A Message From Leona Banfield

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iFLY for Woodview // FLY FOR A CAUSE // A Message from Leona Banfield

(The creator of our inaugural iFLY for Woodview event!)

When I tell people where I work few people outside of my family seem to know who we are, what we do, where we’re located, or the types of services we provide. They look at me, smile, nod, suggesting they get the general idea, but I know full well they don’t know who Woodview really is…and we have amazing things to share.

People are often surprised that we have about 200 employees, run programming in 3 regions and provide services to over 2,000 clients a year. 

This year, it’s been my mission to put Woodview on the map.

 I want to share with our communities the magnitude and impact of the services we provide in Halton, Brantford, and Hamilton. We want the people in our communities to know about the amazing services we offer, and hence share this with the friends and family so those who are searching for help and assistance know we’re within reach.

The initial goal was to raise $5,000, but now it’s $30,000.

When we started planning I was picturing a small event- we had no idea so many people would be interested in participating. We’ve partnered with major corporations, radio stations, actual celebrities [Dan Talesvki – who was a big hit with our students on September 18], and most importantly, created an amazing opportunity to expand the conversation around mental health and autism.

Please help us expand it even more.

This project has turned into an opportunity for Woodview to not only raise money and be put on the map; but the take the current conversations around mental health and autism to a new level. Better yet, we’re doing so in a super unique way by asking people to potentially face their fears, to do something outside their comfort zone – which is what we ask our clients to do every day.

$30k will go a long way at Woodview to enhance the programs and services we provide. 

Being a recognized leader in our industry outside of our clients and families will be a huge step forward to reach more individuals in need of our services. But best of all, we’re working to continue to expose and eradicate the stigmas associated with mental illness and autism.

We’re contributing to the conversation.

Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, developmental disabilities, autism (to name a few) are not illnesses or disabilities to be ashamed of, but rather talked about so we can ensure services are getting to the people who need it.

iFLY for Woodview flights are selling fast and it’s going to be a large, fun-filled event that will have every participant talking for a long time. Have the proceeds from your flight donated to Woodview Mental Health and Autism Services by purchasing and scheduling your flight today!

Don’t want to fly?

Not a problem! Come watch as others fly and join in on the fun at the Saturday Lounge Night or the Sunday Observation party, where we’ll have hourly giveaways, food, music activities and more. If you’re not in the area, please consider donating to Woodview directly, as any contribution to our fundraiser is appreciated and we sincerely thank you for your donations.

Let’s fly above and beyond for this cause.

With this event, we can truly make an profound difference for the thousands of individuals who need these services and supports so they can live socially and emotionally healthy lives.

 

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Haley

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Before I met Woodview the best words to describe my life was bleak and hopeless. It seemed like an endless cycle of things I couldn’t handle and emotional suffering I couldn’t seem to rid of. It just seemed hopeless and it was difficult to try another solution that may not work.

I achieved a lot of things in all honesty! I tackled a lot of the suicidal thoughts I was having, learned to balance my emotions with my rational side, learned the value in small steps and victories as well as finding the positive in everything around me, I learned how to overcome the things that held me down for so long and to come to peace with my past and a whole lot more.
For my life now, it means I’m over two years clean of self harm and suicidal tendencies, I am better at controlling my emotions and working through them, I am able to find positive and healthy ways of dealing with the things that come my way and I care and value myself more than I ever have.
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Aaron

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Before we met our IBI team at Woodview, life was very stressful. Aaron had few ways to communicate with me and had meltdowns because I didn’t understand what he wanted. Aaron didn’t know how to play independently and would simply line toys up, and open and close all of the doors in the house. Aaron experienced high levels of anxiety when he didn’t know what was expected of him or didn’t know the routine for the day. He had a very difficult time self-soothing if he hurt himself. I was constantly worried about losing him as he’d take off the minute I looked away- grocery shopping with him was impossible because he couldn’t handle the sensory overload and would try to leave.

When we came to Woodview we started to see changes. Aaron learned how to use strategies to self-regulate when in stressful situations- the “bolting away” stopped. He began to communicate with me more and use more words to let me know what he wanted which meant few to almost no more meltdowns. He learned to sit at the table with us for dinner and learned step-by-step how to dress himself independently and get some of his needs met himself- like getting his own glass of water for a drink. Now we can go grocery shopping without struggle and better yet, he helps me remember and get the things we’ve put on the list!

