Rowan’s Room is soliciting donations to expand its services

An organization that provides support to families with children struggling in traditional settings hopes to expand its services and offer more support to Atlantic Canadians.

Rowan’s Room Developmental Society is an organization that aims to provide educational resources, as well as emotional and behavioral support and services, to families who need more support for their children.

Elizabeth Mason-Squires, executive director and founder of Rowan’s Room, saw the need for more support when she was trying to find help for her own daughter, Rowan, who has autism.

This led to the establishment of Rowan’s Room in Middleton, Nova Scotia in 2016.

“There were missing resources, gaps in services, and my own daughter, Rowan, needed extra help that wasn’t available,” Mason-Squires says. “So we’ve put in place a suite of programs and services that fill those gaps and have worked with those existing services to make it a more seamless transition between what’s available in the province.”

The organization has grown over the years from respite and preschool to a full-time school program, an after-school program, as well as support and programs for families in need.

“Whatever the need, our goal is to fill it, and eventually I’d like to see a Rowan’s Room all over Nova Scotia,” says Mason-Squires.

Mason-Squires says her original focus for the program was on what services can be offered, starting with early intervention programs provided by the province, and building from there.

“Then it became mostly academic, in the sense that I was contacted in every Atlantic province for help with any disability or for children without a disability,” says Mason-Squires. . “Any kid who just couldn’t thrive in a traditional setting.”

“So we kind of rearranged our thinking and realized that this was an environmental situation, where schools can’t change a lot to adapt to needs, but the ‘inclusion pushes everyone to be in school, so we wanted to create an environment that promotes inclusion, but creates an actual physical environment that works for sensory needs and anxiety, so that’s really our goal. , and we are committed to helping develop those skills and the ability to thrive in any environment.

Mason-Squires says once a child is in a place where they feel comfortable in a public place, they are reintegrated into the mainstream school system with support from the organization.

“So that’s really our goal. To get them to a point where they’re doing really well and giving their best,” she said.

Rowan’s Room is also in the middle of a fundraising campaign for a new space right now.

“In 2020 we found a nice space, 5,000 square feet, because of course we went from three kids to 10, 15 kids – we saw over 60 come through our doors – so we needed a space where we could really adapt and make it our own and be able to deliver that environmental change that we were talking about,” says Mason-Squires.

“So we’ve found this space, we’ve got all the construction ready to go and COVID hits. So the lenders, the lenders, they’ve all tightened their purse strings, and all of a sudden the prices skyrocketed. So what was supposed to be a $130,000 renovation has probably turned into half a million now. So we have a space that we’re paying for that we can’t currently use because we we can’t afford the renovations.

Mason-Squires says they have already received donations, including a grant from the Municipality of Kings County, but says they still have a long way to go.

“So we’re just looking for those angel investors, you know, the people who believe in what we’re doing to help support us and the families we serve,” she says.

The organization also hopes to raise funds for school fees to help more families access its services for free.

“We don’t want our families to have to pay anything, we believe our services should be free,” Mason-Squires says. “And right now it’s very expensive because we have highly professional staff and qualified staff and it’s very, very expensive and forbidden for most families, so we want to be able to give it to them for free by collecting scholarship funds so that we can cover this cost for them.”

More information about Rowan’s Room Developmental Society can be found on the organization’s website. website.

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