KTW Christmas Cheer Fund: Focus on Chris Rose Therapy Centre for Autism

·2 min read

The Chris Rose Therapy Centre for Autism strives to provide educational, therapeutic, life skills and family support services for those with autism spectrum disorder.

This year, the centre will be assisted in that work by donations to the KTW Christmas Cheer Fund, as the centre is one of five charities selected to be part of the fund this season.

“We’re ecstatic to have this opportunity, particularly with COVID and the uncertainty around the ability to fundraise and projects that we’ve done in the past that we can’t really do,” said Wanda Eddy, executive director of the Chris Rose Therapy Centre for Autism.

Though the centre applied to be a part of the Cheer Fund before the pandemic began, Eddy said there is now extra value to being included because of the struggles experienced had this year with attempts at traditional fundraising.

Though some of the parent-driven endeavours — such as coffee and meat sales — were successful despite COVID-19, many others had to be shelved for this year, including the annual golf tournament, walk and barbecue.

“Most agencies have faithful people that support them,” Eddy said.

“We’re a relatively small organization. Although we’ve made big impacts, we’re not like some agencies where some people know us and benefit from us each year.

“This allows us to reach out to people that wouldn’t typically know to support our agency.”

For school-based programs, children attend the centre in place of going to a typical school, or they attend the centre part-time during the week, with the remainder of their time being spent in their home school.

The centre also has an extended autism program for children ages six to 18 who meet the criteria for funding from the Ministry of Children and Family Development through the autism funding program.

The summer program is a recreational-based curriculum developed for children with autism that includes activities like swimming, hiking, day trips, crafts and cooking.

The centre also offers an adult program that address the needs of people with autism spectrum disorder who are 19 years of age and older and who clients of Community Living British Columbia.

Eddy said the team at the Chris Rose Therapy Centre for Autism is “incredibly grateful” for all the support received from the community in the years since it opened in 1989.

“We really have survived because of the people in Kamloops,” she said.

The centre was named after Chris Rose, an educator for 50 years whose greatest focus has been to support those with special needs.

Rose founded the Chris Rose Foundation, which has continued to be instrumental in raising funds for the centre.

Autism affects about one in every 68 children. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls.

For more information on the Chris Rose Therapy Centre for Autism, go online to chrisrosecentre.org.

Todd Sullivan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week