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2014-08-21 at 13:30

Helping access

By Leith Dunick,
FASD FactsDrinking Alcohol at any time during pregnancy could affect the normal development of the

THUNDER BAY -- Tom Walters calls the George Jeffrey Children’s Centre a wonderful place.
It got even better this week.

The Brock Street facility was the recipient of a generous Ontario Power Generation donation that allowed them to furnish the centre’s outdoor garden area with benches and wheelchair-accessible picnic tables.

Walters, the interim CEO at the George Jeffrey Children’s Centre, said the gift will allow them to move programming outdoors in summer, something their clients have been clamouring for.

“It’s wonderful to see that kind of support,” Walters said, praising OPG and its employees and the good they want to do to make it a stronger overall community.

“Our children struggle with their disabilities to just have places they can go. Not only do we want to have the inside of our centre accessible to them, but the outside things that are available, we want that accessible as well. Every time we do that it’s a statement to these children that they’re cared for, that they’re important and that people are looking to meet their needs.”

OPG has been a long-time supporter of the centre, on hand to support the construction of a new facility in 2005 when the capital campaign was launched.

They’ve also donated money to pay for a therapeutic walkway that initially allowed clients with physical challenges to enjoy the grounds at the then new centre.

OPG’s Chris Fralick said the partnership is an easy one to support, both at the corporate and employee level.

The George Jeffrey Children’s Centre services the entirety of Ontario’s northwest.

“It serves, as you know, disadvantaged and disabled children. We’ve been involved right from the get-go in 2008 when this facility was constructed. We helped put in the walkway and we’re helping now with some accessible benches,” Fralick said Thursday.

“This is something that our employees believe in and value as well.”

Also on Thursday, George Jeffrey Children’s Centre executive director Mary Anne Comuzzi took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, putting hockey stars Haley Irwin and Patrick Sharp on the clock, next up in the fundraising challenge that has swept social media in recent weeks.

Walters also went under the ice, issuing challenges to St. Joseph’s Care Group CEO Tracy Buckler and RBC’s Murray Walberg.

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