(TORONTO, ON): A generous $20,000 donation from Green Shield Canada's Community Giving Program has been instrumental in launching the new Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus Association of Ontario (SB&H) Getting You There program to help vulnerable teens and young adults with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus (sb/h) successfully transition to adulthood.
The important new program will provide much-needed transition tools, guidance, support and age-appropriate information to more than 1,400 Ontario youths aged 14 to 24 with these complex, incurable neurological conditions.
“Green Shield Canada’s donation has been a tremendous boost for the first year of Getting You There,” says Joan Booth, Executive Director, SB&H. “Research shows children need to take ownership of their disability in order to lead independent lives as adults, but these young people face a multitude of unique challenges. Teens, for example, leaving pediatric healthcare at 18 require assistance to transition to adult healthcare. Our new initiative will help empower teens and young adults and help them acquire the skills to successfully transition to adulthood and lead a self-directed life.”
Getting You There is being developed and phased in over three years. Green Shield Canada’s support contributed significantly to the first-year achievements – SB&H hired a Program Outreach Consultant who researched existing program models, tools and best practices, completed a situational assessment and determined appropriate partnerships while continuing to support youth in transition through existing services.
This comprehensive assessment-focused program for personal development, will provide positive, supportive information around life skills, self-awareness, self-advocacy, employability and help young people manage their healthcare and make appropriate choices. Components include transition kits, a toll free Help & Information Line, Kidz & Youth Book Club, Online Youth Service, a Scholarship and Bursary program, "Connections"- information sharing for youth and their peers and customized information packages.
Spina bifida is the number one permanently disabling birth defect in Canada. One in 1,300 babies is born with spina bifida and even morehave hydrocephalus. Surgery is required immediately following the birth of a baby diagnosed with either condition and numerous surgeries generally follow. Children and youth experience varying levels of paralysis and are required to use assistive devices to support their mobility. They have complex urological issues, endure seizures, severe headaches and impaired vision and must cope with learning disabilities. Young people with sb/h often have low self-esteem which impacts their social lives, school and community activities.
SB&H is the leading charitable organization in Ontario providing direct support, guidance and comprehensive information to thousands of families who are impacted by the unique challenges of sb/h. Our purpose is to promote the welfare of people with sb/h and help families cope with the daily challenges of living with these conditions. We strive for the day when the incidence of sb/h is reduced. These significant goals will be accomplished through support, education, awareness, advocacy and research. It is our sincerest hope that we can help children, parents, adults and their families live in a society that is sensitive, supportive and responsive to their needs. For more information, visit www.sbhao.on.ca.
Helen Sklarz, Director of Development & Promotion
416-214-1056 or 800-387-1575