Special needs resource centre assists local families

Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre is a place where families can find answers, seek support and connect with others.

A regional resource centre continues to provide families who have children with special needs with assistance and support throughout Central Alberta.

Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre, a not-for-profit charitable organization in Red Deer, is a place where families can find answers, seek support and connect with others. The centre offers diagnostic and assessment services, consultation for children in schools, provides training to teachers and educational assistants and works along side other community providers and agencies.

For Jasmine Cardinal, a Blackfalds resident, the centre has become a refuge and resource for her young family.

Cardinal has two sons, both under the age of six, who attend the specialized preschool program and a six-year-old daughter who received her diagnosis through Aspire. She said she found out first about the centre via word of mouth.

“Truthfully, when my son was diagnosed with autism, I didn’t know a lot about it,” said Cardinal. “It was intimidating as there is a stigma attached to it, but I found that even from my very first interaction with the school, they were warm, kind, caring, compassionate and extremely knowledgeable.

“They were very willing to answer any questions that I had and they always were willing to have that communication open between school and home.”

Cardinal sees what Aspire has to offer and said the organization can assist families in the Central Alberta region.

“Any family that has a child with special needs of any type would benefit from Aspire,” she said. “The struggle that families have because of the strain physically and emotionally from raising children with special needs takes its toll. A place like Aspire helps alleviate all of that stress.”

Aspire will be hosting their 22nd annual fundraiser, Evening of Decadent Dessert, next month in order to continue on the much needed programs and services throughout the region.

“Aspire relies on the funds raised from the community in order to support scholarships for families, purchase of specialized equipment and programs,” said Aspire Executive Director Michelle Sluchinski. “We are so grateful for the long-term sponsors, donors and ticket purchasers. We know that everyone makes choices about which charity to support and we try to ensure our supporters know the good work we do for children with special needs and their families.”

Last year, Evening of Decadent Dessert raised $125,164 and the children’s raffle generated $25,215 for a total of $150,379.

This year’s Evening of Decadent Dessert is set for April 29th at the Pidherney Centre (4725 43rd St. in Red Deer). Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person or $750 for a table of eight.

“Donors and sponsors are an essential part of Evening of Decadent Dessert,” said Aspire Fund Development Coordinator Melissa Vine. “Their generous support allows us to reach our fundraising goals for this event. Without our sponsors and donors we cannot reach our financial goal, which in turn impacts our services and programs. Simply put, their generous support gives Aspire the ability to offer hope and growth to all the families who pass through our doors.”

For more information or tickets contact Aspire at 403-340-2606, email inquiries@aspirespecialneeds.ca or visit http://aspirespecialneeds.ca/events/dd.

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