Supporting Youth Through Meaningful Recreation

March 30, 2021

Rehabilitation Centre for Children’s LIFE Program is a lifeline for families during the pandemic

Logging on to Saturday Night for Teens from his computer is a big change for Daniel. Normally he’d be walking into the SSCY Centre with 15 of his closest friends for the bustling, parent-free hangout. Yet Daniel is just as excited to chat and play games with friends from his living room because these few hours provide a crucial break from the isolation he has felt this past year.

“The [virtual] programs have been a lifeline for us because we’re keeping him at home. It’s the only time he can see friends,” says Daniel’s mom, Cathy.

Daniel at Rehabilitation Centre for Children LIFE Program’s summer camp. It was the last in-person recreation program he attended before moving to virtual events in the fall. The online programs have been a lifeline ever since.

COVID-19 has greatly disrupted the lives of children living with disabilities, many of whom are at a greater risk of developing life-threatening complications. Social isolation has been particularly hard on the children we support.

“Daniel has Down syndrome and there have been reports of increased risk of severe outcomes if he contracts it. After we saw that news in January, we made the heartbreaking decision to take him out of school and he has not been back,” explains Cathy. “It has been tough mentally on him, but if he didn’t have this [program] it would be awful and I don’t know where we would be at.”

Since the early days of the pandemic, Rehabilitation Centre for Children LIFE Program coordinators have worked tirelessly to ensure Saturday Night for Teens and other recreation programs—from music classes to yoga sessions—are available to families virtually.

“We’ve learned a lot in terms of how to provide quality programs to as many participants as possible while maximizing the interactive piece,” explains Carol Kehler, a physiotherapist with the Rehabilitation Centre for Children.

LIFE Program’s Spa Day, held annually at SSCY Centre, was revamped into a gift box and delivered to households. Fun in the Kitchen classes over Zoom embraced the chatter around cooking a meal, discussing everything from the shape of their cookies to inventive toppings and add-ins that make their creations extra special.

“We’re sharing ideas and thoughts. It’s more work to facilitate but it’s all the same stuff we do in person,” says Kehler. “Relationships are essential to everything we do. It would be hard to imagine delivering programs and not keep that a central component.”

Nineteen-year-old Brett has attended LIFE Programs for close to a decade and that hasn’t stopped during the pandemic. His mom Cheryl says the virtual programs have not only given him something to look forward to, they’ve also helped support his independence during an unpredictable time.

Brett (right) bakes biscuits at LIFE Program’s Fun in the Kitchen class. He’s been attending the program virtually this past year.

“A huge piece is the growth in him being a bit more mature and independent to do these classes on his own. I used to have to be beside him, but he really has matured and he focuses on these calls. I think it’s because it’s all his. It has nothing to do with me,” she says.

The LIFE Program is preparing for the return of in-person programming, welcoming campers back to Sun and Fun Day Camp under current public health orders. With the success of virtual programming, specifically the increased accessibility for families, it will continue and even grow.

“Our population, many of them struggle with meaningful relationships, so it’s important we facilitate that,” says Kehler. “Our hope is that they can navigate a world that is always changing and relationships contribute to that.”


Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation is hiring an Executive Director

March 15, 2021

Search Begins for New Executive Director for the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation

The Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation (CRF), the primary fundraising arm of the Rehabilitation Center for Children (RCC), announces that it has begun the recruitment process to identify its next Executive Director. Current Executive Director, Christine Schollenberg, has announced that she will retire in August 2021 after 20 years with the CRF.

Christine’s contribution to the success of the CRF cannot be understated. Her development and leadership of the CRF team has greatly elevated the abilities of the Foundation. Together with her team, the CRF is now better positioned to provide funding into many areas of need that might otherwise have been left unfunded. Working closely with the generous supporters of the CRF, Christine has built a strong organization that is ready to continue to support children in need and meet the ever changing needs of children with disabilities.

“We are confident that the efforts of Christine Schollenberg and her team have placed the CRF on a very stable footing from which to tackle the unique challenges of the near and long term, said Peter Garagan, Chairperson of the Board of Directors.” “We are saddened that Chris has decided to retire, but we understand and have been preparing for this transition for some time”, he added.

The new Executive Director will be challenged to build on the success of the CRF to date, and to work with the Board of Directors to craft a strategic plan for the post COVID 19 period and beyond. Choosing the new Executive Director will be a difficult task and the Board of Directors has engaged national recruitment company Summit Search Group to lead its efforts to find and appoint a new Executive Director.

Resumes and cover letters for the Executive Director position may be submitted to Matt Erhard at [email protected] and the job description can be found at

About Summit Search Group

Summit Search Group is a national recruitment firm that specializes in professional and executive recruiting. Summit Search Group provides search and placement recruitment and executive search services for positions in leadership positions in the non-profit and private sectors.  As the leader in professional and executive recruiting in Winnipeg, Summit Search Group has earned the role of trusted partner to their clients.

Tim Hortons Smile Cookie week raises over $175,000 for CRF!

November 17, 2020

Thank you Winnipeg and Tim Hortons!

Your sweet tooth helped raise a record-breaking $175, 296 through Tim Hortons Smile Cookie week. Our most heartfelt thanks to you and everyone on the Tim Hortons team who made this possible. You stepped up when we needed it the most and because of your generosity, we can continue making a difference in the lives of children living with disabilities.

Purchase a “Helping me Shine” Necklace and Support CRF

November 12, 2020

Lila Reese Jewelry is custom made right here in Winnipeg. This sterling silver necklace designed exclusively for Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation features a rainbow & sun stamp hung on a sterling silver chain. Wear this beautiful necklace and show your support of children living with disabilities. Limited quantities available, shipping anywhere in Canada included.

Get yours today!

CRF/RCC Masks Now on Sale

October 13, 2020

Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation and Rehabilitation Centre for Children masks are now on sale!

Buy a Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation/Rehabilitation Centre for Children mask and support children living with disabilities.

Each mask is $10 and features both CRF and RCC logos. Get yours today!