Jesse Willms: Happy To Help Out The Winnifred Stewart Association

Posted by Jesse Willms on April 13, 2011

It seems hard for me to believe that it’s been almost a year now since I started working with and supporting worthy non-profit organizations. Since last June I’ve donated time and money to a variety of charities that help the community.

But, I received a letter the other day that reminded me of my earliest efforts. One of the first organizations I supported was The Winnifred Stewart Association. In fact, it was so early in my philanthropic campaign that I wasn’t even blogging about what I was doing yet.

The call I got was from the association thanking me for my $1,000 donation last July. They also wanted to let me know that they are placing a plaque in my company’s name on their Wall Of Honour and will be listing us in their Annual Report.

I could not be more flattered. The Winnifred Stewart Association is one of the best organizations in the Edmonton area, so their appreciation means a great deal to me.

It was founded by Winnifred Mary Stewart whose son, Parker, was born with developmental disabilities. Stewart wanted to do everything she could to offer her son as normal a life as possible.

But, at that time there wasn’t a support system in the community for the developmentally disabled. They were considered “lost causes.”  Stewart was not going to let this stop her, so she created the Edmonton Association for the Mentally Handicapped and the Winnifred Stewart School.

At the height of her efforts, the school taught 450 students a year. This continued until the Canadian public school system came into the modern age and started integrating the developmentally disabled into the regular school system.

Since then, the Winnifred Stewart Association has continued to work hard to provide opportunities for the developmentally disabled. They work to incorporate these people into the community, offer them social activities, and help them find meaningful employment.

In other words, they empower developmentally disabled people in the Edmonton area to lead productive lives.

This is obviously a worthy goal, and one that we all should support. The developmentally disabled should be treated as normal members of our community who simply face more challenges than the rest of us.

They are human beings with the same right to work, live and love as those of us who are more fortunate. They deserve lives filled with dignity.

The Winnifred Stewart Association helps make that possible, which is why I am happy to support them.  I hope that you too will take this opportunity to learn more about their organization and support them yourself. It’s all part of making our community a better place for everyone.