From left are Desjardins Ontario representatives Stephane Leger (business development manager) and Christine Delage Robertson (business advisor) along with Celebrity Walk and Breakfast chairs Sean Adams, Wendy Grant and Milton Ellis. Photo on Thursday, September 22, 2022, in Cornwall, Ont. Todd Hambleton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network PHOTO BY TODD HAMBLETON /Todd Hambleton/Standard-Freeholder
Organizers of the Children’s Treatment Centre Celebrity Walk and Breakfast will stay with the same format late next month — a drive-thru event, being held at the Best Western Parkway Inn in Cornwall.
But there’s something they’d like to see change: more people getting involved, as the demand for the centre’s services increases.
“We’re putting out an appeal, with a goal to have more participants and team leaders, to help this event (stay strong),” said co-chair Wendy Grant, a main organizer along with co-chair Milton Ellis and honorary chair Sean Adams. “The need for the centre’s services is greater than ever. Consequently, new team leaders and participants are being sought.”
It’s an appeal to the entire Cornwall, SDG, and Akwesasne community to step up once again for the Oct. 28 event, as they have done over the years; anyone wishing to participate in this fundraiser may join an existing team or form their own team. Team leaders are tasked with assembling a team of at least eight participants.
The Celebrity Walk and Breakfast is closing in on a quarter of a century of being a huge fundraiser for the centre — the first one was held 24 years ago in 1998, and for the third straight year, because of the pandemic, it has that drive-thru format that makes it a challenge to bring in the support and money the event once had. It’s crucial support though, essential for the centre to continue to provide services to child abuse victims and their families.
For about 20 years, the fundraiser was kicked-off with a very early-morning, sit-down breakfast. Over the years, the event grew to where 600 participants gather before sunrise at the civic complex to enjoy a free, hearty breakfast and then listen to inspirational and courageous addresses by adult survivors of child abuse.
In the early years, participants gathered in Lamoureux Park for speeches and cheque presentations, followed by a short walk through the park. Today, with many attendees needing to head off to work, the walk is optional.
The event was initiated by the Standard-Freeholder, founder and principal sponsor. The concept was that committee members, also known as team leaders, would assemble a team of participants who would each pledge a minimum of $100. To recognize their generosity, participants were dubbed ‘Celebrities’ and their photos appeared in a multi-week campaign in this newspaper.
Four years later, in 2003, Desjardins came on board, becoming the event’s major sponsor.
The centre has been providing counselling services to children who have experienced sexual and/or physical abuse, and their families, since June 1996. Beside the initial core program for child victims of sexual or physical abuse, the centre also offers two additional programs, one for adolescents who have committed sexual offences against children, and another for children 5 to 11-years-old who are sexually reactive or sexually aggressive.
Since the CTC opened, 2,956 children from 2,554 families have attended the centre.
And except for a very short period of time at the start of the pandemic, the clinical staff at the centre has continued to provide face-to-face counselling for 26 years.
But, since the onset of the pandemic, the need for the centre’s services has increased. So, services have been augmented in Cornwall, and the centre recently made a significant addition to its presence in the region: the opening of an office in Alexandria, in order to improve accessibility to its services for children and their families living in Glengarry County.
The centre is a community-based, community-supported agency governed by a volunteer board of directors. It’s a unique agency, entirely funded by the community it serves, receiving no government funding. As such, it is able to channel the bulk of its resources towards those who need them the most — the children.