by: Viola Galamini
City: Hamilton, ON
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Rygiel Supports for Community Living has been serving the Hamilton Community for almost 50 years. We support people with disabilities to have fulfilling lives in his or her community which means having a home and relationships of all kinds. We hold day support programs in which participants can pick and choose activities according to their interests. We recently purchased an old school and are renovating it; part of this renovation will include a community garden for our day supports program. The community garden initiative will be a means of engaging other members of the community, as well as integrating our day supports with the community at large. Kids from the nearby school will have a chance to learn about horticulture and gardening, while also interacting with some of our day supports participants, who will be learning alongside their community members. This will encourage and promote inclusion, environmentalism, and teamwork.
If we were to receive the funds, we would use the money to purchase equipment and supplies for a community garden initiative. Examples of this would be to lumber, horticulture gardening tools, soil, seeds, organic material and supplies for our volunteers. Although we take great pride in our day supports, we continuously struggle to find funds to purchase all these supplies. Currently we do many fundraising events, ask for donations and write grants in order to keep our supply. The funds we do receive are a blessing and we make the most of every cent by being creative and stretch the dollars the best we can. We also plan to build raise beds, a greenhouse and an irrigation system.
Hamilton is a very giving community, we learn this by the citizens and their acts of kindness. Citizens are constantly giving us their time. Our residents appreciate this as often people with disabilities are devalued in our society. We support one of the most kind, sincerest people in the world. They are grateful for everything and it doesn't take much to make these individuals smile. Rygiel is special and unique because we have such forward thinking. We step out of our comfort zone and do everything we can to get these individuals involved in their own communities. We have started advocacy groups, and found people jobs that give them a sense of self-worth. We are very proud of what we do and we are always keeping our vision and mission upfront in all that we do.
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