Past, Present and Future
In the early 1960s, Miriam Home for the Exceptional (now named Centre de réadaptation en déficience intellectuelle et en troubles envahissants du développement CRDITED Miriam) was established as a facility where children could be housed and cared for in an era where people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and intellectual disabilities (IDs) were often excluded from the community. Miriam Home for the Exceptional paved the way to a brighter future for these children, their families and for future generations.
Miriam Home for the Exceptional quickly expanded and began to introduce a variety of rehabilitative and socio-professional programs, some of which operated with the collaboration of other community organizations. The Miriam School for children with ASDs and IDs, now widely known as Summit School, was closely affiliated with Miriam Home for the Exceptional. The two organisations shared resources and collaborated to offer programming until 1970, when the provincial government created the Department of Education and the Miriam School came under their jurisdiction. In 1973, the Miriam Foundation was created by a group of concerned and caring individuals to act as the fundraising arm of CRDITED Miriam.
As the mandate of CRDITED Miriam was changing and they began offering programs with the goal of integrating people with ASDs and IDs into mainstream society, public perception gradually changed. The Miriam Foundation’s fundraising events further influenced the community's perception and understanding of people with ASDs and IDs.
Thanks to the funds generated by the Miriam Foundation, the Lou Greenberg-Miriam Association began purchasing and managing community homes where people with ASDs and IDs could live together under the care and support of CRDITED Miriam staff. Many of these homes are also adapted for clients with physical disabilities.
In 1997, a warehouse in the Town of Mount Royal was converted into the Lori Black Community Centre. This 3.5 million-dollar venture was inspired by the courage and spirit of Lori Black, a young woman with a developmental disability who passed away in 1994. The Lori Black Community Centre houses the administrative offices of the CRDITED Miriam as well as their day programs.
In 2007, the Miriam Foundation conducted a feasibility study assessing the needs and demands of the families and individuals living with ASDs and IDs. What quickly became evident was that there was a strong demand for prompt diagnosis, assessment and treatment of children affected with ASDs and IDs. This urgent necessity brought about the development of the Gold Centre, which addresses these needs in a timely manner.
The Miriam Foundation raises funds through an annual giving campaign and a variety of events. The Foundation's major events gain in popularity with each passing year and are consistently sold out.
A portion of the funds raised support rehabilitative, socio-professional and residential services to more than 800 people living with ASDs and IDs. Many of these services are offered through CRDITED Miriam and accommodate individuals of every age, regardless of their financial or family situation.
As recognized leaders in the field of ASDs IDs, the Miriam Foundation, Gold Centre and CRDITED Miriam partner with hospitals, community centres, school boards, daycare centres, rehabilitation centres and an extensive list of other organizations. These collaborative efforts provide opportunities for shared resources and information exchange with the intent of delivering the best service to every individual.
Moving forward, our mission is to:
- Provide continued financial support for programs that facilitate social integration for all people with ASDs and IDs;
- Raise funds for purchasing and operating additional community residences;
- Offer opportunities for leading-edge training and education to parents, paraprofessionals and professionals;
- Promote awareness of the ever-increasing needs of the developmentally disabled population and generate public support for the cause.
- Collaborate with other organizations to explore new initiatives and directions.