FORT ST JOHN, B.C. – A local family raised $2,000 for the Fort StJohn Child Development Centre through hot dog sales on Canada Day.

The Pimm family’s goal on July 1st during the classic cruisers car show on 100th Street was to raise money for the centre while bringing attention to the CDC’s programs and raising autism awareness.

Last week, the Pimm family presented a cheque to the centre for its special services program.

Coral Pimm, the organizer of the barbecue, says her daughter was diagnosed with autism in 2019.

When searching for supports for her, the family discovered the CDC’s special services program.

Pimm says her daughter started the summer and fall programs in 2019 until COVID-19 hit.

Still, the CDC workers helped the kids involved in the program, including dropping off homemade Play-Doh and a memory game of their friends from the centre.

“They were still really involved. They actually came, and they sat outside and made a mother’s day craft with them,” Pimm said.

“It’s like this big extended family. The ladies are just so good to the kids.”

Pimm says that’s why they wanted to give back, as her daughter really enjoys her time at the centre and has learned a lot.

“I think they help. She’s done sewing there, and they go to different community places. They’ve gone to bowling, gymnastics, kickboxing, parks, the pool,” she said.

“They take ’em all sorts of places.”

Pimm adds that she wanted to get this information out because many people didn’t know the CDC had the special services program.

The special services program at the CDC provides group-based services to children and youth from 0-19 that meet the eligibility criteria determined by B.C.’s Ministry for Children and Family Development.

To access the program, a child must have a diagnosis of autism, a related disorder, cognitive delay, or be eligible to receive the At-Home program funds such as medical or respite.

Pimm says the program believes “that all children and youth are entitled to a safe and welcoming environment where they are free to be themselves and develop friendships amongst their peer group.”

The program uses a “functional learning” curriculum for children with special needs to “reach their full potential” as active participants in home, school and community environments.

Personal care, domestic, recreational, community safety, behaviour management, social and functional academics are some of the skills developed through this program, Pimm explains.

Crystal Kalas, the special services coordinator and supervisor, can be reached at 250-785-3200 for questions about this program.

Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for energeticcity.ca. Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.