Continued Growth: Prestigious Grant Awarded to SAAAC
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), originally conceived as the Trillium Foundation in the early 1980s, was formed with the purpose of funding community initiatives in mind. Initially founded to support the social service sector through grants, the OTF has expanded to include support for arts, culture, sports, recreation and the environment, over the past twenty years. The OTF currently allocates $120 million to grants in 16 different catchment areas across the province serving both urban and rural communities. The Foundation’s mandate of community building and enhancing the voluntary sector has fittingly coincided with SAAAC’s efforts to do the same and resulted in the granting of $90,000 over two years to enhance SAAAC’s capacity to serve families in the York Region impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
SAAAC is elated to announce this partnership with the OTF as it allows for families on SAAAC’s waitlist to receive services and support prior to entering the program. The grant will allow for the hiring of a Client Support Worker (CSW) whose goal will be to provide intervention for South Asian parents impacted by ASD in York Region who are unable to receive any form of/minimal support in the community because of waitlists. The York Region, home to a burgeoning South Asian demographic, is susceptible to the challenges that arise from language and cultural barriers which accompany diasporic populations. These challenges are only exacerbated when coupled with the impact of any disability – a largely unexplored and rarely discussed topic within South Asian circles. The CSW’s purpose is to level the playing field for these parents who have children with ASD yet are burdened with the weight of taboo, misinformation or isolation. This will be done by: equipping parents with the self-esteem and knowledge to make informed decisions; ensuring that there are clear avenues of communication between parents and any service provider; and moving parents toward self-reliance while simultaneously creating networks of support within the community.
SAAAC looks forward to embarking on this new initiative and is ecstatic about OTF’s support for a project which will transform the lives of over 30 families in the York Region. This, in turn, will inevitably have a positive impact on the entire community.