Living the DREAM

Since you are reading this report, you have some interest in The Centre for Dreams. If this is your first occasion to learn about us, welcome! We are happy to include you in our circle of friends. To our loyal supporters and friends, welcome back! I am excited to share with all of you the exciting work and accomplishments from this past year.

As the Executive Director of The Centre for Dreams, I hold a very important position. For not only am I charged with upholding the principals and core values upon which we were founded, but I am also deeply connected to our mission and vision as the sister of our very first member. I have only known life being surrounded by “special” people. To me, this is my normal. I don’t see someone with Down’s Syndrome, or Autism, or one who is retarded, I see the person who loves me. You see, the members of The Centre for Dreams are not special because of their abilities or challenges, they are special because they love unconditionally and they love wholeheartedly! Each day, I am greeted with big smiles and hugs by all of our members. No matter what challenges I face, my day is brighter because I am loved by these very special people.

The question of being “labelled” is what our “Living Beyond the Label” campaign is all about. Launched in 2013, Living Beyond the Label is an awareness project to help everyone experience the person, and not be stalled by a label. This concept is skillfully demonstrated by my brother John in a video that you can watch below. Stripping away the labels of imbecile, retarded, mental and handicapped, we finally see the bright and happy person underneath it all! Our goal for the coming year is to continue to spread the word to look past old notions and see the person beyond the label. Please visit our booth at community events or invite us to your local schools – we are committed to empowering our members in their community – we want to go beyond acceptance and foster a welcoming community who truly understands Living Beyond the Label.

Member Accomplishments

The majority of our members have been with us for many years, so year after year, we are fortunate to witness them progressing toward achieving their life goals. What some may view as small steps brings great joy to all of our staff and especially to the family members who see the changes at home as well. Below are just a few examples. These successes are life-changing, and indicators that we are indeed staying true to our mission of providing the opportunities and the means for our youth and adult members to focus on their abilities and not their disabilities through educational, social and life skill programs.

Hover over the image to pause the slide show.

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MARCEL

In the past year Marcel has shown his eagerness to do more job training. It is one of his goals to obtain a job. He takes direction well and always volunteers when there is something to be done! It is because of his leadership that Marcel has become a mentor and role model for his friends at DREAMS. Keep up the amazing work Marcel! We are so proud of you for your hard work and positive attitude.

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JEANY

Jeany has really dedicated herself to increasing her independence this past year. She consistently applies her life skills in her daily routine from showering every day to making her own lunch. We love that the first thing she does when coming to DREAMS is tell the staff what she has done on her own! Her excitement and happiness is encouraging and contagious. Jeany, you are doing a great job!

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MANOJ

For those of you who know Manoj, he is normally quiet, shy and often plays coy. However, this year he has shown a totally different side by communicating more, taking more initiative i.e. helping to clean up, and further developing his independence skills. Manoj has improved so much since he first began attending our program and we could not be more happy about his progress. It has been refreshing to see him try new things and take on new responsibilities.

Supporting the DREAM

41%

That’s how much of our revenue comes from direct contributions from the community, corporations and from our hosted and third party events.

While The Centre for Dreams operates with much appreciated funding from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, that funding represents only 15% of our budget. The remainder of our budget is determined by support from our donors, revenue from fee-for-service clients, and proceeds from our fundraising efforts.

Actual Cost Per Member
90
Subsidized Fee
48
Member Pays
42

Our philosophy is to not turn anyone away, therefore we subsidize the member fees to ensure that everyone is able to attend our program, even those who have government funding. That is why our fund raising events and community support is so very important.

2013 was another successful year in terms of fund raising events, participation in community events, and launching important community-based campaigns, like the “Living Beyond the Label” campaign I told you about earlier. The Centre for Dreams team had fun at many community events including the Santa Clause Parade, the Auto Show and the HOH Dances where we continue to meet new friends and supporters.

Our friends from the “King of Nothing” band hosted the “Dreams Rockin’ Bash” on our behalf – everyone enjoyed a fun evening at SMASH Kitchen & Bar with proceeds of $8,000 coming to us. Thank you for your ongoing support!

Our 2013 Gala, A Night in Rio, brought in revenue of just over $70,000. The event was filled with fun, friends and a lot of feathers! Please watch the video below to see how we celebrate!

The Gala was also the forum to launch our Simply Beautiful Collection. This very unique collection of bracelets and necklaces are designed and made by our own members. Off to a great start, the Simply Beautiful Collection brought in $943.00. You can find our collection for sale at our community events booth. And, watch for the launch our very own Simply Beautiful Collection website in 2014 where you may purchase online and even send a gift to a friend or loved one.

After reading through this Annual Report, I hope that you will see why I am so passionate about The Centre for Dreams and the amazing people we serve.