JMCC has been a part of our lives since before our daughter Amanda even had her first birthday. Now she is six years old and attends the JMCC school. We have been asked the question, "What would you have done if the John McGivney Children’s Centre did not exist?" and even trying to think of an answer fills me with fear and anxiety. One of my very first memories of the JMCC was the immediate offer of support, no questions asked. We were so relieved that we did not have to hear that dreaded line, "We'll put you on the waiting list and let you know if a spot comes up". We knew from the very beginning that this place was going to help our daughter with a disability reach her fullest potential. Amanda started receiving physiotherapy and occupational therapy immediately after our first visit to the Centre. Her therapists have always been very friendly, caring, and excellent communicators, not only with us but with each other. They have been our experts in teaching us about the therapeutic and mobility aids that would benefit Amanda. One of our most exciting moments was when Amanda's physiotherapist put her on a specially made bike, and took a video for us of Amanda pedalling all by herself around the Centre. We sent that video out to as many family and friends as we could, and there was a lot of cheering and teary eyed people that evening. We went out immediately after and ordered Amanda her very own bike! Amanda started in the JMCC preschool program when she was three years old and from then on we were hooked! The preschool teachers were absolutely amazing! our child there and leaving her in their care. We knew Amanda was going to get the care, attention, and stimulating program that she would need to thrive. And that is exactly what she did. The change in her because of the incredible preschool program was amazing! Amanda's journey at JMCC has continued into her school years. She is now in grade one and it is wonderful for me to say that my daughter LOVES going to school. The teachers are fantastic, and excel at setting up a program that is stimulating, challenging, fun, and meets the needs of Amanda. The teachers and educational assistants work closely with the therapists to maintain an open line of communication so that everyone works together to help Amanda reach her goals. It was incredible for us to go into Amanda's classroom one day to see her use a computer all by herself! Amanda has gone through some rough times due to illnesses and medications affecting her body. As a family, we had a really difficult time dealing with watching what our daughter was going through. I'll never forget, during one of the rough patches, my husband and I went together to drop Amanda off at school and we were exhausted, frustrated, and just downright sad. When we saw Amanda's teacher we apologized for bringing Amanda to school when she was in such a state, and I'll never forget her teacher's kind and caring words, "This is what we do here. We are here to help." And when we walked out of the Centre that day we knew that with that kind of support we were never alone. We are forever grateful that we never got stuck on a waiting list or turned away because of lack of funds or resources. I could not imagine what our lives would be like without the John McGivney Children's Centre.
By: Julie Loewen