Ontario Renews Funding for Legends Mentoring Program For Children with Autism
Ontario is renewing funding for the Legends Mentoring Program and providing $325,000 in 2019-20.
The Legends Mentoring Program matches youth, young adults, college students and caring adults, with a child or youth with autism.
Volunteer mentors, many from high school and university hockey teams, will share time with their mentees who will greatly benefit from having a friend and whose family will benefit from a few hours of respite on a regular basis.
The goal of the Jake's House Legends Mentoring Program is for children with autism to find acceptance and lasting friendships.
For children and youth with autism participating in the program, 56 in the first two years, the aim is to:
- Increase their community engagement and sense of inclusion,
- Help them develop social skills and improve their social experiences, and
- Improve their relationships with their peers and community members.
The mentoring program provides screening, pre-match training and mentoring coordinators to help with the recruitment and matching processes as well as ongoing support to mentors. It also provides additional training to better understand issues related to children and youth with autism.
Jake's House, a Toronto-based charitable organization that was founded to support families who have children with autism, is currently delivering the program in communities in Kingston, Ottawa, Lanark Country, Thunder Bay, Peel Region and York Region. It hosts community events and raises awareness of financial programs available for families who have children with special needs.