LANCASTER, Ontario – The Hub for Beyond 21 presented a pitch to South Glengarry Township Council for financial support for their new building.
Tish Humphries, founder of Beyond 21 and the current President explained the need in the community.
Her daughter, Emma, who is non-verbal was preparing to leave high school, but the Humphries family was worried that she would lose her support.
“I didn’t sleep for a month,” Humphries said. “We had the best services for Emma growing up, now at 21, they were a forgotten population.”
Through advertising in Seaway News Humphries sought out other parents who were in a similar situation as her.
“There was a dad who was a mechanic had to take his daughter to work where she would sit in a chair all day,” she told council. “We needed to create a hub where our forgotten population could be cared for, respected and active in their community.”
Soon, Beyond 21 was born. Eight years after beginning their operations, Beyond 21 was gifted a new home at 1924 Pitt St. in Cornwall. The new site is 800 sq. ft.
Beyond 21 hopes to raise $750,000 by May 2020 to renovate the building.
Humphries explained that Beyond 21 currently supports 50 families in the region, and that the new site would allow them to support an additional 10 to 15 families approximately.
Beyond 21 receives no annual government funding. It promotes itself as a space that adults with developmental disabilities can engage with their community in a safe and supportive way.
Rhona Munro, a Board Member of Beyond 21 presented a testimonial from one of Beyond 21’s participants.
“Do not limit me because I have Down Syndrome,” read the testimonial from Katrina who is a participant at Beyond 21. “I am a free woman who deserves to be treated with respect and love. I am a kick-butt intelligent woman. I may be a disabled Down Syndrome adult, but I will never give up on one opportunity because I believe that everybody can make their own destinies come true. Anything is possible as long as we have each other.”
Council seemed receptive to Humphries’ and Munro’s message.
“I’ve had the privilege to hear this presentation twice now and it is even more powerful the second time around,” said Councillor Stephanie Jaworski.
Council received a presentation and directed administration to formulate a report on possibilities to financially support Beyond 21 in their renovation project.