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Wenban family shines as longstanding supporters of the Integra Program

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The Towhee Summer Residential Program, located in Haliburton, Ontario, is a unique therapeutic program for children and youth ages 10 to 18 years with learning disabilities and mental health issues.

We are very grateful to the Wenban family for their thoughtful donation to the Towhee Summer Residential Program this past year. With their generous support, CDI was able to purchase two mountain bikes and several high-quality Thermarest camping mattresses for the summer of 2016.

This dual focus for the Wenban family donation was the suggestion of their son, Harry, now a Masters of Social Work student at the University of Toronto and a senior Towhee staff member. Harry’s idea was that the mountain bikes would be a way to remind Towhee staff how much they are valued and that camping mattresses would help campers to rest better and get the most out of their out-trips. 
 
According to Nicola Bangham, Director of Towhee, the mountain bikes made a significant difference to the wellbeing of Towhee staff and were a great recreational outlet: “The seven-kilometre trail around the lake was well-worn over the past summer with staff frequently riding the new bikes during their off-time.”

Of the mattresses, Nicola remarked, “many of our families cannot afford to send high-quality camping mattresses and, for our campers especially, it is so helpful to remove any barrier that might prevent a child from having a successful out-tripping experience.” 
 
Harry is in a good position to know on both fronts. He was a camper at Towhee. Subsequently, Harry returned for five summers progressing through positions as a High Ropes Program leader, a Support Counsellor, a Counsellor Supervisor, and this summer he will come back in the role of Assistant Director of Counselling.

Virginia and Michael Wenban are long time supporters of Integra programs and are articulate about the transformative growth trajectory they offer to children and youth who are navigating learning disabilities and mental health issues. As Virginia says, “We’ve seen Integra’s remarkable programs develop out of deep understanding, empathy, continual learning and the sharing of expertise on the part of truly exceptional staff members. It’s inspiring to see so many youth finding their confidence to embark on all that they’re capable of, as a result of these programs.”
 
Beyond summers at Towhee, Harry participated in the Integra Mindfulness Martial Arts (MMA) program, eventually earning his black belt and becoming an MMA instructor before heading off to university. Harry’s expertise will certainly be put to good use as CDI gets ready to introduce a pilot MMA program at Towhee this coming summer.

To learn more about the Integra Program, click here