Did you know Sonshine Families, a foster and residential care agency in Orléans, has been providing important services to families since 1995?
Len and Trinette Goddard are the co-founders of Sonshine Families. After long and fulfilling careers in social services, they were ready for retirement. But life had other plans for them. They were approached by Ottawa’s Children’s Aid Society to see if they would start a much-needed foster care agency.
After discussing it, they decided they would help the families and individuals who needed them and Sonshine Families came into being in 1995. Over the past 27 years, the organization has continued to grow in response to the needs expressed by the community.
For example, they now manage two residential homes in Cumberland for adults with special needs.
In addition, they run a camp in Quebec. In the summer, the camp runs five days each week. In the spring, fall, and winter, there are respite weekends once per month. The camps are fun for the children and adults alike and provide important respite to caregivers.
In Orléans, there are two recreational day programs that take place at their facility on St. Joseph Boulevard. BEAM (an acronym for Behavioural Energy Activity Management) is a program for adults with special needs who require behavioural support. RAYS (Reaching All Your Stars) is a “total” care day program providing more medical supports for adults with special needs and who are both developmentally and physically disabled. The programs include activities in the community such as bowling, visits to museums and festivals, and swimming, and their programming in-house includes activities such as singing, crafts, and making lunches.
This type of service-orientation seems to be in the DNA of the family. Trinette’s mother had been a foster parent in Toronto many years ago. Len and Trinette have fostered many children over the years. Their daughters – Cathy Goddard and Margo Babe – work in leadership roles at Sonshine Families and have also fostered – and adopted – children. Len Jr. and his wife, Denise, have operated a Medical Staff Assisted foster home in Navan for over twenty-five years. Other extended family members have also been foster care providers and/or direct caregivers through the years. Currently Sonshine Families employs over 40 staff members providing full time care as developmental service workers in their programs.
Sonshine Families provide important and sought after services to the community and always have an eye on the future to fulfill any new needs.