A while back I was contacted by Victor Tang, the Communications & Marketing Manager at the Developmental Disabilities Association about some of their initiatives and services. In his email he asked if he would be able to send me some information however, having recently returned from our Iowa trip at the time (and our visit to Camp Courageous) I thought a personal visit to the DDA to learn more would be ideal — and the least I could do.
“In 1952, twelve parents of children with developmental disabilities came together to work towards integrating their children into public schools. By the 1990’s, that parent group, called the Vancouver-Richmond Association for Mentally Handicapped People, had become Canada’s largest charitable society of its kind west of Toronto. In 1998, recognizing changes in society, the wishes of its members, and its expanded role in the community, the Association changed its name; it is now the Developmental Disabilities Association…” [more history…]
Background & Services
The three most common examples of developmental disabilities are: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Cerebral Palsy and Down’s Syndrome. “Developmental disabilities are generally used to describe life-long impairments that are attributable to mental and/or physical disabilities.” The DDA provides programs and facilities for infants, children, adults, seniors as well as family support.
I was given a tour of an adult residential facility in Richmond today where I learned about group home living, care, and activities. We also stopped by the Riverside Child Development Centre where the out-of-school kids were learning about gardening and planting some peas. I, of course, had to pause and play with the waffle blocks for a while as they were just too fun to resist. I also came to the realization that I need a “nap room” in my house, but I digress.
“Your perception is our biggest disability,” noted Danielle White, a Director at the DDA. This quote was the main theme in a run of public service announcements last year and is an ongoing theme. Clients of the DDA lead full lives, some have jobs through the Starworks or Jobs West programs, and many are active in other non-profit activities (such as volunteering at the Food Bank or SPCA) in Richmond and Vancouver. They’re not only provided with services from the DDA but clients in turn have a chance to give back to their communities.
Recycle your goods through the DDA…
The DDA is partly supported by the BC government and the rest comes from fundraising and donations. They have bottle donation bins around Richmond and Vancouver where you can drop off your recyclables, as well as clothing donation bins (check out the interactive map to find the one closest to you). Also if you’d like to do a fundraiser for your own group, club, or sports team the DDA will partner with you for their “Cash for Clothes” program — collect 150 bags of clothing, bedding, towels, and other linens and they’ll buy it off you for $2/bag, win/win.
There are so many worthy causes in our region and it’s unfortunate that the services provided by the DDA for all ages sometimes go unnoticed. I’m hoping that this can bring a bit of awareness for this local organization that gives so much back to its community and helps others live exemplary lives of their own. You can learn more by checking out their website or feel free to follow their updates on Twitter as well.