Developmental Disabilities Counsellor Program – A Student Perspective

DDC Graduation 2016 I have been immersed in the special needs world for 15 years. When my son was diagnosed with autism at age four, I was thrown into a whirl of psychiatrists, therapists and specialists.

I quickly developed a strong appreciation for all of the professionals who put so much effort into supporting my son and our family. I also developed a strong sense of solidarity for individuals with special needs and a keen interest in the field more broadly. Enrolling in the Developmental Disabilities Counsellor Program at Reena enabled me to bring these facets together.

The fact that my son currently lives in a Reena Home presented some challenges. Some of my instructors work directly with him, and I would often reference my own experiences as a mother of an individual supported by Reena in class.

I often found myself switching hats from the viewpoint of a mother to that of an aspiring professional. One example was when I needed to interact with my son’s Reena Home Supervisor the same day that he was instructing in the program. My son’s staff also had to adopt a critical distance when interacting with me in a classroom setting. Overall, I believe my fellow students benefited from hearing a Reena mother’s perspective in the classroom.

I am grateful to Reena for the quality of care my son receives, and for giving me the opportunity to enter the field as a professional. As a mother, I was grateful for an opportunity to observe the quality of education my son’s caregivers support staff receive. I will use the skills and knowledge I acquired in the Developmental Disabilities Counsellor Progra to treat the individuals who I care for professionally with the same dedication and compassion that I would want my son to receive.

- Sylvia, 2016 Developmental Disabilities Counsellor Program Graduate

To learn more about the Developmental Disabilities Counsellor Program at Reena click here.

ReelAbilities | May 11-18, 2017

ReelAbilities Toronto was the first international city to host a ReelAbilities Film Festival in 2016. This Festival is returning to Toronto this year, to champion and create opportunities to showcase disability and Deaf cultures through film, and the art and talent of artists with disabilities and Deaf artists. This years line-up includes Canadian and International premieres. The 2017 ReelAbilities Film Festival will be held on May 11 - 18. To view the full lineup of events click here.

Chag Sameach

Passover Card

We wish you health, happiness and peace this Passover!

Interested in performing a Mitzvah for Pesach? Open your home to an individual supported by Reena! Contact us for more information by clicking here.

Need Passover Cards? We got you covered! Click here to order cards designed by individuals supported by Reena.

Ontario Government Boosting Housing Supports

Reena and the Intentional Community Consortium (ICC), wish to commend Minister Ballard and the Ontario Government on their welcome initiative to boost Housing Supports for up to 6,000 families as announced earlier this week. We all recognize the need of vulnerable communities and are further pleased that Ontario is playing a leadership role in assisting Indigenous communities.

We are also most appreciative of the Province providing funding to our group of more than a dozen developmental services agencies known as the ICC to develop an inclusive, community-based housing strategy for adults with developmental disabilities. This funding is a welcome starting point that we believe will be instrumental in the creation of much-needed housing across Ontario for persons with developmental disabilities.

Looking forward, we would appreciate similar support for the over 18,000 individuals across Ontario with developmental disabilities who are currently experiencing similar needs for secure affordable housing with appropriate supports. The ICC is guided by a vision of creating housing options in communities across Ontario while leveraging collaborative partnerships.

Reena, as lead agency of the ICC, is a non-profit organization which promotes dignity, individuality, independence, personal growth and community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities within a framework of Jewish culture and values.

For more information click here.

Learning To Do Something You Could Be Great At

Kyle Salami Wrap Kyle is a 17 year old young man with an infectious personality. People are just naturally drawn to him. As a teenager with Autism this can be tricky. Kyle has created his own way of getting to know people which he calls a “salami wrap”, where he rolls his tongue and then asks you to do the same. It’s his way of gaining social interaction.

Kyle attends Outreach and Respite Programs at Reena, a non-profit agency which promotes dignity, individuality, independence, personal growth and community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities within a framework of Jewish culture and values.

Just like any other teenager Kyle craves independence. All parents want to teach their children fundamental life skills that will ensure they are successful in becoming an independent adult. Kyle’s parents are no expectation. They believe that "you can’t learn to do something you could be great at if you are never given the chance to try it”.

