Roots 2 Wings began in August 2013 from my renovated garage after much planning and preparation. It started with 3 clients and just myself working. It has now grown to 50 clients with over 7 staff, not including me, and Coop students from St. Clair College, University of Windsor, triOS college, and 3 local high schools.
It began as a resolution to a problem that I had trouble finding qualified and consistent in-home workers for my son after school, and also for summer hours while I worked. Additionally, when my son turned 18 years old he could no longer receive SSAH funding which helped to pay for in-home workers. When someone who has a disability turns 18 years old they are assessed by the DSO and put on waitlists for services and funding.
All of this factored into my decision to leave my career that I loved, working at CNIB with the blind, to start a program for youth and young adults who have a disability from my home. In November 2013 the program grew so I began using space at the Peace Lutheran Church, they were very generous and kind to our clients.
Then in June 2014 I rented out a store front in Pillette Village and was there for 15 months before moving to a fully accessible location, R2W South on Jefferson Blvd. In November 2015, we won a $10,000 ADP grant with the help of triOS college’s and the communities votes on Facebook. This enabled us to buy new equipment, microphones, amps, iPads, kitchen supplies, and a change bed and Hoya lift in order to be fully wheelchair accessible. In June 2016, we opened our second location R2W North on Jefferson Blvd. in Windsor.
Each program offers unique features and are central for our clients. We hope to expand in Essex County in the near future. It has been the dedication and support of our clients, their families, community partners including Passport, Family Respite, UAD, CNIB, to name of few for spreading the word about our family-centred program. We offer a 1:3 ratio (caregiver to client) and focus on giving the clients a self-directed plan that involves giving them a sense of belonging.