Working with a variety of Partners in Integration throughout the province of Ontario, Reach for the Rainbow provides integrated recreation, respite and outreach opportunities designed to engage the hearts and minds of all individuals. Our programs encourage environments for typical children and individuals to live, play, work and inspire themselves alongside children and youth with disabilities, creating transformative experiences of belonging. What makes Reach for the Rainbow particularly unique is the fact that we started out and remain today an umbrella for all disabilities – both developmental and physical.
Why is Reach for the Rainbow important to the community?
It has been said that “it takes a village to raise a child”. This adage holds particularly true when referring to children with disabilities. Prior to the 1970’s children with disabilities were segregated, undervalued, shunned, hidden and/or institutionalized. They were referred to as mentally retarded, profoundly handicapped, identified solely by disability as special needs kids, and other such derogatory terms. Fortunately times have changed. Reach for the Rainbow has opened doors by advocating for legislative change for individuals with disabilities, promoting public awareness, developing a tangible model for effective integration and family respite and impacting hundreds of thousands of lives over the past 25 years.
However, Reach for the Rainbow cannot do it alone. We appreciate at the core of our commitment is attitudinal change and attitudes can neither be dictated or legislated. The Reach for the Rainbow environment not only fosters an atmosphere of acceptance, tolerance and understanding: we take acceptance to the point of it “being cool”; we take tolerance to the level of active engagement; and understanding now means inspiration. Because All Children Belong!
- Once a camp site or program is selected Reach for the Rainbow:
- Reserves the space directly with the camp or program - then families register their child(ren)
- Co-ordinates 1:1 support counsellor
- Provides the camp and 1:1 support worker with specific information regarding the individual’s needs (i.e. communication, hygiene, grooming, nutritional, medication) according to the profile
- Provides training to entire camp staff regarding disability awareness and successful strategies for integration
- Reserves accessible transportation if required
- Offers the use of its adaptive equipment (i.e. all terrain wheel chairs and adaptive games)
- Delivers required equipment to the camp site prior to the child’s arrival
- Regular resource visits to partner camps
- In touch with Partner Camps 24 hrs a day
Reach for the Rainbow has proven wholeheartedly that the rewards to children with disabilities are not outweighed by the benefits to able children, their families and the community at large. In short, healthy families make for healthy kids, resulting in healthy communities.