centre.


 30+

Adapted bikes have been donated to the Centre.

 109

Participants at the Centre

Community bike donations helping Niagara Children’s Centre families

The feeling of freedom and independence created with a bicycle can bring back fond childhood memories.

Many children, however, are unable to experience this feeling due to physical limitations that make it difficult or impossible to ride a traditional bicycle.

Specialized mobility bikes offer a solution, but with costs ranging from $600 to $4,000, they’re inaccessible for many families.

Aubrey Foley, founder of the Broken Spoke program, found a solution. The program, run out of Port Colborne High School,

teaches students the understanding and benefits of refurbishing bicycles to provide enjoyment and transportation for themselves and others.

The program has partnered with Niagara Region Waste Management to divert bikes, wheelchairs and walkers from landfills and, to date, has donated more than 15,000 bikes to people in need. To date, this includes more than 30 specialized mobility bikes to families at Niagara Children’s Centre.

Jaymieson O’Neill, Recreation Therapist at Niagara Children’s Centre, said the partnership has completely changed how

the Centre runs its bike program.

“Families could wait for up to two years for funding for a bike,” said O’Neill. “Now, I can do an assessment and, without any financial obligation, get them a bike that suits them 95 per cent of the time within one or two weeks.”

The program will provide countless children with the opportunity to participate in biking with family and friends, build confidence and strengthen muscles.

“It’s incredible to see the reaction,” said O’Neill, “when they see the bike is something they get to take home and keep.”

Aubrey Foley, Broken Spoke Founder and Jaymieson O’Neill, Recreation Therapist at Niagara Children’s Centre.


Quality Client Services

Objective Indicator

Inside the numbers

the exception of wait times for assessment and treatment.


historical challenge, rooted in the demand for services exceeding the Centre’s financial resources, therefore limiting our capacity to meet the demand. Numerous disruptions arising from the pandemic, further increased

Centre continues to look at strategies

wait times.

reduce wait times.

We are pleased to share our performance scorecard, based on key indicators in the areas of client service delivery, human resources and financial resources. These indicators form part of our quality program and are monitored regularly by the Management Team and the Board of Directors. Where required, performance improvement plans are developed.
Target Result Rating
Service activity To maintain or improve our capacity to serve children # of children served 5,800 6,557 Service activity To maintain or improve our capacity to serve children Hours of client-related service (cumulative) 67,650 79,576 Service activity To maintain or improve our capacity to serve children % of client-related service hours compared to budget ≥ 95% 118% Access to service Programs will meet expected wait times % of clients seen for initial assessment (IA) within 3 months of referral 90% IA 47% Access to service Programs will meet expected wait times % of clients seen for service initiation (SI) within 5 months of IA 90% SI 84% Human Resources To maintain or decrease absenteeism Employee absenteeism rate < 5% 2.18% To retain skilled employees Turnover rate - all employees N/A 13.56% N/A Financial Resources Fiscal responsibility To maintain a sound financial position Current Ratio ≥ 1.0 2.42 Fiscal responsibility To operate within the approved budget % Actual/Budget 95-100% 92.53% On Target Minimum to Moderate Negative Variance Significant Negative Variance
Niagara Children’s Centre is meeting all
targets, with
This is a

Statement of Operations



Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

Community-Based Rehabilitation

School-Based Rehabilitation

Preschool Speech and Language


Regional Municipality of Niagara

Home & Community Care Support Services

Other Income

Amortization of Deferred Capital Contributions

Total 2022



$4,952,350 $2,329,933 $1,647,523 $1,122,408 $309,697 $106,007 $583,110 $102,358 $11,153,386

Total 2021


Salaries and Benefits

Building Services

$4,132,679 $1,833,697 $1,439,145 $1,163,519 $314,166 $90,794 $656,845 $110,726 $9,741,571

Contracted Services


Amortization of Property and Equipment


Excess of Operating Revenues over Expenses for the year

FUNDRAISING Contributions Salaries and Expenses

Excess of fundraising revenues over expenses

Total 2022

$8,220,824 $936,516 $1,228,504 $929,141 $102,358 $11,417,343 (263,957)

Total 2021

$7,402,022 $260,641 $1,407,079 $770,203 $110,794 $9,950,739 (209,168)

Thank you to our funders:

Community Based Rehabilitation

School Based Rehabilitation

Preschool Speech and Language



Other Income

Regional Municipality of Niagara

Home and Community Care Support Services

Amortization of Deferred Capital Contributions

EXCESS (deficiency) of Revenues over Expenses for the yea

$1,070,379 ($359,135)

$711,244 $447,287

$876,869 ($272,409)

$604,460 $395,292


Auditors: Grant Thornton LLP, St. Catharines. A complete set of audited financial statements is available upon request.

