Hello! My name is Christina Ranieri and I am the Executive Director for Ability First Ottawa, a registered charity that provides support services to people living with disabilities in Ottawa.
The reason I started this charity was because I saw that there were a lot of gaps in services that weren't receiving adequate funding. I wanted to fill the gaps that people with disabilities need in order to live full and successful lives. With the current housing situation, the waiting lists were very high with other organizations to get them into apartments and get them the services they needed with social service workers and developmental social workers and programming. That's partly what led us to having our awesome Mondays, where we have art group, and a variety of different programs. We also have outings and we provide respite.
The biggest thing that made me want to start the organization, was because as a person with disabilities myself, I saw my own family struggle through navigating the services. Every day was a fight for them. All I wanted to do was help other persons with disabilities and their families so that they wouldn't have to go through that same fight. I wanted to help them to reach their goals and their dreams and become successful in their own endeavors.
Ability First Ottawa started in 2014. We originally were a summer camp where families would drop their loved ones off at our selected location. We started as a week long program, but more and more families really enjoyed working with myself and the volunteers and wanted more. So we decided to become a charity and now we're helping many families and I couldn't be more fulfilled.
Ways that you can help us, is to connect us with families that we can help, as well as contribute monthly donations that contribute to our programming.
You can reach us through Facebook, visit us at our office at CollabSpace at 70 Bongard Ave. and through our website.