Events for Life will be recognized as a leading organization supporting individuals with special needs allowing them to live, learn and work in an integrated, inclusive community.
What We Do
Once a special needs student reaches the age of 21, their formalized high school experience ends and many do not continue on to college, university, the trades, or find employment. Opportunities to build life skills, live independently and be engaged in leisure and social activities are limited, especially in rural communities. Events for Life fills this gap.
Events for Life Centre Inc began as a summer program in 2013, and has grown every year since then. We currently offer day programs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 9 am to 4 pm in addition to PD Days. Local recreational activities create opportunities for increased physicality and community orientation. They include swimming, dance and music therapy, pickle ball, Zumba and yoga.
Our participants also operate a Coffee Nook that is open to the public, where they learn life skills such as menu planning, baking, customer service and basic banking, among others.
Other organized activities outside of the program day are our “Super Socials”. These include activities such as dances, movie nights and traveling to see sporting events and various theater productions.
Barb has spent the last 30 years working with children and youth in the fields of outdoor recreation, summer camping, and event planning. She brings experience as a General Manager and Executive Director in the not for profit sectors. Barb spent 20+years managing an ancillary recreation centre at Seneca College where she developed an outdoor adventure camp and integrated children and young adults with special needs into the programs. Since moving to the Blue Mountains Barb has volunteered for Big Brother Big Sisters Georgian Triangle and the Beaver Valley Outreach. Barb's passion is working with people and making a difference in her community.
Shelley Higginson is the Founder and Program Director at Events for Life Centre. (EFL) Starting in the summer of 2013, Shelley had a vision and together with two friends, began this “grass roots organization” at her farm in Meaford. Shelley realized that once students with special needs graduated from high school at the age of 21, there wasn’t anything for them to do. For two summers Shelley ran a summer program providing recreational activities, social skills and lifelong learning for the students. The word got out, the numbers went up and the program expanded to the basement of the United Church in Thornbury. In 2017 EFL became Incorporated as a Not for Profit charity as was generously gifted the use of the farm house, garage/workshop and use of the trails at Beaver Creek Farms in Thornbury. Shelley has an extensive background and certifications in special education. Formally trained as an Educational Assistant at Georgian College, she has worked as an EA at Georgian Bay Secondary School, supporting youth with special needs in skill development and academic improvement. Shelley represents the architect for progressive growth. She has enhanced program offerings and established community partnerships, while pivoting with grace and integrity to ensure that each individual participants and their family members are respected and honoured for their unique strengths, gifts, and lifestyle. Shelley manages 2 full time staff, occasional part-time staff, seasonal coop students and trains over 30 volunteers from the local community. By completing the Crestcom International Bullet Proof Management course Shelley has, elevated her leadership expertise and enhanced communication for continuous improvement and growth. Shelley continues to live on her farm with her husband and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren Bo and Blake. Shelley is living proof that when you have a vision and are driven to succeed, dreams to come true.
Brenda has a background in the education field as an Educational Assistant. Brenda is a calm and compassionate person and she brings these qualities to the EFL program. She has seen the need for programs like EFL in our community and jumped at the opportunity to be part of the program. She finds it to be one of the most rewarding experiences in her career of helping people with special needs.
Katrina has spent the last 10 years raising her two boys and the last 4 of them being the part-time Office Manager at The Bowering Lodge and Eagle Maxadventures. Katrina has lived in the community of Thornbury for 30+ years and loves to see how it has come together to support EFL. Prior to having children, Katrina volunteered at a turtle refuge and hostel in Costa Rica, the Georgian Bay Animal Rescue, worked as Program manager at Sail Georgian Bay and worked in the banking industry for 6 years. Katrina is thankful to join such a great team who is making a difference in our community.
David joined the EFL staff team in June 2021. David has been involved with agencies that support people with special needs for over 15 years. He brings front line work experience to EFL and has the skills and personality to help our participants thrive. David is outgoing, creative and loves to make people laugh. David lives in Clarksburg with his wife and son and is very active in the community. He is an Emergency Medical Responder and volunteers for our local fire department. David is taking the lead with our outdoor skills and nature programs. David has so much to offer and is a welcomed member of our EFL team.
EFL was fortunate to receive a federal grant to employ three summer students for June, July & August. Lucas Giulekas is from Thornbury and has spent the last 5 summers working with EFL. Lucas just graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a degree in Communications. Lucas is returning to WLU for his Masters in September. All our students play a pivotal role in facilitating our on-line programs each morning and afternoon with the participants. They all bring creative and positive energy to the program. EFL is so fortunate to have these amazing individuals working with us.
Board of Directors
Cathy Butler, Chair
Kevin Whyte, Vice-Chair
Melanie Johns, Board Member
Katie Sherk, Board Member
Gary Wilson, Board Member
Kelly Williams, Director
Vicki Clarke, Director