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Cornwall Nissan, Uptown Kia help Children’s Treatment Centre

Cornwall Nissan manager Spencer Roberts (left) and Children’s Treatment Centre president Don Fairweather. Photo on Monday, December 27, 2021, in Cornwall, Ont. Todd Hambleton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network PHOTO BY TODD HAMBLETON /Todd Hambleton/Standard-Freeholder

It’s been another challenging pandemic year for the Children’s Treatment Centre, but it sure is reaching some high notes as 2021 comes to an end.

Two donations of $10,000 apiece were made on Monday at Cornwall Nissan and next-door neighbour Uptown Kia, and that made it a great start to the year’s final week for CTC president Don Fairweather.

“(During the pandemic) we’ve had to rely almost exclusively on corporate and individual donations to sustain (the centre),” Fairweather said.

First, Fairweather was in the stunning showroom at Cornwall Nissan at the north end of Brookdale Avenue to meet with manager Spencer Roberts for a presentation, and he spoke of the dealership’s great generosity over the last few years, often with a portion of proceeds from sales events being turned over to the CTC.

In 2019, Fairweather recounted, Cornwall Nissan donated a vehicle for a CTC raffle that ultimately generated a significant amount of funds. It has also helped provide safe rides home from some of the centre’s pre-pandemic evening fundraising events.

“Since 2017 (the CTC) has been a (big focus) of our charity efforts,” Roberts told Fairweather, the two praising Ayman Gabriel, who’s the owner of the two side-by-side dealerships.

Indeed, next up was just a short walk over to Uptown Kia and into another gorgeous showroom, where Fairweather was greeted by manager Steve Eastman.

Eastman explained everyone is aware of the important work the CTC does, and it’s the staff at Uptown Kia that deserves kudos, with portions of vehicle sales over the course of the year earmarked for the agency that’s community-based and has helped thousands of kids and youths over the last quarter of a century.

“We have good people,” Eastman said. “Management gets a lot of the credit, and we all engage in it, but it’s our employees (who deserve praise). We all believe in the (CTC).”

The centre in 2021 marked 25 years, but it was one of the most challenging years, with so many traditional fundraising events forced to be cancelled again, or dramatically altered in format. Several large donations have come in December, one of them a $10,000 donation a week ago from the centre’s longest-standing donor, the Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall.

Fairweather acknowledged these are tough times for the centre, but that the community keeps coming through.

“We’re struggling amid COVID because we aren’t able to offer the regular menu of fundraising activities that we usually do,” Fairweather said. “Offsetting that are two things — the generosity of the community is absolutely outstanding, and during a large part of COVID-19, the federal government offered subsidy programs to help defer the cost of wages.

“Those two things have allowed (the centre) to survive in these difficult times.”

The board of directors and its many volunteers again in 2022 will need to set a high bar and raise the $600,000 needed to run the centre, Fairweather saying the money goes almost exclusively to pay for the staff members that provide the counselling service, and to maintain the office and pay for the rent of the office.

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