Special needs group gives empowering experience

Special needs group gives empowering experience

A cheque presentation for $800 donated to Include Program from the Cornwall Community Police Service Hero Bear program. Pictured (from left) Jordan Godard

By Adam Brazeau

CORNWALL, Ontario –Jordan Godard, 23, a member of the Include Program, is ready to live out one of his dreams – going on a shopping spree. A special trip made possible by Art Levert’s vision of one-on-one and small group care for those with special needs.

At a cheque presentation for $800 at the Cornwall police station, Levert announced that the Include Program is looking to expand its modest operation. Police Sgt. Dave Michaud made the donation through the CCPS Hero Bear program; a fundraising initiative for various charities and special needs groups.

“We like to support small groups that don’t get any government funding,” said Michaud.

Levert started the business five years ago, after working with people with special needs for over two decades. He said the donation will go towards a ‘dream outing’ for members of the program.

“Everything they say, do and dream I take very seriously and want to see materialize,” said Levert.

Currently, the program has 10 members and for now, that’s capacity. Levert’s one-man operation is constantly approached for services, not just by parents or guardians, either.

He worked with Godard’s brother before him, and watched as he relished the opportunity to be next.

When asked about all the adventures he’s taken with Include Program, such as kayaking and WWE wrestling in Ottawa, Godard enthusiastically replies, “it makes me feel good.”

Levert is looking to expand in several ways. First is making Include Program a non-profit foundation.

“That will help facilitate funding, secure a location and it will be extremely beneficial to all of the members,” said Levert.

Include Program is presently searching for a clubhouse for one or two weekly get-togethers.

He is also seeking like-minded workers, volunteers and the support of any local agencies or businesses that are able to donate their services for ‘dream outings’ and other events. The outings are funded through charitable donations.

“I’m kinda like a coach,” said Levert. “I give them slight direction and in the end, they handle a piece of their own lives.”

To support the Cornwall Community Police Service Hero Bear program, pick up a bear for $10 at either local police stations or at local businesses such as, McIntosh Massage Therapy, 431 Pitt Street.

For information on Include Program visit www.includeprogram.com or contact (613) 932-4784 or artlevert@yahoo.com.

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