Take The Pledge & Help Us Win $5,000

 GivingTuesday is November 28, 2017!

Giving Tuesday is a Canadian movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after the sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday is a time to celebrate and encourage activities that support charities and non-profits. The “opening day of the giving season,” it is a day when charities, companies and individuals join together to think about others and give something back.

Let CanadaHelps know what you plan to do on GivingTuesday and we could receive a $5,000 donation! Fill out the pledge form here. Need a few ideas for celebrating opening day of the giving season? Here are a you tips to get you started:

To learn more about Giving Tuesday, click here or watch the video below.

Holocaust Education Week 2017

November 2 – 9, 2017

Holocaust Education Week 2017

Holocaust Education Week 2017 examines the post-Holocaust period, and the specific events that have shaped our understanding of the Holocaust. These events stand out as moments of such magnitude that they have dramatically altered the way in which we conceptualise, depict and even talk about the Holocaust. They cross a multitude of disciplines such as cultural productions, cinema and film, literature, history and many others. These moments also differ from one region to another. To learn more click here.

In preparation for Holocaust Education Week, Reena Programs wanted to create something to honor the six million Jewish lives lost during the Holocaust.  In order to do so, the groups started by having an open and informative discussion about the Holocaust. We discussed many things.

To commemorate the lives lost, each participant was given a brick to decorate. The idea behind this project is that each brick would have an important message on it, and together, the bricks would link all of our voices and come together to symbolize something greater. Some of the bricks honored participant’s family members who passed away in the holocaust, while others contained vows to never forget those who were lost. Several of the bricks displayed deeply moving images of people, Jewish stars, and tears.

The groups are committed to continuing discussions of the Holocaust with friends and family, raising awareness and sharing personal stories, in the hope that these atrocities will never happen again.

We’ve Moved In!

Our newest homeOn September 13, 2017 we finally moved into our newest home in Richmond Hill custom build for individuals with more complex needs.

While the six new residents were at school and program our staff teams setup the home; moving belongings, setting up furniture, filling the kitchen with food and making sure everything was just right for the arrival of the homes first occupants. After months of planning and preparing our staff teams were excited that moving day was finally here and took great care to ensure that no detail was overlooked. The individuals were brought back from programs and school straight to their new home.

We are pleased to report that the transition was smooth. As with any move, there was a bit of learning to navigate the new environment, but for the most part everyone is settling in as expected. Our staff teams are seeing the benefit of individualized spaces for complex needs. We are eager to welcome the families for their first visit!

We would like to express our sincerest thanks to everyone that contributed to this project especially; the families, our new neighbors, funders, staff teams, contractors and architects.

Quick Facts About The Home

  • Opened June 23, 2017 in Richmond Hill
  • Custom built for more complex individuals supported by Reena
  • The home includes features such as:
    • Built-in furniture
    • Inset lighting
    • Specialized walls and windows designed to limit injuries
  • Demonstrates the advantages of creating purpose-built housing for specialized needs, as opposed to purchasing and retrofitting existing structures
  • The Ministry of Community and Social Services is providing ongoing annualized operational funding
  • The amount will be determined by the individual support needs of those living in the home
  • What we need now is an investment from our community for the development of the home

Canada 150 Skating Day & Hanukkah Party

We will be hosting a Public Skate and Hanukkah party at the Mastercard Centre on December 10 to help celebrate Canada 150 Skate Day!  

DATE: December 10
TIME: 12:30 – 3:30PM
LOCATION: Mastercard Centre – 400 Kipling Ave., Toronto, ON
RSVP: (with skate size for rental) to jmarco@reena.org by December 4, 2017

Join us for:

  • Cookie decorating
  • Skating
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Music
  • Pizza lunch with mini jelly doughnuts and snacks!

Transportation will be provided if needed from Reena, 927 Clark Ave West, Thornhill.

There will be a $5 charge to rent skates. Please click here to let us know your skate size and/or to let us know you are coming.  

MasterCard Centre LogoJSMHT Logo


Take Action: Ensure Access to Affordable Housing

Action Alert For Affordable Housing

Unfortunately, far too many vulnerable Canadians don’t have access to safe, clean, and supported housing. For example, 90% of people with developmental disabilities live below the poverty line. I hope you agree – this needs to change.

This is why we are asking for your help today to help us address this critical housing issue.

