Working with a variety of partners (36) in integration throughout the province of Ontario, REACH serves as a navigation support system for participants, families, partners and social service agencies that facilitate inclusive recreational opportunities and respite time for those with disabilities from ages 4 – 24.
REACH provides comprehensive in-take assessments for participants, the specialized training of 1:1 support counsellors, both in a recreation setting and a camp setting to meet the individual needs of each participant, the arrangement of accessible transportation and the loan of special adaptive equipment (terra treks, harnesses, joggers, lifts, etc.).
Because of these services and support, REACH further provides the opportunity for essential respite service to families and caregivers. Additionally, REACH develops and provides customized training in the area of inclusive program development and delivery to its program partners.
Since 1983, REACH, a non-profit organization, has pioneered the integration of children and youth with disabilities into the mainstream of society through overnight, day and community recreation programs throughout Ontario.
REACH has been advocating for inclusion and accommodation of youth with special needs, long before the introduction of the Ontario Human Rights Code in 1990. We have emphasized respect and dignity when including participants in programs with their peers.
REACH is particularly unique in that we began and remain today an umbrella for all disabilities – both developmental and physical.
Along with advocating for legislative change for individuals with disabilities and promoting public awareness, we have developed a tangible model for inclusion and family respite, that has impacted hundreds of thousands of lives over 30 years.
REACH (formerly Reach for the Rainbow) HISTORY
Since 1983, REACH (formerly known as Reach for the Rainbow) has pioneered the integration of children and youth with disabilities through inclusive overnight, day and community recreation programs throughout Ontario.
On January 20th, 2016, Founder of Reach for the Rainbow Donna Trella received the Order of Ontario from Lt. Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell as she was recognized as a driving force in changing attitudes around accessibility and inclusion in Canada for over 30 years.
Donna had this to say about her Order of Ontario investiture:
“Needless to say I am extremely proud and humbled. What humbles me most is the support and love I have had from so many individuals over the decades who have believed in me, mentored me, supported me, worked alongside of me and literally touched my life and thus the lives of thousands in unimaginable ways. This award is meant to be shared with so many.
Reach for the Rainbow grew to be the voice of those who could not speak. As always first a mother of daughter with a disability and a direct recipient of its service, I could always attest to firsthand how vital respite was to my family and how important dignity was to my daughter, Dove. I also had the comfort of knowing my daughter and the many children and young persons like her were safe and loved in the hands of Reach for the Rainbow and its partners. I am not sure if I could have given Dove the life she had growing up if it were not for Reach for the Rainbow. I am sure there are many parents who feel the same way.”
Tangible actions make a tangible difference.
Here’s how we help participant families:
- Liaise directly with the camps and programs
- Co-ordinate and train 1:1 support counsellors
- Provide a personalized and comprehensive profile of each child so the camp is prepared and knowledgeable
- Train entire camp staff about disability awareness and successful strategies for integration
- Organize and reserve accessible transportation if required
- Provide and deliver adaptive equipment prior to the child’s arrival
- Visit our partner camps on an ongoing basis
- Offer access and support 24/7 to our partner camps