March of Dimes Canada
Our Impact Why We Exist
What began as a march to stamp out polio has grown into a multi-service charity that provides programs and services for children and adults with disabilities. In the 1940s and 50s women, known as “Marching Mothers” went door-to-door to collect money to end the scourge of polio. With the discovery of the polio vaccine in 1955, March of Dimes shifted its mandate to helping people with had disabilities due to polio, and then anyone with a disability. For over sixty five years, we have been on the forefront of the disability movement in Canada. Today, March of Dimes Canada provides a wide variety of services to over 60,000 people each year. Programs like Conductive Education®, Recreation, Independent Living, Employment, Assistive Devices, Accessibility, Advocacy and more. March of Dimes Canada is dedicated to creating a society inclusive of children and adults with physical disabilities. For more information, please visit the website at www.marchofdimes.ca or call toll-free 1-800-263-3463.
Our Story What We Do
March of Dimes Canada has grown from a small service agency into an organization that helps serve the needs of thousands of people with disabilities annually. March of Dimes is one of the only charities that accomplished its initial goal—the eradication of polio. As a result of both research and distribution efforts, Canada was one of the first countries in the world to be declared free from the threat of polio. Since then, we were one of the first organizations to be both a service provider and an advocate. We continue to expand our services, first from assisting adult polio survivors to adults with any physical disability. More recently, we have expanded nationally, now providing services in Nova Scotia, Alberta and British Columbia. We now offer services to children, seniors, caregivers and people with disabilities. We are a world leader in support to polio survivors experiencing post-polio syndrome and more recently to assisting stroke survivors across Canada with recovery and community reintegration.
Our Programs How We Do It
March of Dimes Canada is a community-based rehabilitation and advocacy organization for people living with disabilities.
Our goal is to enhance the independence and community participation of people with disabilities every day through a wide range of programs and services across the province.
Our programs include:
- The program includes our Assistive Devices program which provides partial funding towards the cost of mobility equipment like wheelchairs, scooters and bath aids, the Home & Vehicle Modification® program which provides up to $15,000 towards the modification of a home or vehicle and DesignAbility®, a volunteer-program which provides unique solutions to everyday mobility challenges. We also provide consultation to organizations, public and private, on compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
- Conductive Education (CE) merges elements of education and rehabilitation to help people with motor disabilities increase their independence and mobility. The program is especially beneficial to children with cerebral palsy, and adults with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, acquired brain injuries or stroke survivrs.
Recreation and Integration Services:
- Recreation and Integration services enhance the quality of life for people with physical disabilities through recreation, activities, friendship opportunities and social integration.
Independent Living Services:
- We provide assistance with activities of daily living that allow people with physical disabilities and acquired brain injuries to live in their own homes and access community activities.
Post-Polio Canada® and Stroke Recovery Canada®:
- Polio Canada and Stroke Recovery Canada® offer services across the country to polio and stroke survivors. These programs provide information and awareness, supports caregivers and healthcare professionals and support vital peer support networks throughout Canada.
- Through assessments, skills training and job placement, this program offers professional Employment Services covers the job search of people with disabilities from beginning to end.
LIFE Toronto - Learning Independence for Future Empowerment
LIFE Toronto serves young people who have a physical disability and are making the transition into adulthood, by providing participants with a learning environment to expand their social and professional skills. LIFE Toronto’s goal is to bridge the gap between child and adult services by providing participants with new skills and resources. Its goals include: improving mobility and the ability to direct one’s own care; moving out of the family home; enhancing employment or volunteer potential; and becoming healthier and more physically active.
Components of LIFE Toronto include Life Skills Workshops (i.e. health & wellness, financial literacy, employment & volunteering), Transit Training (safely using Toronto public transit) Outward Bound Canada programing, and weekly Social Outings. MODC offers four 10-week sessions a year, for 10-15 youth each.
Opportunities for real-life application in the community will be encountered during the Social Outings. Participants will work with Outward Bound Canada instructors in activities based around healthy active living at Evergreen Brickworks. There is the opportunity to simultaneously earn a high school credit while participating in LIFE Toronto.Along with the fun and adventure,, participants experience some challenges. Indeed, the very purpose of the program is to help those enrolled find untapped resources within themselves and within the group, to help discover all capabilities. The complimentary components of the program will foster independence within the individual.
LIFE graduates regularly move on to further education, volunteer and employment activities. Several have also returned to the program as peer mentors to help deliver workshops and provide their own information and experiences as a young person with a disability.
