Called to life and compelled to love, Grace Anglican Church Waterdown partners with God to transform lives and build community through our new ministry, the Graceful Abilities Day Program. Graceful Abilities runs two days per week and offers programming for adults with disabilities in the Waterdown area. The program provides participants with opportunities to learn and practice social, artistic, physical, educational, and life-skill building activities, make lifelong friends, and find a place where they feel included and have a sense of belonging.
In keeping with the Mission Action Plans of both the Diocese of Niagara and Grace Anglican Church, Grace started the Graceful Abilities Day Program to provide people with disabilities with a safe and loving environment to experience the love of God, grow, learn new skills, engage with the community, express themselves creatively, and to have new experiences while being accepted in all their individuality and uniqueness. It is our hope that with this program we can be an example that may inspire other parishes to discern a calling to a similar ministry.
As many adults with disabilities struggle with or are unable to stay alone for long periods of time, when caregivers are at work during the day for example, day programs provide a reliable and approachable solution. Like other day programs, Graceful Abilities provides participants with the care and support they need during the day to lead an active and fulfilling daily life and allows caregivers the opportunity to work, run errands, or practice self-care while their loved one is in a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment. Participants are able to engage in a variety of activities, including games, music and theatre, reading, journaling, story writing, art, crafts, meditation, baking, Tai Chi, yoga, exercise, pet therapy, outdoor games, gardening, neighbourhood walks, guest speakers, weekly afternoon community outings, and monthly full day community outings.
Graceful Abilities was launched in January 2023 with the support of Grace parishioners, the Waterdown and Flamborough community members, and financial support from the Diocese of Niagara’s Walking on Water Fund, the Hamilton Community Foundation’s Edith H. Turner Fund, and Unity for Autism. Before the creation of Graceful Abilities, Grace had been hearing from parishioners and community members who have family members with disabilities that there was not a suitable day program in the Waterdown area, and that programming in other areas of Hamilton were difficult to access due to distance, transportation issues, and the level of support that some participants required.
As followers of Jesus, we felt called to serve some of the most vulnerable people in our community to the best of our abilities. It is our belief that every person is special and valuable, each adding to the Body of Christ by their uniqueness and individuality. The Graceful Abilities Day Program was conceived by our passion for people’s inherent right to be accepted, valued, welcomed. and offered the opportunity to learn and grow in an environment tailored to their needs in their community.
Since we are all one in Christ, we ALL deserve to live in the dignity of Christ. Graceful Abilities is able to provide higher levels of support than many day programs as many Grace staff and volunteers have professional and personal experience caring for adults with physical and developmental disabilities. Multiple Grace staff members and volunteers have disabilities themselves or support a family member with disabilities. Members of the Grace staff team also have personal experiences with day programs, both as participants of these programs and as caregivers of participants. These experiences have given Grace a unique perspective and allow staff and volunteers to create and run an excellent program that is responsive to participant needs and interests. The people of Grace are passionate about ensuring that our neighbours, God’s beloved, in all of their uniqueness, enjoy fullness of life in our community.
To learn more about Graceful Abilities please contact Grace Anglican Church Waterdown by phone at (905) 689-6715 ex. 83 or by email at [email protected], or check out our website at http://www.graceanglicanwaterdown.org/graceful-abilities-day-program