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Kim Edmunds Chats About Day Programs and WCA’s New Building

Recently the Saskatchewan government’s announced an investment of $924,000 into the construction of a new day program building for people with intellectual disabilities, to be operated by West Central Abilities (WCA).

We caught up with Kim Edmunds, Executive Director of West Central Abilities, to chat a little bit more about what day programs are and how they assist people who use them.

Could you tell us a little more about the Day Programs?

WCA’s Day Program and Out & About Program provide specialized services for persons experiencing disabilities. These programs offer a variety of activities such as daily living skills and leisure/recreational activities with a focus on community connection and personal development and wellbeing. These programs are directed by the needs and interests of each individual.

WCA’s developmental services are designed to provide persons experiencing disabilities the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, build their confidence by developing particular skills and or functional abilities such as social skills, vocational skills, and independent living skills and to achieve as much independence as possible.

Our current Day Program building is in the industrial area of town and is a building that has been re-purposed many times over the years. We offer programs including individual therapies, social skills, nutrition, arts and crafts, music enjoyment and much more in our current building. We make do with what we have, but there are concerns in our current building including doorways that are not wide enough to pass through with some wheelchairs, a high ceiling structure that has not allowed us to have a ceiling-mounted lift system and a lack of sidewalks in the area making outdoor activities difficult and even dangerous. West Central Abilities operates the Out & About Program, which strives to find or create opportunities in the community that match the needs and interests of those involved in the program. Prior to COVID, individuals in this program took part in activities such as volunteering at a local salon, spending time at the walking track, ringing bells for the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle, completing their own shopping for groceries, clothing, gifts, etc.

How do Day Programs work and how do they support those who attend?

Individuals experiencing disability may access one or more of the services we offer, including Day Program, Residential Services, Supported Living, or the Out & About Program. Once accepted we get to know the individual and develop a person-centered program just for them. This may mean that they help with tasks like cooking or cleaning if that is something they are interested in, or have a skill they would like to develop or build on or we can plan art or music activities if that is what they enjoy. Some of what we offer are weekly bingo games, yoga, stretches, or work on academics like math or reading depending on the goals of each person.

How will the new building support Day Programs?

The new facility will place West Central Abilities in the heart of our community! This physical location on 1st Avenue West will allow us to improve our engagement within our community by being more accessible both inside and outside of our physical space! Individuals will be able to walk to the day program more safely without crossing the busy highway, we will be able to walk to the post office to send mail to friends and family or stop by the Co-op or one of the local restaurants for a coffee or lunch. The building will be built to meet our current and projected needs. It will include a more accessible layout, ceiling track lifts in multiple rooms where they will be most needed, encompass a designated sensory space that will allow individuals to have their sensory needs met in a private, quiet area, and classrooms and training spaces where we will be able to offer a variety of programs to groups of individuals and staff without affecting the entire group.

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