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GrandABILITITES offers programs for those living with developmental differences (4 photos)

The Fergus-based business has a focus on providing day, evening and respite programs

FERGUS - There is a hub of activities happening at GrandABILITIES.

The Fergus business has been located along the banks of the Grand River in downtown Fergus for the past year. Their focus is providing day, evening and respite programs for person’s living with developmental differences in Centre Wellington.   

Their mandate is to encourage their participants to be fully immersed in the community using a person-centred approach to focus on each individual’s strengths, interests and abilities. They offer an array of activities, events and programs for their participants. All which can be funded with either ODSP or Passport funding.

The new venture is the brainchild of owners Darren and Nancy Crawford. Nancy Crawford has worked in the community for the last twenty five years with various associations and the husband and wife team felt there was a need for this type of programming in Centre Wellington.  

The primary adult day program for those 18 and older runs Monday to Friday.

GrandABILITIES also offers a weekly drop in session on Thursday evening for those participants who are in the transitional youth stage, 14 years and older.

The weekly evening events began as a venue to offer a night out with peers in the community offering such things such as karaoke, bingo, and other fun events.  

Laurie who is one of the regular clients from the day program especially enjoys the bingo nights as Crawford chuckled, “probably, because she usually wins.”  

Darren a contractor by trade has remodelled the GrandABILITIES space, inclusion of a working kitchen, and a computer lab.  In the back area there is a bench where one of their clients Richard is often found busy recycling computers and small engines.  

The clients are not idle for very long, as the monthly calendar keeps them busy offering in house classes along with a lot of activities within the community.  They run a Cottage respite program offered in the month of July. It is a great time for the clients to take a break from the every day and have fun, with lots of activities as well. 

Recently the centre has been awarded funding from the CW Community Futures program to install a mural for their community space. 

Judy Anderson, a local art instructor with the Elora Centre for the Arts teaches the all inclusive Thursday morning arts class at the Elora Centre for arts.  This is one of the weekly events the GrandABILITIES attend.  

Anderson said, “as much as they learn from me, I learn so much more from them”. The all-inclusive art program she teaches is for anyone in the community over who is 18+, Thursday mornings at the ECFA from 10:00 am-11:30am offering a different art project each week. They end the class with singing from 11:30 a.m. to noon with singing with the Elora Festival singers.  

The Kindness Club from the local John Black Elementary School which included students from Grades 4 to 7 recently attended an event at the GrandABILITIES.  They helped with the painting of the newly installed mural created by Anderson, made ice cream, had a scavenger hunt along the river. One of the attendees, Amy a Grade 6 student from the school, shared that her involvement with the project, “helped her see the world thru new eyes”.

Every day is different at GrandABILITIES, some day’s therapy dog, Frankie drops by for a visit for those clients who enjoy animals. Other days participants are busy making birdhouses, playing pool, learning job interview skills, knitting, or gardening to name just a few of the activities that take place at GrandABILITIES.