By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
For Sam Keane, Grandview Children’s Centre has been a game changer.
The teen has been coming to the Oshawa facility for six years to help with the challenges he faces with cerebral palsy.
“They’ve helped me to better myself, they helped me to walk and get physio with my legs,” he says.
“And with the social programming, I’ve been able to meet other kids.”
Keane is one of many success stories out of Grandview – however, there remains thousands of other youths on a waiting list for the centre’s services, and many are growing tired of waiting.
Braving the cold and armed with signs, about 100 people flooded the centre’s back lot to drum up support for getting shovels in the ground at a new planned site in Ajax.
Lorraine Sunstrum-Mann, Grandview’s CEO, says that the last missing piece for a new Grandview is the provincial government.
“We have a business case in front of the (provincial) government, and we have had meetings recently with the Premier’s office, the treasury board, and the Ministry of Infrastructure. They have all indicated a very positive to our plan – we are just waiting for the financial commitment,” she tells The Oshawa Express.
“We have been at this for nine years. We’ve reviewed statistics many years, we’ve looked at two designs, at two parcels of land, and we are now in the best place we’ve ever been so it’s time to approve.”
Sunstrum-Mann says a new Grandview is badly needed because the current facility is far too small for what is needed in Durham Region, nor was it designed with today’s problems in mind.
“This space that was designed at this location 30 years ago was designed predominately for children with physical disabilities in mind, and a very small number of kids,” she says.
“The service we provide now to almost 10,000 kids require much different kinds of space and different designs for children with neurodevelopmental issues, particularly autism, and other diagnoses that we just weren’t seeing 30 years ago. We don’t actually have the adequate space to support the children and, as importantly, to support their families.”
Kathy Keane, Sam’s mother, says that she hopes to see shovels in the ground soon so that more children can receive the life altering services that her son did.
“It’s heartbreaking that so many are on the waiting list,” she says. “It’s an amazing facility, but there’s not enough room.”