Winstars Gymnastics Gives Family Respite Services Big Lift

Windsor's Winstars Gymnastics is donating $1,500 to Family Respite Services to help kids with special needs get more one-on-one time.

The donation will cover 100 hours of direct support between a respite provider and a child in need of special attention.

The gymnastics club matched donations given at its annual Christmas show to reach the $1,500 given in the cheque to Family Respite Services Windsor-Essex.

Winstars Gymnastics Co-Owner Carey Vigneux is thrilled to be able to help out.

"Any small amount of improvement is fantastic and the smiles on their faces after the class and during the class is unbelievable and I think that is the joy of working with children," says Vigneux.

AM800-News-Caleb-Dresser-Family-Respite-Services-Winstars-Gymnastics-2

Winstars Gymnastics donates $1,500 to Family Respite Services Windsor-Essex to support one-on-one programming on April 30, 2018. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Winstars Gymnastics is able to welcome many kids with disabalities for targeted programs every week — like Caleb Dresser.

"I love gymnastics, I love gymnastics, I love gymnastics," says the 7-year-old. "My favourite thing is the bars. That you get to hang on them."

The program helps Caleb learn fundamental movement skills and is a safe space for him to socialize. He deals with low muscle tone, severe asthma and allergies and is moderately autistic.

Heather Dresser, Caleb's mom, says the gymnastics club and Family Respite Services has meant a lot to her family.

"It means that my kids have been given more opportunities to do things," says Dresser. "We've done a great plethora of activities through trial and error, it's just finding where they fit."

AM800-News-Caleb-Dresser-Family-Respite-Services-Winstars-Gymnastics-3

Winstars Gymnastics donates $1,500 to Family Respite Services Windsor-Essex to support one-on-one programming on April 30, 2018. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Melynda Outram is the other co-owner of Winstars Gymnastics. She works with the kids when they step onto the mats at the club and says it's something close to her heart.

"I think mostly because it wasn't their choice. Kids don't choose to have cerebral palsy, they don't choose to have autism," says Outram.

Family Respite Services Community Relations Coordinator Alexandria Fischer says one-on-one support sometimes gives parents their only reprieve from meeting the special care many of these children need.

"Maybe their time with their direct support provider is their only time that they would have something on the calendar; obviously busy family home life. So, the respite provider brings the child out into the community, the child has something to look forward to every week," says Fischer.

Family Respite Services works with about 1,000 families in Windsor-Essex, caring for children with disabilities up to 18 years old.