We are liiiiiiiiiive!!!!
Meaning the Windsor Star has picked up our message. Front page news!!!! There has been a great deal of interest demonstrated by the citizens of Windsor that this program is at risk. There have been numerous comments written of care and concern, people sharing their personal experiences. Some wonderful person has started a petition. There has also been one gentleman, Dave, who made a you tube video about what the program meant for him over 30 years ago. Please follow along with us as we educate and try to gain support for the JMCC preschool program.
Here is the link to the article. Where you can watch a video of 2 of my hero parents speaking about their child's experience at the JMCC preschool.
Here is the text to the article if you just wanna read now (written by Craig Pearson from the Windsor Star):
Windsor’s only preschool special-needs child care facility will close after 37 years in operation due to a change in provincial funding.
The John McGivney Children’s Centre Preschool Program ends Aug. 31, since the facility is unable to find funding to replace the $360,000 a year that the Ontario Ministry of Education has stopped providing.
The program closure will put eight to 10 teachers and support staff out of work and will leave some of the area’s most vulnerable children and their families without proper child care.
“It’s a tremendous loss for the community,” John McGivney Children’s Centre CEO Elaine Whitmore said. “I’m very concerned about how it’s impacting the quality of life not only for the children but for the families, as well.
“These are families that need child care desperately. Often with some of these children, the parents provide 24-hour care, seven days a week.”
In 2012, the City of Windsor said it would only provide subsidies to families that meet a provincial test for need, as required by the Ministry of Education. Like other child-care funding, the province wanted the McGivney program to charge users, while the government provided subsidies for low-income families.
“In the instance where government funds a program and a subsidy is provided, the expectation is to provide the subsidy on a needs-basis to ensure it is delivered to those requiring additional support,” Ministry of Education spokesman Gary Wheeler said Thursday in an email.
The City of Windsor provided transitional funding for a while but will no longer do so.
When the funding change took effect, the John McGivney preschool program had 63 children, with 29 more on a waiting list. To cover part of the shortfall, the centre raised the daily rate it charged parents from $36 to $75.
The program’s enrolment has already dropped to 27, Whitmore said, since most families simply cannot afford the higher cost associated with the specialized facility. And relatively few families qualify for subsidies.
The preschool program began when the John McGivney Children’s Centre opened its doors in 1978. The centre has grown over the years and now annually helps about 2,500 children with physical, neurological and developmental challenges. It operates with a staff of 140 and an annual budget of almost $10 million.
Its preschool area is filled with colourful toys in baskets, an accessible playground, and little tables and chairs, all mixed with specialized complex-needs equipment. Its Snoezelen Room — outfitted with a smorgasbord of lights, sounds and things to touch — is a padded haven for little ones needing relaxation or stimulation.
Lena Walsh says her three-year-old daughter Madison — who has a rare condition called Edwards Syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that leaves her unable to talk or walk — has improved dramatically thanks to the McGivney preschool program.
“I’ve seen such a difference in her in two years, it’s amazing,” said Lena, an inside sales person. “Her personality, her overall demeanour, has blossomed.”
Lena said McGivney staff have helped Madison Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with crawling, reaching and grasping. Plus, Madison — who sometimes needs oxygen and suctioning — can still interact with other children, all in a safe setting.
“It’s very sad that it’s closing,” Lena said. “There are so many kids who can benefit from this program.
“It’s stressful not knowing if your daughter’s going to be safe, if you’re going to get a call that an ambulance has shown up because of a mishap. But I’ve never worried since she’s been here.”
Windsor Coun. Bill Marra thinks the city can do more.
An administration report on the situation recently came to council though Marra asked for a deferral till May 19 so that more information can be considered. The report says that providing the McGivney Centre money against the Ministry of Education funding model would jeopardize the entire $32 million the city receives annually for child care in Windsor and Essex County.
“I would be shocked if that is accurate,” Marra said. “You don’t risk funding by asking questions of your funding body.”
Marra wants to find out what options, if any, exist.
“Before we affect any change, council should first find out who truly has the capacity to provide this service,” Marra said. “These are the most vulnerable young people because of the acute specialized needs they have.
“If we’re not taking care of our own, then that’s wrong.”
Vince Laframboise agrees. His son Connor died at the age of four last April from a rare condition called multiple sulfatase deficiency. Still, Vince said Connor’s happiest days were the two years he spent in the McGivney preschool program.
“If it wasn’t for this place, he would never have walked,” Vince said. “He probably wouldn’t have crawled. We wouldn’t have seen that kind of happiness with him.
“There’s no other place like this in the county. There’s something terribly wrong with a system that allows a place like this to close.”
Here is the link to sign the petition - SIGN IT!!!
Here is Dave's You Tube video:
Thank you all in advance for your support. I can't tell you what it means to us as parents. We are trying to give our children the BEST POSSIBLE START and we believe from the bottom of our hearts that the JMCC preschool program is the place to do it.
Please stayed tuned…THANK YOU KINDLY!