Beyond 21 campaign hits $235,000 mark
BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL
Staff Fundraising efforts aimed at remodeling the new home for Beyond 21, the Cornwall-based non-profit organization helping young developmentally-challenged adults across Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, are approaching the one-third mark.
“I am delighted to report that as of today (July 8) the total of our campaign is just over $235,000,” of the $750,000 goal, Tish Humphries, Beyond 21 board president, told
“It is a bit of a challenge in the summertime with folks on vacation, but it is going very well.”
Mrs. Humphries, a Lancaster resident and Beyond 21 cofounder, explained that the proceeds of the capital campaign – which kicked off May 1 and is slated to run through May 2020 – will be used for an extensive overhaul of the former Matco Floor and Wall Ltd. building at 1924 Pitt St. Among the renovations that will be done are the installation of accessible washrooms, with one having the necessary equipment for complex care participants; as well as the construction of a teaching kitchen, built according to Eastern Ontario Health Unit guidelines; a craft room; a recreation space; and a room for those who are sensory sensitive.
Beyond 21 was launched in January 2012 in conjunction with the Upper Canada Leger Centre of Education and Training (UCLCET), using public input as well as information gleaned from consultations from similar grassroots programs in four other Ontario cities – Aurora, Brantford, Markham and North Bay. The group, which takes its name from the cut-off age for provincial high school attendance, was formed with a vision of enabling adults – 21 years of age and older, and thus no longer eligible for the school system – with developmental disabilities, to live “connected and respected” lives, while also building community and peer connections.
The organization offers a number of daytime activities for participants – including art and cooking lessons, horseback riding, swimming and readers’ theatre.
It also addresses several “quality of life” topics, namely: health-related matters such as medical needs; nutrition and physical fitness; socialization/life skills; and employment/job skills.
Beyond 21 operated out of the T.R. Leger School – formerly General Vanier Intermediate /Secondary School – on Cumberland Street in Cornwall for its first six years.
However, when the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario purchased the building from the Upper Canada District School Board in March 2018, the organization had to move. Shortly thereafter, leaders at Knox-St. Paul’s United Church on Twelfth Street approached the Beyond 21 board, offering them space in the church’s lower level – an offer the board graciously accepted.
“We were delighted to find the space, but it just meets our needs for a short-term basis,” said Mrs. Humphries. “We currently serve over 50 families with 21 on a waiting list, due to the fact that we don’t have enough space. Our new building will allow us to look at getting that list down.
“The private funder who purchased the building for us always said we need a place to hang our flag,” she added. “Now we have one.” Beyond 21 hopes to be in its new digs by November 1. To donate visit beyond21.org/site/donate