Stories

A.I.M. Parent Testimonial

“Our 22 year old son who has Down syndrome has been attending Adults in Motion in Oakville for 2 years. We have been so pleased with the program and his overall progress, that our son now attends on a full time basis.

We would highly recommend AIM to other families . There are specific factors that we believe make AIM so exceptional.

1) Top of the list is the Leadership , operating model and staff. There is a respectful relationship between staff and management. Staff are given autonomy which leads to highly engaging and creative programming. The leaders take care in selecting exceptional staff who are innovative, skilled and committed. Staff are happy and love their job. The Directors Rod and Shelley Murphy, have a plan that is proven to be sustainable and ever evolving, which is very reassuring.

2) unique and sustainable community- This is not a one size fits all program. It is very unique in that the program is based on individual needs and interests of participants. Most programs in the community are already established and your child fits in or does not. All incoming participants needs to fit with group and its model. This creates an environment of friendship , authenticity and community.

3)  Community engagement, and meaningful involvement- At AIM, it is a priority to be out in the community. AIM looks for ways to not only participate, but also to volunteer and give back to their community. We find this to be a particularly refreshing approach, as it helps our young adults to get exposure , experience and become leaders in their community.

Personally, our son has made such great progress in the 2 years  he has attended AIM. He has better self regulation and coping skills, enhanced social skills, a chance to make real friends and improved language skills. He is thriving, and we are very grateful and appreciative of all that AIM does to create such a great place for our son to go each day.”

L. & M. Kirk., AIM Oakville Parents

“I had just retired.  I went on the computer to see where I might like to volunteer.  I already am involved with my church but wanted something more to keep myself active.  A. I. M.  sounded very interesting.  I applied and came in for an interview.  I started March 2018 and as suspected, I have received much more than I ever expected.  It is a pleasure to see each person accepted for their abilities.

I see criticism from what the world thinks each one of us should be.  Why can’t we accept each other for all of our fabulous individuality instead of what is the expectation?  Pure love is so refreshing.  I definitely receive more than I give.  Thank you to everyone at A. I. M. for this AIMazing experience.”

Donna,  AIM Volunteer

“It’s been nothing short of amazing- I’ve felt so welcomed from the moment I stepped in. I’ll never forget the first day; as I approached the doors I was greeted by 2 participants excitedly telling me that I was the special guest and that they’ve been waiting for me. I walked into the main room and was greeted by everyone with hugs and high fives it felt like I was home! From that moment on, everyday has been a treasure here; everyday being a exciting mystery.”

Nathan, A.I.M. Summer Staff

“I came to AIM for the food truck night and had a tour. I thought it was nice and that’s when I decided I wanted to come to AIM. I have been coming to AIM for almost 2 years now. Some of my favourite things to do at AIM are going for walks, doing yoga, singing karaoke, and cooking. All of the volunteers are nice and I have made good friends here!”

Becca, A.I.M. Participant

“Part of the A.I.M. Family”

“Before I started my student placement at AIM I prepared myself to be the best helper, educator, listener and supporter I could be for each individual in this program. I was so excited to help this area of my community and put my best foot forward every day to ensure they were the happiest and healthiest they could be. Little did I know that they did not need my ‘help’, guidance yes, but definitely not my ‘help’. These individuals have taught me more then I could ever teach them. Their optimism, their confidence, their compassion, their tolerance and patience, their humour and so much more. They have made me realize how precious life is and how much I take it for granted. Each individual in this program has shown me so many things to be thankful for, has brought so much insight and joy to my life, has given me purpose and most importantly has shown me what a true family is about. Each participant, staff member, every family, volunteer and both directors have welcomed me into this family with open arms. They have taken me under their wing to show me the ins and outs of this population, their needs and the capability of a strong community. Adults In Motion has given me the most amazing opportunity I could have ever asked for. I am beyond grateful for the chance to be apart of the AIM family and to help show the world the AIMazing people behind developmental disABILITIES. I would not be the person I am today without them.”

Allison, Sheridan Placement Student

“Joy of Nothing”

Sometimes I forget how completely lucky I am. The other day while riding the bus downtown with some of our participants, I watched a woman with her two small children. She looked exhausted as she attempted to calm them, reminding them to sit down; I could hear the frustration in her voice at times. As our ride continued, I watched as she became more aware of our participants around her. She watched them say hello to her children. She watched them try to help her calm her crying son by making silly faces and saying “it’s okay, don’t cry”. Then I watched. I watched her body physically relax as she admired our participants. I watched her smile as she witnessed our participants laugh, hug each other, vocally share their excitement and eagerly look out the window at the buildings and people going by. I watched such a beautiful revelation. When our gazes finally met, she said, in the sweetest and most sincere way, “It’s so great they are able to appreciate the ordinary things in life; we all need to do more of that.”

