Canadian Deafblind Association – Sask Chapter, Recipient

A five-year-old boy with hearing, vision and cognitive disabilities moved into a group home provided by the Canadian Deafblind Association – Sask Chapter (CDBA-SK). He couldn’t communicate besides laughing when he was happy and crying when he was sad. He also couldn’t walk. CDBA staff began building a relationship with him and teaching him how to communicate. Ten years later, he communicates his needs with several signs, and he walks with assistance, guiding staff around the house. If he guides them to the kitchen table, it means he wants some food or a drink. If he takes them to the living room, it means he wants to listen to music or watch a movie. The relationships he’s built with staff are significant. CDBA-SK staff make such a huge difference, in part because of fundraisers with useful auction items like bag giveaways. Creating a world of differenceA woman and man in wheelchair smiling in front of minivan CDBA-SK cares for deaf and blind people with cognitive disabilities. There are three group homes, housing 10 individuals total, plus day programs for the group home residents. The day programs are community-based. Participants attend workshops, volunteer at a children’s hospital, wash bays at a dealership, watch movies, get coffee, go to lunch and attend countless other events. When going out wasn’t an option due to COVID-19, staff kept the program going by holding spa days, arts and crafts, book recycling and more inside the group homes. Staff works closely with teachers, therapists and other professionals to continually improve their knowledge and skills to best care for people with cognitive disabilities. In addition, CDBA-SK provides two-day training for staff, where they do deafblind simulations and learn about challenging behaviors. Helping disabled people enjoy fun outings and activities with bag giveaways Every year, CDBA-SK holds a golf tournament fundraiser. Afterwards, there’s a big reception with delicious food and a silent auction. Staff are always looking for great auction items. Thanks to a 4imprint one by one® grant, they were able to order bag giveaways. “We used the bags as the silent auction items and as prizes for the golfers. We love to help our people experience things like eating out, having fun and hotel staycations. However, those fun activities aren’t government funded, so the fundraiser helps provide those funds. We’ve also fundraised for accessible transportation like wheelchairs,” said Leanne Kerr, executive director at CDBA-SK.

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