A group of Airdrie parents, whose children receive Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) funding from the provincial government, are working to ascertain if a PDD office in Airdrie would benefit the community.
One such parent, Germaine Kolynchuk, whose adult daughter is developmentally disabled and receives PDD funding, said a physical office in the city would make a big difference. For her family, she said, an Airdrie location would allow her daughter to access programs that would, for example, teach her about Airdrie’s transit system rather than Calgary’s.
“In Airdrie, parents with PDD funding for our children are often directed toward agencies in Calgary,” Kolynchuk said. “We do not have a local agency or office of any PDD organization. We do have some PDD support in the community, but we don’t have a physical presence [from] any sort of agency office.”
PDD workers, according to the Government of Alberta, help individuals, families or guardians develop a plan for receiving funds and services to help meet the needs and goals of those with developmental disabilities. Supports from an office include assistance in applying for and receiving funding, connecting clients with other agencies or programs, along with various community services and recreation programs.
Kolynchuk and the group of parents reached out to Foothills Advocacy in Motion (FAIM) – which has locations in Okotoks, High River and Strathmore – to see if there is an interest in opening an office in the city.
“We’re hoping to make this happen in Airdrie,” she said. “Having been down to [the High River office], it was quite interesting to see that they have a building where their adult community can meet, touch base and work out of.”
FAIM has been operating for 39 years and currently serve more than 120 adults, according to the organization.
Executive Director Gerry McCallum was in town May 30 to share what the organization is and to gauge the desire for an Airdrie location.
McCallum said the number of people who attended the event, held at the Echo Room in Genesis Place Recreation Centre, is a promising indication of community interest.
“I felt it was a very good turnout there,” he said. “There were around 19 families who showed up and some professionals in the field, as well. There were lots of great questions [and] I have felt that the intent of this meeting, from my point of view, was met.”
McCallum said, though attendance to the event was impressive, there are a few steps that would need to occur before the organization will consider progressing with an Airdrie location.
“I'm waiting to hear from individuals and their families about whether or not they're interested in the services that FAIM would provide,” he said. “Then, if it goes to a next step, it would mean I would need approval from my board of directors to move forward.”
For more information, visit faims.org