A Sudbury-based centre that provides services for adults with developmental disabilities is expanding its reach across the northeast.
After rapid growth in Sudbury over two years, the Adult Enrichment Center will open a new location in Sault Ste. Marie on May 2, 2016, and will expand to Timmins in mid-June.
The centre provides full-day programs for adults with developmental disabilities, and teaches them a wide range of skills — from workforce preparation to basic math — after they've graduated from high school.
When she opened her first location in Sudbury, located at 1895 Lasalle Blvd., founding director Joanne Bouchard said her goal was to help 15 clients learn life skills in a welcoming environment.
But the need for her services quickly outgrew the first Adult Enrichment Center, and Bouchard opened a second location next door on June 2, 2015.
The two centres now serve more than 50 regular clients.
Through a collaboration with the YMCA's Sudbury Employment Services the Adult Enrichment Center has helped a few clients land jobs, and learn to manage their finances.
“I'm very proud to say that three of our clients were hired,” Bouchard said. “Now they have a purpose. They look forward to coming every day.”
For a five-day week, attending the Adult Enrichment Center can cost anywhere from $312.50 for basic care, to $500 for complex care.
For many families, the Ministry of Community and Social Services' Passport program helps cover those costs.
There are an estimated 65,000 adults with developmental disabilities in Ontario and more than 15,000 have access to the Passport direct funding program.
Bouchard said since she opened the first centre in 2014 the province has made great strides to increase access to the Passport program, and is working on eliminating its wait list.
After the expansion to Timmins, Bouchard said she has her eyes set on a third Greater Sudbury location.
She said there is strong demand in the city's south end, and in the valley, but has not yet decided were the third centre will be.
“We're just growing and moving forward more every day,” she said.