About 10 years ago, Joseph’s family wanted to go on a trip but needed support for Joseph because up until then, they were his only care provider. The family’s CCA worker at SickKids introduced them to Safehaven and that marked the start of Joseph’s beautiful journey with us.
One of the biggest things that stuck out to April, Joseph’s mother, about Safehaven was the staff. “I feel so much at ease with Safehaven. They love all the kids. All the kids are special there. It’s like a second family for him.”
The variety of activities and outings has been another major highlight for Joseph who is very sociable. “We found it a lot of fun for Joseph to go out in the community in Toronto.” For a long time, Joseph was only around family and so watching him connect with others has been extraordinary for April to witness.
“They can have a place where they are loved and cared for. There’s fun times, crafts and music. It’s not like a hospital, it’s like they’re extended family – a little family away from family.”
Since starting at Safehaven, Joseph has grown tremendously. “I’m thrilled to see him grow; to see him develop more and more. As moms, we just want to see them learning things and enjoying life in a world that they can enjoy.” Since aging out of the system, accessing respite care has been challenging for Joseph’s family.
April expressed that saying goodbye to Safehaven was very difficult and she hopes that one day the organization can provide supports for older teens and adults.
“They need time with other children. Emergencies come up like weddings, events and funerals where you need somebody and can say – hey I can watch him for four days – and know that he’s in a safe place. It would mean the world to us to be able to have a little break and have this place that is like his second home where there’s friends that remember him and a staff that knows everything about him. A safe place. I love the name because it’s truly safe and it’s a haven.”
Individuals over 18 with medically complex needs and their families often feel like they are falling off a cliff due to the lack of supports available to them. Safehaven is working tirelessly to advocate for these individuals so they can continue to live life to the fullest while their families get well-deserved time to rest and recharge.