Developed in Hungary over 60 years ago, Conductive Education (CE) is an innovative program that blends elements of education and rehabilitation to improve the independence, mobility and confidence of children and adults with neuro-motor disabilities, and is beneficial to those with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke survivors and developmental apraxia.
Conductors, or specially trained instructors, work with program participants by leading them through physical exercises designed to help them gain, or regain, physical mobility and self-sufficiency one small step at a time.
Unlike most medical or therapeutic models of treatment, Conductive Education® attempts to change the way people see their own abilities, and to raise their awareness of the way their body works. Tasks are designed to focus on co-ordinating the physical, mental and emotional factors by making the body and the mind work together.
MODC offers Spring, Fall and Winter weekly CE programs, and an intensive Summer camp.
Peer Support – Polio Canada® and Stroke Recovery Canada®
Polio Canada and Stroke Recovery Canada® offer services to polio and stroke survivors. These programs provide information and awareness, supports caregivers and healthcare professionals and support vital peer support networks throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Stroke support groups help fellow survivors as they journey through stroke recovery and polio support groups help survivors now living with the late effects of polio in the form of post-polio syndrome.
These programs offer a variety of services that empower stroke and polio survivors and their families to participate in their communities and to find support during the often challenging period of recovery. Some of these services include:
- Assistance to start a peer support group in their community (including coaching, manuals, business cards, website promotion, phone line, email, event insurance and much more)
- Monthly newsletters with suggestions for group activities
- Monthly conference calls to connect with survivors across Canada
- Annual leadership conference for survivors and caregivers
- Awareness Month Activities
- Bi-annual newsletter
- Warmline (toll free number 1-888-540-6666 for information about stroke recovery and post-polio syndrome)
- Stroke recovery research and advocacy
- Special programs/events
DesignAbility® matches skilled volunteers with consumers facing unique barriers in order to create or modify devices to increase independence.A person living with a physical disability, who needs a solution or modification to a device that cannot be found on the market, can make a request to our talented DesignAbility volunteers. There is no charge for the work they do except the expense of the materials involved. These creative solutions can help people overcome a barrier to work, play, personal care or performing daily activities.
With two chapters based in the GTA, this program helps people with disabilities acquire customised devices they could not access otherwise. Just some of the unique products created by DesignAbility® volunteers include an indoor playground for a small child with cerebral palsy, numerous bath aids, tailored furniture and more. These products help the recipient, but also helps offset some of the stress of caregivers, by increasing the independence of their loved ones.
What You Can Do
Information on supporting March of Dimes Canada, through one-time, monthly or planned giving donations, can be found at: http://www.marchofdimes.ca/EN/support/Pages/SupportUs.aspx
Some Activities a donation will support include:
A grant would help us:
- Send more people to train as Conductors
- Maintain equipment like plinths, ladder chairs etc.
- Serve more people with neuro-motor disabilities
Conductive Education is a completely donor-funded program. Although there is a fee to participants, March of Dimes subsidizes the cost by over two-thirds through donations. A grant would help us grow the program and offer it to even more Torontonians with disabilities and help offset program expenses, like Conductor training, equipment and other program costs.
Peer Support – Post-Polio Canada® and Stroke Recovery Canada®
A grant would help us:
- Provide support to our peer support groups in Toronto
- Support caregivers
- Maintain our informative bi-monthly newsletters
- Provide training opportunities to peer support group leaders
- Help staff stay on top of the latest information about stroke recovery and post-polio syndrome
Our Peer Support program is completely donor-funded. A grant to the Stroke Recovery Canada and Post-Polio Canada would help us reach out to more survivors in the GTA. This both provides support to the survivor and reduces stress on caregivers. We can also provide more training to our group leaders and keep our information on stroke recovery and post-polio syndrome relevant and timely.
A grant would help us:
- Pay for project materials and equipment needed to build the devices
- Support volunteer training with seminars and skill-building workshops
- Reach out to our volunteer Occupational Therapist
Serve more people with mobility challenges – not just those with disabilities, but also seniors, or people with short-term needs due to illness
DesignAbility is a completely donor-funded program. A grant to the DesignAbility® program will increase the independence of children and adults with physical disabilities, mobility challenges or illness. The program’s customized devices allow recipients to participate more fully in the Toronto community, reduces stress of caregivers and provides volunteers with a sense of fulfillment knowing they are using their skills to help improve the lives of people they help.