Not everyone reacts this way. I used to get upset when I met people who make it clear that they ‘feel bad’ for the people I support. You can see it in their face and hear it in their voice. Those poor people. But in recent years, I no longer get upset. Instead, I simply ‘feel bad’ for those who feel that way.  “Those poor people” are some of my very best friends and teach me to appreciate the small things in life every single day. I am so lucky to have them in my life. I am so lucky to have friends who do not judge other people, who are so strong, despite the challenges they face, who show so much love to others, and who make my heart feel more full then I ever thought possible.

One of my favourite artists, Foy Vance, wrote a song called “Joy of Nothing”. There is something about finding the joy in absolutely nothing. Something we all need to strive to find daily. A special thank you to all our participants for making this so easy for me. I wish everyone was able to experience this kind of joy.

Stephanie, A.I.M. Kitchener Staff

Volunteer Story

“I came to Canada, as an immigrant from Gambia West Africa. Knowing how important it is to gain local experience, I started looking for volunteer opportunities. This led me to my contact with Community Placement Centre who helped me through the volunteer process. I applied to many places but AIM was the first to positively respond.

I have been volunteering at AIM for a while now and this has been an awakening and inspirational period for me. My late dad was a traditional healer and this work also helps me to reconnect with what he does.

I participant in different activities, from helping in monitoring participants, to playing games, craft work, cooking to doing dishes. This is a beautiful experience for me. People with special needs back home are viewed very differently and there are no such opportunities for them. I am looking forward to sharing this experience someday with authorities of my country and even contributing to working on such projects later in the future in my community back home. AIM staff and participants are amazing.”

Matida, Former Volunteer at AIM

Park Ambassador

“I enjoyed cleaning the park and have picnic and sit near the creek. We are AIM Park Ambassadors and pick up garbage. Make sure the park is clean and play at park. The park is called Petro Canada Park.”

Heather, A.I.M. Participant

My Days at A.I.M.

“Since I got to AIM program in Oakville every Friday starting in February, I feel like having social with my friends, especially Heather G. and W., Richard and Riley. We have several trips we went there like hanging out at Farmers Market in Hamilton. I used to help people who have troubled talking a lot in a conversation every so often. Sometimes I get stuck on other things rather than being in the real world. We worked together by setting up the E-waste room for every weekend. We also checked out garden outside by watering them and taking care of them.

In the summer, we went on the quiet boat ride and we saw animals in the pond and houses that damaged during the flood. It was awful and we were surprised and shocked! At meal times we baked goods like oatmeal cookies and they were delicious. At special Olympics tournaments, my AIM friends came to cheer me on in Brampton and I missed them.

After AIM program, I always feel exhausted that I had busy days. I decided to come back to the AIM program and do more activities again.”

Adam, A.I.M. Participant

Fun at A.I.M.

“I enjoying Steffani’s Birthday we had amazing cupcakes. I had fun at yoga this Tuesday and I put garbage out Wednesday morning. We did cleaning. I had fun hang out with AIM friends. I had great time when we visiting the dog. Bonnie and I we had to put grocerys away, that was funny. I have a great time at Spring Social. We say the S word (snow) at AIM, that is funny. We cleaned at the Lighthouse and had water and cleaned the blocks. We did the zombie dodgeball and say thank you to James.”

Evan, A.I.M. Participant

Summer Student Story

“Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you” – Wayne Dyer.

“Since I can remember, my mom has always had this quote posted on our fridge. This saying truly came to life with me these past few months. During my placement at AIM, one of our participants was injured in a fall at her home. I observed all of the concerned looks, questions and homemade cards that came in and out. When the participant returned, I was truly touched by the warm hugs and happy smiles to see her return to AIM. And I thought, what if we all had the capacity to love this deeply? Without judgement, without question and without ridicule. To be able to love each and every individual for who they are and to be able to empathise so deeply with each individual in any situation. The ability to forgive and forget without holding grudges and loving so deeply… This capability is such a gift that each of us could use more of in this world. So, thank you to AIM for teaching me one of the most valuable lessons I will ever learn, how to truly love and accept.”

Kara, Summer Student Placement