Reach For It Program – NYC

One of the great things about my job here at Nelson is that I get to wear many hats from Intake Coordinator to Family Support Group leader to Counsellor in one of the After School Therapeutic groups… One of the hats that brings with it so much for fun is my work with the Reach For It program. Reach For It is a recreational program that pairs a child living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) with a Halton Police Officer, the idea is that the children learn to trust and be comfortable with Police Officers in full uniform and the Officers gain a better understanding of the challenges of children living with a neurological disability like FASD.

The Centre plays a role in the planning, organizing and volunteering at these events with other agencies and volunteers from the Halton FASD Parent Working Group. These events range from epic Minute to Win battles involving balancing an Oreo cookie on your forehead to a Spa Day of facials & manicures to making homemade pasta to trying NOT to get lost in a corn maze to running from dinosaurs in front of a Nelson Youth Centres. The laughter and the silliness is contagious at these events and it’s a rare stress free time for these children for them to just be a kid in environment/program that has been adapted to fit their needs. Reach For It also gives the parents an opportunity to have a break for a couple hours, share resources and get support from other parents of children with FASD. These children rarely get invited to birthday parties and when they do often they are not able to manage at the party due to the noise, crowds and need for one to one support. This is why events like Reach For It are so important to these children and the only compliant we get is that running them 5 times a year is simply not enough! When asked what his plans were for the rest of the weekend, one child responded that he was just going to sit in his room and wait for the next event.

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