There was emotion in Mayor Lois Jackson’s voice when she spoke during the opening of the new Reach Child and Youth Development Society building.
Standing at the podium on Saturday, Feb. 24, she spoke about the importance of a dedicated space for children with special needs in the community.
“This facility will become a vibrant part of the community,” Jackson said. “From Delta’s perspective I think it’s wonderful that we’ve come from being housed in modular buildings on 72nd Street, in a rural area, to now being in the centre of our community.”
The newly constructed building she was standing in had special significance: it will help improve Reach’s ability to help kids like Jackson’s granddaughter, and it was named for Jackson herself.
The Lois E. Jackson Kinsmen Centre for Children (5050 47th Ave.) is the result of many year’s labour to get a new building for Reach.
The 2,000 square foot building cost $5.7 million — $1 million of that was provided by the City of Delta, with an additional $1.3 million of in-kind donations from the city, while the rest was provided through grants and donations from other organizations or individuals.
The building will double Reach’s capacity to help children with special needs (currently Reach provides services to around 1,000 families) and create a centralized location that is accessible by bus.
The building also includes four counselling rooms; three speech, language and occupational therapy rooms; one designated physical therapy room; an accessible playground and open concept office space for Reach staff.
“It’s days like this I really miss my last portfolio,” Delta MP Carla Qualtrough said at the opening ceremonies. Qualtrough is currently the minister of procurement and public services, but was previously the minister of sport and persons with disabilities.
“When you’re a parent and you’re about to have a child, you have an almost naive sense of certainty about what their life will look like,” she continued. “And when you’re a parent, as my mum was, who is told that your child was born with some kind of disability, a lot of that certainty slips away. And you don’t know what the future is going to hold for your child.
“Reach provides that certainty for the children and their families.”