Anna Tubman and her husband Lucas weren’t sure where to turn for help when their daughter Lexi was born with Down Syndrome.
Anna said it was a great relief to her family when she was connected to the programs and professionals at the Clements Centre for Families’ Sundrops Centre for Child Development in the Cowichan Valley.
“It was a very comforting feeling to have this little baby that they knew how to help her develop and reach her goals,” she said.
“I feel absolutely blessed to have a daughter like Lexi and it’s so cool that it comes along with a whole team. It’s not just about you as a mom; it’s her physical therapist, her occupational therapist, and a whole team supporting you on this journey.”
To help keep such important programs going, the Clements Centre is holding a fundraiser to help support its Sundrops Centre for Child Development, with the assistance of Island Ford Superstore.
Island Ford Superstore, which is a long-time supporter of the Sundrops Centre, has offered to match community donations up to $20,000 for the fundraiser, which is called the “Best Possible Start” campaign.
The Sundrops Centre for Child Development is a not-for-profit charity that provides assistance to families with infants and preschool-aged children who are at risk of, or who have, a developmental delay or diagnosed disability.
Occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language pathologists and infant-development consultants provide services to children who require support at the Sundrops Centre, which helps more than 800 children each year in the Cowichan Valley.
Clements Centre spokeswoman Zoe Lauckner said that as of May 17, the fundraising campaign had reached about 45 per cent of the $20,000 target that will be matched by Island Ford Superstore.
“We have a fantastic opportunity right now thanks to Island Ford Superstore,” she said.
“[The people at] Island Ford are long time supporters of Sundrops Centre, but this latest act of generosity is their biggest yet.”
Lauckner said the secondary purpose of the fundraising campaign is to help raise awareness of what the Sundrops Centre provides, for free, for local parents, caregivers and children.
“Many people when they hear ‘Clements,’ think only of our branch of services that supports adults with developmental needs,” she said.
“The fact that we run a full-scale child development centre isn’t well known, nor is the various supports and services available to all families. Sundrops really is here to support all children, regardless of ability, diagnosis, etc., to support all of their developmental needs. We have infant development consultants who connect with families with infants and help assess and support their healthy development, our supported child development program goes into daycare settings and sees how these settings can work to better support a particular child. The services really are endless.”
Lauckner said the Clements Centre does receive some core funding from government, but there are massive gaps in this funding.
She said the centre’s needs are vast.
“For example, Sundrops is currently supporting 77 kids about to enter kindergarten in School District 79 through our speech-language therapy program,” Lauckner said.
“These 77 children are all experiencing moderate to severe speech-language challenges, and collectively they make up 23 per cent of the 2022 kindergarten cohort [in the school district]. As anyone can deduce, without this early support provided to kids with any type of learning or development challenge, the impacts can be immense once a child enters the school system.”
Lauckner said other local businesses have stepped up to help the fundraiser as well, with Duncan’s Dairy Queen hosted a “Blizzards for Clements” from May 16-18 in which the business is donating $1 from every Blizzard sold to the campaign.
She said Mr. Mike’s restaurant will hold a burger fundraiser as well on May 28, with all proceeds going to support the Sundrops Centre.
“There are lots of exciting things happening,” Lauckner said.
People can donate to the Best Possible Start campaign online at clementscentre.org/donate, by phone at 250-746-4135, or by mail to 5856 Clements St., Duncan, B.C., V9L 3W3.