Salaries and Benefits

Building Services

Contracted Services

Centre operating

Amortization of Property and Equipment

Fundraising Expenses


Donor Recognition





Niagara Children’s




“Hearing about the families who have found

for their children at the Centre through

interviews with parents during the

Kids Shine


motivated me to

was a


Cotton Construction Golf Tournament

Joseph Olascki Trust Fund at the Niagara Community Foundation

Niagara Catholic District School Board

Niagara Home Builders Association

Regional Chair’s Charity Golf Tournament


Stamford Kiwanis Club

The Viola-Salter Group


your donations, you have made it possible for more than 6,500 children to receive the necessary therapy they
best. Niagara Children’s Centre relies on community donations to support more than 30 programs, purchase equipment, develop innovative programs and improve our facility to better meet the needs of our children and their families. While our Centre does receive a significant portion of our budget through government grants, we rely heavily on the support of the community for a portion of our annual needs, plus funds to plan for future strategic directions. To learn more about how you can support the Centre, please contact Marla Smith, Director of Development at 905-688-1890 ext. 106 or 2021-22 Donors $50,000+ Bell Media Anonymous $25,000 - $49,999
Centre Fund at the Niagara Community Foundation Tim
Smile Cookies William Birchall Foundation “We are very proud to support the essential work of Niagara Children’s Centre.”
Smith, Board Chair, William Birchall Foundation $10,000 - $24,999
the on-air
worthy cause.” Charles Sansom Community member

Donor Recognition

$5,000 - $9,999 continued

Alectra Utilities

BrokerLink-Sheehan & Rosie Ltd

CIBC Wood Gundy, St. Catharines Team

Cla-Val Canada Corp

Cooper Wealth Management of RBC Dominion Securities

Dr. William Orr Foundation

F.K. Morrow Foundation

MNP Ltd.

Nickolas & Barbara Sacco Charitable Foundation

Pen Financial Credit Union

Rona Inc.

Scotia Wealth Management Shaw Communications Inc.

Oksana & Bob Fisher

Barbara Jeffery Gibson

Roman Groch

Dorothy & Geoff Harvey

Heavy Construction Association

of Regional Niagara (HCARN)

Bryan & Nancy Hermans

Intact Insurance

Yvonne Kala

Kelly Jones - Desjardins Insurance

Moksha Indian Bistro

Susan Mull

Niagara Brewery Collectibles Club

Niagara Dairy Producers

O’Hara Trucking & Excavating Inc

Robert Orr


“As an association, which collectively employs over 5,000 people, we realize the importance of giving back to Niagara by supporting local initiatives that benefits families.”

Jim Phibbs, President, Heavy Construction Association of Regional Niagara (HCARN)

Dr. Karl & Julie Stobbe

David & Susan Siscoe

Vyadom Group Walker Industries

$2,500 - $4,999

Air Canada

Bayshore Masonry Limited

Estate Of Muriel Jean Etsell

Lou Biagi

Billyard Insurance Group

Bill & April Janzen

Boldt Realty Inc.

Estate of Alice Bundzeak

Clench House Foundation

Club Richelieu

Credit Bureau Services Canada

Cruising On The Q

Darcy Richardson Real Estate Group

Gerald Ducharme

Evans Heating & Cooling

Fidelity Investments

John & Lynda Gammage

Georges Greek Village

Grant Thornton LLP

Grantham Lioness Club

Bob & Lorraine Hand

Darren Hendriks

Homes by Hendriks

Susan Howlett

In The Event by Maria Ken & Donna Janzen

Karyn Langendoen

Link Charity Canada Inc.

The May Court Club of St. Catharines

Modern Landfill

Niagara Corvette Club

Parkside Custom Homes Inc

PBO Group

Sherrard Kuzz LLP

Johannes & Marga Thiessen

Wormald Masse Keen Lopinski LLP

$1,000 - $2,499

1832 Asset Management LP

Aqua-Don Pool Service & Supplies

Tom McConnell

Jeanette McGinty

Cindy & Derek Mewhinney

Jessica Millar

Rob Mills

Todd Morgan Rob & Patricia Neill

Brian McKeown & Gail Norris


Donor Recognition

$1,000 - $2,499 continued

Ridley College

Jerry & Joanie Rinaldi

Robert A. Lavelle Memorial Foundation

Grant at the Niagara Community Foundation

Grierson Salter

Sandtrap Pub & Grill

SunOpta Inc

Cheryl & Doug Smith

Marla & Adam Smith

Greg Sykes

Joseph Viola

Diane Watson

Margaret Webster

Alfred Wiens

Wills Family Foundation at the Niagara Community Foundation

Anonymous - 2

$500 - $999

Aristocrat Floors

Sandra Arkison

Aurora Tancock Financial Services

Karen Bader

Anne Balanowski

Laura-Jane Benoit

Adam Bosak

Brock Ford Lincoln

Paul Brodeur

Ken Burch

Carson’s Pizzeria

Lenore Cardiff-Hinchliffe

Don Chambers

Joel & Brenda Chatterton

Chippawa Volunteer Firefighters Assoc.