Reena is a place where Kyle can be himself and reinforce his independence, whether it is an activity he is participating in, interacting with his peers or practicing and gaining life skills. Kyle won’t even allow his family to walk him into the building where he attends program. Reena, for Kyle, means independence. It is where he gets to spend time with people his own age; playing sports, arts and crafts, learning new recipes, going to parties, swimming and Canadas Wonderland.

Reena Ready to Play Recently, through a generous donation from the Toronto Raptors, the group was able watch a courtside practice, game and meet a player. While his family was concerned about how being in an entirely new space with new people would impact Kyle, they knew it was opportunity they couldn’t deny him. Going to the Toronto Raptors game would enable him to test out new social skills.

The most impactful moment of the entire game was when Delon Wright joined the group to answer questions. Kyle stepped out of his comfort zone to greet Delon with a “salami wrap”. Watching Kyle introduce himself to someone new, in his own way, was huge. This gentle moment truly touched the staff team at the game who knew it was so much more than just a simple expression.

Jaime, Kyle’s favorite staff member at Reena, who has watched him mature over the years felt that this moment at the Raptors game with Delon Wright “was a great example of how there is no limit to what a person with Autism can do”. You have to allow people to try new things, even though they may fail, so they can learn to do things they could be great at.

**Cancelled** MyCommunityHub Is Coming To Reena!

**Please note this event has been cancelled.**

Join us on March 29 from 6:30 - 8:30PM at the Toby & Henry Battle Developmental Centre to learn more about how Reena is using MyCommunityHub!

MyCommunityHub is the place to go for great activities offered by Developmental Service Agencies across Ontario. You can browse, register and pay in a few simple clicks.

Please let us know if you will be joining us by clicking here. Deadline to register is March 5, 2017.

To learn more click here
To visit MyCommunityHub click here


Reena Membership It’s time to renew!

Members - please don’t delay we appreciate your renewal today.
Not a member? Join us.

Why join? Reena members can...
  • Sit on a committee
  • Nominate board members
  • Vote to elect nominated board members

  • Reena membership dues...
  • $36 single annual membership
  • $180 single life membership

  • Click here to sign up online
    For more information contact us by clicking here

    Spotlight on Transformation – February 2017

    The February 2017 edition of “Spotlight on Transformation” is available. This bulletin is provided by the Ministry of Community & Social Services and covers the developmental services transformation.

    In this issue:

    • Basic Income for Ontario
    • New Guidelines Help Adults with Challenging Behaviours
    • Ontario Launches New Pilot Marketing Campaign to Promote "LifeShare" Housing

    To view the bulletin click here
    To view previous editions of the bulletin click here

    Reena Foundation Receives $180K Gift!

    On February 22nd, 2017, Reena Foundation received an incredibly generous gift of $180,000 from the Robbins Family. As a lifetime Leaf’s fan, Monty Robbins has brought 60 Carlton St. and 11 Stanley Cups back to life in his basement. Monty dreamed about the day when he would meet his sports hero, Darryl Sittler. Reveling in the dream that one day, his favourite player would make it to Maple Leaf Gardens and sign his wall. Monty’s wish had come true. Darryl graciously joined Reena Foundation for the cheque presentation and autographed the wall in Monty’s basement, dedicated to him. Darryl reminisced about his time as a Toronto Maple Leaf, the crowd was in awe. The original pledge for the donation was $90,000. The Robbins Family was so touched by the experience that they doubled the gift. A portion of the gift will be directed towards the purchase of a wheelchair accessible van. The Family will direct the balance towards another important initiative.

    Leafs Fan Donates to Reena Foundation

    13,000 Adults with Developmental Disabilities Receiving Support

    Ontario Newsroom Bulletin | Ministry of Community and Social Services | February 14, 2017

    Ontario will eliminate the 2014 Passport waitlist by the end of next month -- one year ahead of schedule -- providing direct funding for 13,000 adults with developmental disabilities.

    Passport is a government program that provides direct funding to adults with developmental disabilities so they can take part in community programs, develop work and daily life skills, hire a support worker and live independently.

    When the Passport program was first launched in 2006 it served 1,700 people. Passport now supports more than 19,000 people with developmental disabilities and will continue to grow, supporting an estimated 24,000 recipients by 2017-18.

    As the number of eligible people for Passport funding continues to grow, addressing the waitlist is critical to ensuring that people with developmental disabilities across the province receive the supports they need as soon as possible.

    Supporting adults with developmental disabilities is part of Ontario’s plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

    To learn more click here.