Across the country, legislatures are returning to work for their fall session. We need your help to send them a message that there is urgent need to enact sensible policies to help alleviate the difficulties persons with disabilities face when attempting to access affordable housing. 

We need your help. Take action today and send Premiers from across the country an email asking that their governments explicitly earmark a set allocation of affordable housing funds for people with disabilities. This should include 5% of total affordable housing spending directed to support people with developmental disabilities. If you consider yourself a caring Canadian, then act now!

As we approach the harsh realities of winter, we need to take urgent action. Please take a moment to act now!

No Shush Shabbat – Kabbalat Shabbat

Date: October 27, 2017
Time: 6:00-9:00PM
Location: Holy Blossom Temple

Come alone or with your whole family to a relaxed, playful, and accessible Shabbat experience.

Join in a participatory, family friendly, relaxed and sensory-friendly service at 6PM, led by Rabbi Noam Katz followed by a vegetarian pizza and salad dinner.
This event is FREE but space and food are limited so register at the link below.

*Wheelchair accessible.

To request accommodations (e.g. ASL, large print handouts, kosher food, other allergy-friendly food) please contact: Annie Matan anniem@mnjcc.org or 416-924-6211 x 388.

Presented by Miles Nadal JCC, Holy Blossom Temple, Matanot Lev, CIJA, UJA Itanu, Reena, and Congregation Shir Libeynu.



Focus Group Invitation

Please join us on Thursday October 26th, 2017

Reena  provides  supports  and   services,  including    day  program  and outreach programs, to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Our aim is to support individuals based on their interests, abilities and strengths.

Since early September, we have been seeking feedback from our stakeholders with the focus being on program content, locations, times, structure and cost.

Our goal is to gain feedback to ensure that our programs are meeting your needs and remain cost effective.

We would like to invite current participants/families and potential participants/families to join us in a facilitated session to share your ideas, thoughts and hopes. **Onsite respite available on request.

Date: Thursday October 26th, 2017
Time: 7PM – 9PM
Location: Reena, Toby & Henry Battle Developmental Centre, 927 Clark Avenue West, Vaughan
RSVP on Eventbrite or by emailing  kcpsolutions2@gmail.com or calling (289) 221.9665

If you have any questions regarding this review, you are welcome to contact Kelly Casey, KC Professional Solutions at (289) 221.9665 or kcpsolutions2@gmail.com.

“You have an opportunity to shape your community”

This Sukkot, Advocate for Affordable Housing

Take Action - affordable housing for people with disabilities

This week, Jewish children around the world will gather in their family’s sukkah, wave the four species, and learn from their parents and grandparents the traditions of the beautiful festival of Sukkot. 

There are many powerful lessons to be drawn from the rich symbols of this festival. One favourite is the idea that the four species – the etrog, lulav, hadass, and aravah – represent the diverse spectrum of the Jewish people, and it is only when we are united that we can achieve our unique purpose. 

The sukkah itself is a poignant reminder that, despite the material prosperity represented by our permanent homes, it is our Creator who sustains us – a fact that should inspire the gratitude and humility symbolized by our temporary dwelling.

It is a lesson that should also direct our energies to advocacy. Tragically, far too many in our community and throughout Canada continue to struggle with inadequate, inaccessible, or unaffordable housing.

While many are affected, people with disabilities are among the most vulnerable. It is a sobering reality that 9 in 10 Canadians with developmental disabilities live in poverty. This is completely unacceptable in a country as prosperous as Canada! 

This is why, working in close consultation with Jewish social service agencies, we are calling on all three levels of government to designate a set allocation of affordable housing funds for people with disabilities. To specifically help individuals with developmental disabilities, we are also urging governments to ensure that 5% of all affordable housing funding is devoted to those in this acutely vulnerable group.

To achieve this, we need your help. Just as the four species must be united to fulfill their purpose, our work is incomplete without the active engagement of our grassroots. Before you begin celebrating Sukkot, we ask that you take one minute – right now – to join us in telling our elected officials that affordable housing is a priority for you.

Navigating The Cliff After 18

Join us on November 22 from 7:00 – 9:00pm!

FREE interactive forum on transition planning for
individuals with developmental disabilities and families/
friends who support them. Join us as we discuss making
the transition from school to community.

