An Unforgettable Spring thanks to the Staff and Students at Villanova!

For the past 11 years, Aptus has had the honour of working closely with the staff and students at Villanova College in King City. 

Since 1999, Villanova has prepared young men and women for university, for leadership and for life. Villanova educates its students in a caring environment focused on academics while maintaining a balance between spirituality, arts, athletics and community involvement. They are fostered to develop an understanding and to promote awareness and respect for others in need.

Aptus was first introduced to Villanova by the Cortellucci-Fiuza Family when Daniel Fiuza chaired the very first Bowl For Dreams Event as his main Leadership Studies project.  Since then, 9 additional events were organized, raising over $120,000 for Aptus’ programs.

Our partnership not only provides the students with fundamental leadership skills and event planning experience, but most importantly, teaches the essential value of giving back to the community and making a difference for individuals with disabilities. 

After a memorable and successful 10 year run of Bowl For Dreams Events, Mr. Sean Hayes, Director of Campus Ministry and Head of Leadership Studies, met with Ashley Grant deMercado, Manager of Fundraising and Events at Aptus, last summer to discuss our relationship moving forward.  With a number of unique initiatives and opportunities happening at Villanova and Aptus, we decided to compare spring 2017 calendars and see how we can work together to provide rich experiences for the people that we support and the students at Villanova.

We are happy to report that both the people we support and the students at Villanova who participated in this new partnership format found it very enjoyable and beneficial.        

Over the course of the spring, we collaborated in the following ways:

·    In honour of Autism Awareness Month, on April 5th, Pamela Singleton-Palmer, Director of Programs and Services at Aptus, went and spoke during Villanova’s school assembly to educate the students about autism.

·    Aptus celebrated their 20th Annual Possible Dream Gala on April 8th. We were very lucky to have a few fabulous Villanova student volunteers help with ballroom and auction set up. 

·    On April 10th, a number of the adults that we support joined the Leadership Students at Villanova for a Social Media Training Night.  The students educated the people we support on the various social media platforms and how to use them safely and effectively.  They all enjoyed connecting and having a pot luck dinner together following the class.

·   Some of our high school students visited Villanova on April 18th.  They were greeted with open arms by staff and students and were assigned Grade 12 buddies.  Following some basketball and a tour of the school, the groups went to music class trying different instruments and learned sketching techniques in tech design class.

·   On April 29th, over 20 volunteers from Villanova College and Aptus did soil and lumber work at the Aptus Teaching Landscape. Villanova students wheelbarrowed dozens of loads of soil and mulch. Aptus volunteers helped to rake these materials into the current soil. Next, everyone carried over ten foot lumber to the nature playground area. These long pieces of wood will be used to create an urban forest of lumber rising from the earth. Together, they made a tremendous contribution to this community outdoor learning space.

·   Over May 25th and 26th, 20 of the people we support and our staff from the Residential Program had amazing evenings out to attend Villanova’s Musical Grease at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts.

Needless to say, it has been busy and unforgettable spring.  Special thanks to Mr. Paul Paradiso, President, Mr. Sean Hayes and Claire Bettio, Student Chair, for her tireless efforts and great leadership skills over the last few months. 

We are so grateful for our partnership with Villanova and we can’t wait to see how we can continue to learn and grow together.