Welcome to SurexCARE!
This year Surex Community Services (Surex CS) will celebrate its 40th Anniversary. So much has changed for Surex CS and our world since our beginnings in 1980.
1980 was a heady year for Canada. A young man who had lost his leg to cancer taught us all that anything and everything is achievable. Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope brought Canada, and indeed the world, together. And though Terry Fox lost his battle to cancer he taught us all that a disability or illness is no match for the human spirit.
In 1980, the Province of Québec chose to remain a part of Canada – choosing inclusion over separation. That same year, the Government of Ontario also chose inclusion over separation in its decision to begin the process of shuttering the institutions in which people with developmental disabilities were housed since 1876.
The Ministry of Community & Social Services, Surrey Place and Extendicare formed a partnership to integrate residents of the Huronia Regional Centre (first opened in 1876) into the community.
They named their pilot project Surex Community Services and opened up a Group Home at 88 Dentonia Avenue. Now known as the Sheldon Caplan House, it became home to 8 adolescents and preteens – 40 years later, some of these original residents still call it their home.
Another home opened at 14 Hurndale. Now known as the Bill Solomon House, it was the home for 8 adults. Some of these adults now reside at our Seniors’ Home located on Coatsworth Avenue.
Over the years, as more people left the Institutions, Surex CS opened more homes and initiated a Day Program, known as the John Carbone Centre. Our 11 residences are home to 52 people, and our Day program supports 52. A staff of 140 work together with the individuals we support and their families to ensure that everyone enjoys the joys of living in a caring and inclusive community.
In 1980, people were not so accepting of having people with developmental disabilities as neighbours. There were many complaints. Neighbours called to tell us to keep everyone inside for seeing people with developmental disabilities in their midst was upsetting; unsettling to their nerves and bad for their property value. We did not give in. We remained. Some neighbours chose to ignore us but most came to care for us. They are now there to help us. They check in on us. They treat us with kindness and acceptance.
2020 is a year of celebration for Surex CS. In our 40th Anniversary year, we begin with a new name – SurexCARE. A name which pays homage to our history but lets the world know that everything we do is based upon Care. We have a new logo to show our commitment to inclusiveness. Ours is a much-changed and technologically savvy world than the one we found in 1980. It has taken SurexCARE longer than most, but we have now embraced technology. Our new look and refreshed mission, vision and mandate are our message to everyone that we, and all those who live and work with us, will thrive in the years to come.
In 1980, we collectively chose inclusion over separation. In 2020, we choose separation so that we can all thrive in inclusion very soon. This year we had planned parties and celebrations in all our homes for the 40th anniversary of SurexCARE, including a Gala Dinner. However, this year due to COVID-19 we are having to place all these celebrations on hold. We now practice social distance; we wear masks and rely on each other to keep us safe from COVID-19.
Our parties and celebrations are on hold, but they are sure to come. Our focus is on keeping everyone safe and the coronavirus at bay. Just as the people in our care showed such great resilience during those years of institutionalization and then moving to Toronto; they are showing great resilience now. SurexCARE will hold its parties when holding festivities is safe. But for now, we will celebrate each of the days we remain COVID-19 free; we will do “drive-bys” to say hello and celebrate birthdays in the days of social isolation.
We hope you will join us to celebrate all that has been achieved over these past year 40 years and all that is to follow for SurexCARE. In the meantime, stay safe. Stay healthy. And take care.