DATE: November 22
TIME: 7:00 – 9:00pm

LOCATION: Toby & Henry Battle
Developmental Centre
927 Clark Ave West, Thornhill

RSVP: info@reena.org by November 8
www.reena.org | @reenafoundation

Spotlight On Transformation – September 2017

The September 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:

  • MCSS Delivers Progress on Developmental Services Transformation in Ontario
  • Agency Empowers Through New Job Path Program
  • Interim Assistant Deputy Minister of the Community and Developmental Services Division
  • DS Housing Task Force Projects Demonstrating Success

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

We Want To Hear From You

Reena provides supports and services, including  day program and outreach programs, to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Our aim is to support individuals based on their interests, abilities and strengths.

Over the next three months, we will be seeking feedback from all of our stakeholders including staff, volunteers, individuals/families and community partners. We will be specifically focusing this review on program content, locations, times, structure and cost.

Our goal is to gain feedback to ensure that our programs are meeting your needs and remain cost effective.

We look forward to engaging you at various levels of this review through open houses, surveys and individual discussions.

If you have any questions regarding this review,  you are welcome to contact  Kelly Casey, KC Professional Solutions at 289-221-9665 or kcpsolutions2@gmail.com

Our Trip to Camp Wahanowin

On our way to Camp WahanawinWe had a very busy summer at Camp Reena this year and one of the highlights was an overnight trip to Camp Wahanowin. Here is a recap from our Outreach Staff Team about this amazing excursion.

Arriving at Camp Wahanowin, we were greeted with the friendly faces of campers and staff. Wahanowin staff had Reena campers introduce themselves in a circle, making us feel extremely welcomed and excited for the rest of our stay. Reena campers participated in arts and crafts, as well as, swim activities guided by the Leadership in Training Program (LTPs). Both Wahanowin campers and staff were very interested in getting to know us all on a personal level. At lunch time in the dining hall, Reena was introduced to the entire camp and several LTPs joined our tables. Some assisted by bringing food, accommodating various dietary needs and adding to the inclusive atmosphere. In order to make it easily accessible for Reena campers, ramps were placed in front of cabins, the dining hall and washrooms. In addition, the cabins we occupied were located close to the main buildings and to the lake, making it easier to get around.

During the overnight, Camp Wahanowin created activities specific for Reena, such as a beach party, late night tubing and a bonfire. The whole camp participated in the beach party and everyone had an absolute blast! LTPs would visit our cabins throughout the day to see if they could join in any of the activities, which made Reena campers feel like part of the camp community. We were taken on a sailing lesson and both campers and staff got their level one boating certifications along with bracelets to show their accomplishment. Before leaving, Wahanowin campers came to our cabins to say goodbye.

The Reena campers that stayed overnight expressed that they had an experience of a lifetime and did not want to leave; some made new friends in such a short time. It was clear that a lot of effort and thought was put into our visit, which was very much appreciated by both campers and staff. Overall, it was a wonderful experience enjoyed by all and one that will hopefully be repeated.

A big thank you to everyone at Camp Wahanowin!

A Fresh Lens on Inclusion with Dr. Sarah Kranz-Ciment

Date: Monday, October 30
Location: BAYT Synagogue (613 Clark Ave West)
Time: 8:00PM
Admission: $10.00 Raffles Available

Join Dr. Kranz-Ciment in discussing “A Fresh Lens on Inclusion | Fish Don’t Climb Trees”!

Dr. Kranz-Ciment is a physical therapist and has been a strong advocate for the disability community for over ten years. She is the founder of Steps PT and the director of the Friendship Circle of Virginia, a non-profit organization that empowers social opportunities for children and individuals with disabilities. Additionally, Sarah is the Project Director for the Ruderman Chabad Inclusion Initiative which aims to create an inclusive environment in Chabad Houses around the world. Sarah lives with her husband and children in Richmond, VA.

Rebounds For Reena

Rebounds for Reena is an inaugural basketball tournament in support of Reena Foundation. The event will take place on August 27 at 9600 Bathurst Street in Vaughan (Bathurst & Rutherford). Rebounds for Reena will include up to 16 basketball teams that will compete for the Rebounds Championship. A Bump Tournament will be held at halftime, where individuals supported by Reena will be invited to participate. There is no entry fee, but each team (up to 5 players per team) is asked to raise a minimum of $180 per player for a total of $540 per team. Special for Students and Young Professionals. Min $90 fundraising goal!

For details click here or contact us by clicking here.