New programs on the move at Beyond 21

Nick Seebruch
New programs on the move at Beyond 21
Gerry K.

CORNWALL, Ontario – With the New Year, Beyond 21 is busy developing exciting new programs and events to help developmentally disabled adults better integrate into the community.

UPDATE: This article originally stated that the Lion’s Club is partnering with Beyond 21 for Food Fest. It is in fact Kinsmen Cars in motion and corrections have been made to reflect that.

One such program will pair Beyond 21 participants with volunteers from the community, much in the style of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. The program will help create connections between the participants of Beyond 21 and the greater community.

"We want to be a hub for the developmentally disabled," said Beyond 21 Executive Director Jane McLaren. "What we don’t want to be is an isolated centre from the outside world."

Beyond 21 President Tish Humphries said that the program would be the results of a strong partnership with the community.

"I’m very grateful for the community in Cornwall and SD&G," she said. "Organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters have be a great help in getting this project off the ground."

The first step in the new project will be finding volunteers, vetting and training them so that they are a good fit for the Beyond 21 participants.

Beyond 21 is also seeking to create community resources for their participants and others who work with the developmentally disabled.

The organization has received two years of funding from the Safer and Vital Communities Grant.

With money from funding from the first year of the grant, Beyond 21 will be holding a series of workshops on a variety of subjects for the developmentally disabled.

Some workshops include lessons on relationships, safe sex, technology, cyberbullying, dealing with the police and first aid. These workshops will be conducted by community partners such as the Sexual Assault Support Services for Women (SASS), The Red Cross and the Police.

The first workshop will be on confidence and resilience and will be conducted by Youth Now Canada.

"In the past there has been difficulty in getting access to some of these programs," said Program Coordinator Sara Murphy. "We want to help participants realize that they have a voice."

The programs are opened to anyone who is developmentally disabled and of the age of 16 and they are free.

In the second year of this program, Beyond 21 will be creating booklets based on these workshops to be used as a resource by the community and other organizations.

Beyond 21 is also gearing up for some exciting fundraising events in 2017, the first being the Snowshoe race on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Upper Canada Village. It is a night time snowshoe race through the beautifully light Upper Canada Village and the only one of its kind in the Dion Snowshoe series.

That same day ther will be a Wine Fest at the Ramada Inn in support of Beyond 21.

In February, Beyond 21 will be hosting a Chili Cook Off on Feb. 11.

All this and more will be leading up to the biggest Beyond 21 event of the summer, Food Fest.

Food Fest will be bigger and better than ever this year and Beyond 21, Kinsmen Cars in Motion and CoTiCon will be teaming up to take over Lamoureux Park and the downtown section of Pitt Street.

Beyond 21 has grown a lot since it began five years ago. Starting with two members of staff and five participants, Beyond 21 has grown to 40 participants and recently welcomed their eighth staff member.

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