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December 3rd, 2019

Better Together includes you

Dear friend of Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region,

What does Better Together mean to you? Is it a familiar space where you feel welcome? A place to meet others in the community? Is it feeling that someone believes in you? Or is it as simple as being greeted with a smile? We know it means something different to everyone. We also know just how important it is to feel connected to other people.

Far too often, people with a lived experience of disability feel disconnected from the greater community, and feeling like there is no place for you can be lonely. Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region is here to bridge those gaps and create opportunities to build the relationships and connections we all need.

Your support of Extend-A-Family has a direct impact on the various ways we connect with and support the community and neighbourhoods within the Waterloo Region.

When James and Tomasina’s two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with autism, they experienced significant isolation, and sought to become part of a bigger community. They were drawn to Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region, where the Direct Support People and Support Coordinator team recognized their daughter’s gifts. At Extend-A-Family, they felt someone was listening and they were no longer alone.

Our daughter has come so far. Extend-A-Family truly understands the small wins, that for some families are natural, for us were humungous.

James and Tomasina felt a level of understanding and appreciation from Extend-A-Family for their family’s journey.“ The sense of belonging and acceptance we feel at Extend-A-Family is all anyone wants: to be respected and heard.” Here, they feel Better Together. Now, their daughter leads a full life, attends school and extracurricular activities. They have even recently enjoyed a big family vacation. These are all things that once seemed out of reach.

Because of friends like you, we have been able to provide sustainable opportunities for our community, including weekends of respite for families, sending youth with disabilities to summer camp, and building creative places for inclusive employment.

One of our Community Development initiatives, the KW Library of Things (KWLOT) is doing just that. As a lending library of infrequently used items, the KWLOT has become a community hub.

Operating on fundraised dollars and membership revenue, KWLOT is a place where neighbours and community members come together to show that ‘sharing is caring’. This community connection can happen at our many skillshare workshops, or when a generous person donates that camping equipment they just never seem to get a chance to use.
An important aspect of the library is that it offers supportedemployment to people who often face barriers to employment.

KWLOT Practicuum Librarian, Claudette, told us that being employed at the library meant that she finally had the opportunity to contribute in a way where she felt she was making a difference. She earned an income, and she felt as though she was an important part of something.

What does Better Together look like for Extend-A-Family? It is a community where people feel connected, included and invited. We still have work to do, but with your support, we can get there. Your gift makes a difference.

Better Together includes you.

With gratitude,

How to give

You can give securely online at Canada Helps, by mailing in the response card supplied with this letter, or by calling Kate at 519 741-0190 ext 302.

P.S. On our website, you’ll find more stories about people achieving their goals, and other successes just like Claudette’s. You can learn more about the incredible work your donations make possible by checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube as well!