Dear Lindsey Park:
We are writing to voice our concerns about the provincial government’s decision to cancel funding for Independent Planning Facilitators.
We live on Ambleside Drive on Scugog Island and voted for you in the last election. Our 22 year old daughter Cristina was diagnosed early with a speech and language disability, epilepsy, and a developmental disability. Thankfully she was a candidate for brain surgery at Sick Kids and the surgery was a success and she is now seizure free. After High School she gradually withdrew and became depressed and suicidal. We reached out to get Cristina help and she saw councillors at Frontenac, Lakeridge Oshawa Psychology Outpatient services, Catholic Family Services, Durham Family Counselling in Uxbridge, Community Living Durham North. None of these people were able to help Cristina and she was getting more depressed. From Aug 2017 to Mar 2018 she spent a total of 15 weeks in Lakeridge Oshawa and Ontario Shores…. How much would that have cost?
Through DSO we were connected with Darlene Douma , an independent facilitator from “Families for a Secure Future”. She took the time to get to know Cristina (not easy) and was able to build trust with her. She worked with her on her goals and dreams. She found her 2 jobs in areas that Cristina was interested in. She took the time to talk to the employer, she coached Cristina on interview skills, then she job shadowed her until she felt comfortable. Periodically, she would check back with the employer to see how she was doing.
Darlene came to us last Aug when her Mgr. Judith McGill asked Darlene if she had any clients that would like to share a 2-bedroom apartment in Whitby with a woman that she had been working with for 10 years. It was a slow process. The girls came to our house and went out on the kayaks, had a few dinners together. Cristina moved in Nov. 1, 2018. We will have follow up meetings with the girls , Darlene and Judith and both sets of parents regularly to smooth out any problems that might arise. Darlene helped Cristina land a job doing prep work in a restaurant which is what Cristina wanted. She job shadowed her again and Cristina loves her job. Cristina learned the bus system quickly. She is doing her own banking and ordering her medications. She likes to eat healthy. She looks up recipes on the internet, researches ingredients online and walks or takes transit to shop for the ingredients.
Cristina has applied to Durham College in the Culinary Arts program starting next Sept. It is called the CICE program and they only take 20 students with developmental disabilities. We are not sure if she will get in, but Darlene is taking her to her interview Feb 4. Darlene really goes above and beyond to help these kids! Cristina has blossomed so much and is so happy now; we are so happy for her and us too.
During this time Craig was paralysed in hospital with Guillain- Barre Syndrome, which thankfully he recovered from. Anne went through a complicated knee replacement, after having 7 hip replacements previously. We were also dealing with our Son Andrew going through mental health issues at Ontario Shores and Waypoint Mental Health Hospital.
Having an independent facilitator like Darlene was a lifeline. We don’t know where we would all be now without her.
There are a lot of families like ours that have been helped by “Families for a Secure Future”.
Please help to get the funding restored for this program!
Craig and Anne Hucal