Today, there’s so much less stress for all of us. I can give Aaron choices and he will choose what he wants. We are able to go out more and Aaron can now let me know how he feels so we can avoid meltdowns due to anxiety. This summer he was able to play soccer with other children in the neighborhood which was so amazing to watch. I’m so thrilled for where Aaron has got to and the gains he has made in the IBI program so far.

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Holly

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When Holly first started IBI at Woodview, she didn’t really talk much. She might say single word sentences, or mimic something she heard, but you couldn’t really connect with her or have a proper conversation. This last year has been full of surprises and lots of progress. Although she still struggles in some areas, she’s really improving daily. The wonderful staff at Woodview have really gotten Holly to excel beyond my expectation. She’s having mini conversations now, answering questions without prompting and responding appropriately. I feel so grateful to have had this experience for Holly. it’s exactly what she needed. We’ve made some wonderful connections and will be sad to say goodbye for now, and thank you.

Holly’s Mom

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Nathan

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I moved into Woodview Manor in June 2002. I really like living here because of the staff and my best friends and friends that I’ve made, my friends are the main thing. I like to go to the movies with them, and go out for dinner. Since living at the Manor I have gotten a lot better at laundry, before I moved in here I hated it. When I first moved in I feared cleaning the toilet, and now I am good at it, it’s not my worst problem anymore. I have lots of freedom here, and I would like to continue to live here, or a supporting unit as long as I can.

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Ryan

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As a little boy apart from ear infections and growing pains, Ryan was a happy, healthy, witty, sensitive boy who was athletically and academically talented and he had a lot of sports-minded friends.  During grade 7, we noticed he seemed quieter, sadder and didn’t spend as much time with friends.  At the beginning of grade 8, he developed stomach issues and poor school attendance.  Medical tests ruled out physical causes.  We then explored possible mental health causes.  He was diagnosed with anxiety and ODD.  This surprised us despite a family history of mental illness.  We tried various counselling with little to no success.

By grade 9, he struggled even more.  Ryan then had limited options.  His school social worker suggested the few programs that were available and Ryan decided that he wanted to go to the Woodview Dano/Mountaineer program.

Ryan attended the Mountaineer program in Burlington.  Despite living in a rural area, he had not been on a bus much in a few years. He was to go by taxi daily along with other participants.  We felt hopeful and nervous.  Ryan wanted his life to get back on track but old habits die hard.  He had a rough start and definite blips along the way… but at some point, the strategies and comfort level with the people in the program seemed to kick in. We started to see glimpses of the “old Ryan”.  It truly was a life-changing year for Ryan.

While attending the program this year, along with working on strategies, he was able to earn 6 credits; last year he earned one.  He was in the starting lineup for the baseball team at his high school; they placed 7th in the province!  He even went on the bus when he didn’t drive or get a ride and he has got his G2 driver’s license.  He socialized a great deal; it almost seemed like he felt a need to make up for lost time.  For a summer job, he umpired (which he hadn’t done in 4 years) and he prepared diamonds for ballgames.

His life is vastly different from the one he was living before attending the Mountaineer program.  His struggles aren’t over.  He is still a teenager and faces the trials and tribulations associated with the growing up process.  He will need to remember everything he learned in that year: the strategies, medication, and being willing to go to therapy if/when needed.  He has options for a real future now.  He can achieve and pick a career of his choosing.  These are thoughts that we could not have entertained a few years back.

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Alex

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My name is Alex. I was in the Mountain Day Treatment Program 2014-2015.

First I want to say that I have always been awesome, but Woodview made me more awesome. I used to be really rigid. Woodview helped me deal with my rigidness and helped me be less rigid. They supported me and pointed me in the right direction. They taught me ways to deal with all my stuff. I am not as fast or as efficient as other students, but I am better than I would have been if I didn’t go to Woodview.

My High School did not want to let me in; they did not want me back. I would not even be in school if Woodview didn’t help me. I have had problems since kindergarten and now I am doing awesome- I am the least trouble of all the kids in my class. I still have people who come up to me because they remember me from the past and tell me I am really chill now, not like I was before.

My personal opinion is that Woodview changes everyone for the better. I am not perfect but Woodview helps people make changes that point them in the right direction.

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Amanda

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It seems like a lifetime ago when we started our program at Woodview. Amanda was non verbal and angry and we were so at a loss for what to
do and then we received the call that a spot became available for your IBI program and then our world was about to change.

