Ariel Pastorek was only 17 months old when she was in a horrific car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Thanks to the efforts of the staff at B.C. Children’s Hospital, she survived the collision, although years of therapy lay ahead so she could live a life.
That’s where the Ridge Meadows Child Development Centre came in.
Pastorek, now 32, attended the Maple Ridge facilty from when she was a toddler, until she was five years old, during which therapists guided her back towards a normal life and allowed her to enter the school system.
“Without this place, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she said Friday at a funding announcement at the new location on Lougheed Highway and 217th Street. “The Child Development Centre really helped me.”
Mom Kathy Booth said that the centre was crucial to allowing her daughter to enter the school system. “The B.C. Children’s Hospital saved her life. The Child Development Centre gave her a life,” Booth said.
Local MLAs, Bob D’Eith and Lisa Beare announced a $120,000 Community Gaming Grant to help the centre with renovation costs in its new location. The centre was flooded out of its previous location on Dewdney Trunk Road following a Sept. 14, 2018 storm surge that dumped rain and hail on downtown Maple Ridge.
The centre lost furniture, therapy equipment, and furnishings when the freak storm dumped rain and hail on to downtown Maple Ridge. As ice blocked street drains, water pooled in the parking lot and rushed into the development society building, forcing evacuation.
The child development centre, along with the Start Smart Childcare Centre daycare, shared the building on Dewdney Trunk Road at 226th Street. Parts of the walls have to be replaced, along with furniture and equipment.
Following the flood, the centre relocated to five locations in order to keep offering its services.
The Ridge Meadows Child Development Centre provides therapy, early intervention, prevention and respite support services for children with special needs and their families. This promotes children’s healthy development, maximizes their quality of life, assists families in their role as primary caregivers and supports full participation in community life. The centre serves up to 1,000 children with a variety of programs.
“We know that the earlier children with a developmental delay get support, the better their chances for growth and success,” sKatrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development, said in a news release.
“The community has rallied around this organization and its families through the challenges they have faced as a result of last year’s flash flood,” said Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, on behalf of Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in the news release.