Last week, local business Roots 2 Wings was awarded $10,000 by ADP Canada as part of a 2016 Small Business Grant Contest.
The contest gives the winner $10,000 cash prize, and a year of free payroll services, valued at $3,500.
Roots 2 Wings, located on 3230 Jefferson Blvd, provides services to youth and young adults with disabilities, and provides an environment to learn life skills, be involved with the community, socialization with their peers, professional development, and recreation to enrich the livelihood of every client involved.
Jody Lowrie, founder of Roots 2 Wings, said that the announcement brought her to tears.
“I was out, actually leaving Ten Friends diner with my clients and volunteers,” she said, “It was really exciting for all of us to hear the news.”
She thanks the volunteers for the overwhelming support, from the co-op students who encouraged their classmates to vote, to the therapy dogs that wore collars reminding everyone to support Roots 2 Wings.
She said that it means so much to her organization, and will help them keep strong and keep moving forward. “We can make it so much more accessible for our clients,” she said.
Part of the grant money will go towards accessibility features, like more handrails, and much needed lift and transfer equipment to help with transportation. They are also looking into a Snoezlen addition, also known as a controlled multisensory environment, for their clients to enjoy.
The money will also support the current programs that they host, such as Inspired Sounds Music Therapy, Dance with Soul to Sole, Winstars Gymnastics, Potter & Palettes, pet therapy and other volunteer initiatives.
And, finally, it will help start the funding for a van or a bus to help ease the process of transporting clients to and from outings.
Roots 2 Wings was established in 2013. Jody Lowrie’s son Gabe has autism. When Gabe graduated from high school, Lowrie found the lack of support for young adults with disabilities hindering her son’s opportunities.
“While I was looking for programs, I remember talking to people, saying I could probably make a program of my own. The response was overwhelmingly positive,” said Lowrie. She knew that other people were facing the same problems she was.
“Life isn’t over for our kids when they turn 18. They still want to be out and be social. There were programs, but they weren’t integrated with the community,” said Lowrie. She said it’s important for these young adults to be around their peers, just like any other youth of that age.
“It’s heart-warming to see that the ADP Small Business Grant will be helping small businesses like Roots 2 Wings,” said Virginia Brailey,Vice President, Marketing and Strategy at ADP Canada. “We are pleased to see Roots 2 Wings will be able to expand its resources, and continue to make such a meaningful contribution to the community of Windsor.”
It started out of her home, but has moved a couple times as her clientele grew larger and larger. Now, Roots 2 Wings is well on its way to being a small business that will keep for a very long time.