Who we are
Sonshine is a family and individual service provider licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services to provide residential care to children and adults of all ages in both Foster Homes and Group Homes.
Sonshine began in 1991 as a family-run foster care agency, and as needs grew in the community, so did we. Our Sonshine Family has now expanded to include two day programs, group homes, foster homes, an accessible camp, and choir.
After retiring from 24 years of service as Salvation Army officers, Len and Trinette Goddard founded Sonshine in 1991 as a small family-run foster care agency: Sonshine Families. As the needs of the children and the adults in our care grew, so did the services and programs we provide. Sonshine has provided care for hundreds of children and adults with disabilities and their families over the years.
Sonshine opens its first therapeutic S.A.F.E. (staff assisted foster environment) home. Our main office was originally located above the family home on Gerald Street in Ottawa. As the number foster families grew, the families would come to the Goddard family cottage for some summer fun. This location soon became too small and an opportunity to purchase a burnt down cottage and beautiful plot of land on the other side of the lake became possible.
Sonshine Cove located in Notre Dame du Laus, Quebec is completed. After arranging with the local town’s volunteer fire department to practice fire-fighting by burning down the rest of the old cottage, a new camp building was designed and built. Our first summer camp happened in 1994. Since then, Sonshine Cove has provided many camps for children, teenagers and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. This is a fully-accessible residential camp offering week long March Break and summer camps as well as weekend respite camps through out the year.
Sonshine opens its Apple Lane group home which grew out of a need for a group of teenagers looking for a new residence as their home when Ottawa CAS was being closed. Apple Lane currently is the permanent home for 8 men and women with developmental and physical disabilities as well as complex medical needs.
Our Morin Group home opens with three women from one of Sonshine’s SAFE foster homes who were ready to become adults and needed their own home. It is now home to 7 women with developmental disabilities and behavioural challenges.
As the individuals whom Sonshine supported finished high school, there was an increased need for adult programming, but there was not enough programs with the right supports in the east end of Ottawa. So the Reaching All Your Stars day program, or R.A.Y.S. for short, was created and began out of our Apple Lane Group Home and now has over 16 individuals.
As news of the R.A.Y.S. day program spread, the needs of the program’s participants grew and changed so R.A.Y.S. spun off another day program – B.E.A.M. – to better serve the needs of our participants. R.A.Y.S. became the home for participants with physical and developmental disabilities as well as complex medical needs. B.E.A.M., which stands for Behaviour Energy Activity Management, became the home for our participants with developmental disabilities and behavioural challenges and is currently home to 10 participants.
And here we are now…
In 2020, Sonshine reached capacity at our two day programs but the need in the community of Ottawa East continues to increase. Sonshine has begun work with the help of a grant through Employment and Social Development Canada to create the Community Inclusion Centre: Ottawa East Accessibility Hub which will double our day program space and be available to other like minded programs and services.