The team of therapists that worked with Amanda gave her nothing but care, compassion and their hearts. They opened her mind and started
her on her road to success.  Each therapist brought their own unique approach and always seemed to be able to reach Amanda when she needed
it the most.  They never tired and always smiled especially when I needed it the most.

She is now going into grade 5 and the happiest girl we have ever seen!

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Adam

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Along with Autism, Adam suffers from extreme anxiety disorder.  His anxieties from the fear of bees & death were so extreme that they were taking over his life.  We have a pool in our backyard but Adam wouldn’t enjoy it because of his fear of bees.  We also wanted to take him on a tropical vacation but he didn’t want to go anywhere that there would be bees.

When we were referred to The Intensive Child & Family Services Program at Woodview, that’s when we met Brittany.  Brittany worked with our entire family on Adam’s anxieties.  She took Adam on outings & worked with him on techniques that he could use on his anxieties.  These included breathing & phrases he could use to help him cope.

Since being in The Intensive Child & Family Services we have enjoyed a trip to the Bahamas where we enjoyed a lot of outdoor activities and swimming in the ocean. We are currently planning a trip to Cuba!!  Adam has also done a lot of swimming in our pool this year.  This summer while outside swimming a bee flew up to Adam.  At first he yelled and was going to go in the house but then he stopped himself and talked himself through his fear – it was awesome!!!  Adam also experienced extreme anxiety when starting high school last year.  Again, Brittany was there for us.  Together Adam and Brittany attended his first day, making sure he was OK and knew where he was going.  Later in the year when we had to attend a meeting at the high school we were told that Adam was pretty much the poster child for successful transition into high school!!  He successfully completed his first year of high school and is looking forward to starting his 2nd year.

Although we were discharged from active care we know that help is a phone call away.  We just cannot say enough about the staff at Woodview especially Brittany for all that they have given our family.  And although we know that Adam will still need a lot of help along the way we feel confident that he has been provided with the tools to help him cope with a lot of his anxieties.

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Justine, 7

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In 2013, my daughter Justine, who was 7 years at the time, came from foster care to live with me as her newly adoptive mother. After a brief honeymoon period, explosive behaviours began both at home and at school. Her actions were aggressive, dangerous to herself and others, and her language was threatening and violent. At school, the behaviours became so intense and frequent that she could no longer be in the classroom and spent her day 1-1 with an Educational Assistant. The behaviours continued to escalate and she became unmanageable at home and school. I was at my wit’s end, and became in crisis along with my daughter, and this is what led us to Woodview.

In September 2014, Justine started the Halton Intensive treatment Program (HIP) at Woodview, and in-home support was put in place for me.  It took Justine time to allow herself to explore her overwhelming feelings in her new environment, but once she did the staff were able to really get in deep and do their work with her. The atmosphere at Woodview is warm, open and accepting, and I believe that my daughter felt safe enough to explode knowing that she would be in competent hands. She started learning strategies to cope with her huge feelings, and a new self-esteem started developing. At home she started to communicate her fears and needs. She would tell me what strategy she was using to cope and why. She learned to identify triggers and catch herself before she exploded. I couldn’t believe the change! At home, I was getting support from a CYW from Woodview. He would listen to me, empathize, and offer strategies to deal with my daughter and my own feelings. Home life, for the first time was starting to stabilize. And, hope was restored.

Justine was able to graduate from the Halton Intensive Day Treatment Program and transitioned back to our local neighbourhood school in May 2014. Again, through this transition, the Woodview staff assisted and supported Justine and I, as well as the staff at her new school to ensure that all supports were in place. Erika, Justine’s main worker at Woodview, came to her new school to check in with both Justine and the staff, and to offer any support and/or education. Again, I was in awe of the holistic magnificence of the Woodview HIP program and the dedication of the HIP team.

It is summer holidays 2015, and my daughter has attended a 1 week sleepover horse camp and had an amazing time. This would have been unthinkable last summer before the HIP program. She hasn’t had a violent outburst in over 8 months. And, she has a sparkle in her eye and a sweet skip in her step that wasn’t there before. Just the other day Justine went out for lunch with two of her workers in the HIP program whom she adores. The staff go over and above anything I’ve ever seen before. The HIP program at Woodview was a life-changer for us. The program and staff are beyond amazing, and I am forever grateful for all they have done for my daughter and I.

Thank you,

Sincerely,

Samantha Young

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