    Program Closure Notice

    Due to the weather Reena's Toby & Henry Battle Developmental Centre Day Programs, Older Adults Program and Workshop at The Schwartz Reisman Centre will be closed tomorrow February 7, 2017.

    Pathways and Channels, North and South, will remain open for Fee for Service individuals only. Please note Reena's Toby & Henry Battle Developmental Centre will have limited staff available for individuals who live with their families and need to attend programs. Training's remain open.

    6th Annual Striking For Reena

    Striking For Reena 2017 Join us for Striking For Reena Presented by Westdale Properties

    If having a blast while raising funds for a great cause is right up your alley... please join us on May 7, 2017 at World Bowl!

    The venue has 40 lanes and bowlers of all ages and skills are welcome. There is no entry fee, but each team (up to 6 bowlers per team) is asked to raise a minimum of $300 per bowler for a total of $1,800 per lane.

    Striking for Reena is overwhelmingly popular because it’s so inclusive. Families, friends and supporters bowl alongside individuals supported by Reena. With family fun at the heart of the event, there’s truly something for everyone:

  • Silent Auction
  • Kids Zone
  • Raffle
  • Food
  • Prizes

  • Click here to register, donate or sponsor!
    Have a question? Click here to contact Shira Lev.
    View photos from last years event by clicking here.

    Agency Compliance 2017

    The Ministry conducts compliance inspections of all Ministry-funded service agencies under the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008 (SIPDDA). The specific standards of care and safety requirements that agencies are required to comply with are set out in Ontario Regulation 299/10 Quality Assurance Measures (QAM) and/or in policy directives.

    The primary purpose of an inspection is to assess service agency compliance with legislation and policy directives, and seek to ensure that service agencies are fully aware of their responsibilities.

    A compliance inspection of Reena took place from January 9, 2017 - January 19, 2017. We are pleased to share that Reena was found to be IN COMPLIANCE with Ontario Regulation 299/10 of SIPDDA (Quality Assurance Measures) and/or policy directives applicable to MCSS-funded services and supports for adults with developmental disabilities.

    Click here to see Reena's Compliance Inspection Letter.

    Celebrating Ontario’s 150th Anniversary with Better Community Spaces

    Ontario Newsroom BulletinMinistry of Tourism, Culture and Sport | January 31, 2017

    Ontario is celebrating its 150th anniversary as a province by improving and renovating over 200 sports facilities, parks, seniors centres, and other community spaces, bringing positive change to communities and families across the province.

    Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, made the announcement today at Gilda's Club Simcoe Muskoka in Barrie, an organization that provides free social and emotional support for people feeling the impact of cancer. Gilda's Club Simcoe Muskoka is receiving $24,000 through the Ontario150 Community Capital Program to make vital infrastructure improvements that will a make a difference in the lives of 2,000 people who benefit from the organization's important services.

    The Ontario150 Community Capital Program will help not-for-profit organizations, municipalities and Indigenous communities renovate, repair and retrofit existing community and cultural infrastructure. This support will be used to increase accessibility, improve safety and maximize community use of public spaces.

    In celebration of Ontario's 150th anniversary, the province has also released a new recording of A Place to Stand (Ontario Song), the province's unofficial anthem. The 50-year-old song has been refreshed to instil a sense of pride and belonging for all.  

    Investing in local communities for Ontario's 150th anniversary is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

    Quick Facts
    • Ontario is investing $25 million in the Ontario150 Community Capital Program to support 203 capital projects.
    • In total, these investments are expected to result in almost 1.4 million square feet of renovated community space and more than 36,000 hours of additional availability for physical activity and arts programming.
    • Ontario is recognizing the historical significance of 2017 with Ontario150, a year-long commemoration that will honour Ontario's past, showcase the present and inspire future generations.
    • The Ontario150 Community Capital Program is one of three community-based Ontario150 grant programs that will promote community engagement, empower young people and contribute to economic growth.
    • The Ontario150 Community Capital Program is administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario and one of Canada’s largest granting foundations.
    • The Ontario Trillium Foundation uses research to guide decision-making and relies on community-based volunteers across Ontario to review applications and guide granting decisions.

    We are extremely grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for selecting Reena as a grant recipient. This grant will enable us to make vital improvements to our flagship location, the Toby & Henry Battle Developmental Centre. 

    To learn more click here.