Club Sardegna Nel Niagara Inc Court Holdings Limited

CR Smith Financial

Tammy Davey-Wiebe

Terry & Diane Dick

Donnelly’s Irish Pub

Mario Durand

Julia Frei

Don & Lois Fretz

Derek Gareau

Greg Frewin Theatre

Handlebar Hank’s Roadhouse

Joan Jamison

Jackpot Flowers

Craig Janzen

Mary Kala

Larry & Eleanor Kent

Vic & Farida Kerschl

Art Klassen

Kurt Klein

Ivana Komljenovic Metcalf


Bill & Beth Lamb

Lancaster Brooks & Welch LLP

Lions Club of Chippawa

Lions Club of Port Dalhousie

LJM Developments Grimsby Inc.

Robert & Judy Mansfield


Mark’s No Frills

Mathnasium Math Learning Centre

Colin McDougall

Chuck McShane

Midas Auto Service

Mountainview Homes

Niagara Region Police Association

Donald Pearson

Bernice Perusse

Picton Mahoney Asset Management

Brent Pym

Rankin Construction Inc.

Revel Realty Inc Brokerage

Keith Robinson

Silvergate Homes

Don & Karen Smith

Solaris Tint

Stamford Centre Volunteer

Firemen’s Association

Allison Suk

Sullivan Injury Law P.C.

TD Volunteer Grant Program

John & Heidi TeBrake

Upper Canada Consultants

“I believe that the strength of our children and our community plays a vital role in our future so making a donation to Niagara Children’s Centre was an easy decision for me.”
Angela Davidson, Board Member, Niagara Children’s Centre

Donor Recognition

$500 - $999 continued

Vanderzalm Construction

Walter Hiltebrand Marine Services

Darrell Weber

Eric & Darci Weinert

Joy Vongphachanh

Anonymous - 2

$250 - $499

Leanne Abramovitz

Sarah Ane

Anthony Petti Real Estate

A-Plus Air

Robert Beach


Gary Benson

Bocchinfuso Funeral Home

Sandra Bolibruck

Boston Pizza - Pen Centre

Jim Bradley

Claudia Brema

Brooker Homes

John Cardillo

CI Investments

Tony & Leslie Cirasuolo

The Cirone Family

Marilyn Coull

Graham Coveney

Mackenzie Cullip

Ed & Anita Curran

Michelle Czaplicki

Angela Davidson

Jason Dell

Ryan Denhollander

Whitney Dillon

Danny DiPardo

Audrey Doran

Kristine Douglas

Holly Krys

Ladies Auxiliary - Canadian Corps Unit 44

Gregory Lavelle

Charles LeGuerrier

Sandy & Frank Leslie

Joe Link

Lions Club of Port Colborne

Brent Longmoore

Kerry MacCarron

The Mackenzie Group Nadeen MacNeil

Jenna MacPherson

Mark Malinowski Right At Home Realty

John & Linda Reiter

Jessie Ritchie

Jeff Robichaud

Rockway Presbyterian Church Women

Grandma & Grandpa Sanders

Michaela Shaw Doug Smith

Kathy Smith

St. Andrews School

St. Catharines Nissan

Matt & Lauren Swindley

Howard Staynes

David Staynes

Darryl & Lisa Strum

“Being a parent, it is comforting to know that should our children need special care, we can access it in our own backyard. Supporting such an amazing Centre in Niagara means that we are, in a small way, helping to provide that comfort to families across our region.”

Matt & Lisa Vinc Community members

Mike & Ashley McCormick

Niagara Caulking & Firestopping

Jaymieson O’Neill

Sebastian Oort

David Orr

Orangetheory Fitness

Pelham Street Grille

Debra Pollice

Marney Portugaise

Rod Portugaise

Richard & Helen Predovich

Pete’s Pizza

Vaino Raun

Meghan Reichheld

Nancy Taylor

Judith Thiessen

Pamela Turnbull

Don & Debbie Thorpe

Lisa Vinc

Walker’s Country Market

Hilda Wiley

Kate Wiley

Leah Williams

Evan & Beth Williamson

Joel Willms

Willoughby Volunteer Fire Department

Madeline Woodhead

Anonymous - 1

567 Glenridge Avenue St. Catharines, ON., L2N 4C2 Phone: 905-688-3550 Charitable Registration Number: 12342 8799 RR0001 Find us on facebook twitter instagram linkedin youtube

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