2013 CITYKIDS Inclusion Awards
On January 16th the 2013 biennial CITYKIDS Inclusion Awards were held to acknowledge exemplary inclusionary practices within early learning and care programs across the City of Toronto. Hosted by the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the 2013 Inclusion Award Recipients are:
- Allenby Day Care Centre (North Quadrant)
- Cedarbrae Day Nurseries - 20 Greencrest (East Quadrant)
- Carmelite Day Nursery (South Quadrant)
- Network Child Care Services- Mariam Darman (West Quadrant)
In his welcoming remarks, His Honour offered congratulations to all of the recipient centres and highlighted the extraordinary commitment and dedication of all professionals in the city who support young children with special needs. "It takes a village to raise a child," said the Lieutenant Governor, "and all of you have taken that message to heart, and put it into practice. Services like yours are so important; they do change lives! By applying the latest research in the field, you help so many children get a better start in life. I applaud your inclusion initiatives, because they honour the intrinsic right of all children to be accepted and included as valued members of society, with or without disabilities."
Michele Lupa, Executive Director of Mothercraft, emphasized the important role the municipal government plays in supporting the inclusion of all children in early learning settings. "Our city has embedded inclusive practices in policy initiatives like Every Child Belongs, weaving into the delivery of services and programs the expectation that every child has a right to be included and treated equally, with dignity and respect." She also acknowledged the provincial government's commitment to inclusion through legislation and policy. "Our province has enacted legislation that embeds principles of inclusion in all aspects of public life that is moving us toward a much more inclusive society," said Ms. Lupa.
Representatives from each of the recipient organizations accepted their respective awards with humility, grace and an obvious love for the children with whom they work. In accepting their awards, recipients expressed their gratitude with an honesty and passion that was truly inspiring. The emotion in the room was palpable and contagious.
The event proceedings concluded with insightful remarks from Yves Thoeret, a parent whose child has extra support needs and is enrolled in a licensed child care program. "(When) I drop her off in the morning, she is a happy child. And when I pick her up, she is even happier!" With this one sentence, Mr. Thoeret captured the essence of what the professionals being recognized through the Inclusion Awards hope to achieve for all parents and their children - early learning environments where every child has a sense of belonging and feels included.
Following the formal proceedings, recipients and guests were invited to celebrate these outstanding accomplishments at a reception generously hosted by His Honour. Photos of the event can be viewed at www.lgontario.ca/en/events/pages/eventdetails.aspx?eventid=79 and www.flickr.com/photos/lgontario/sets. On behalf of the entire CITYKIDS partnership, congratulations to the 2013 CITYKIDS Inclusion Awards Recipients!