Children North: Early Childhood Intervention Program in La Ronge is looking for donations for a bus.

Children North provides multiple programs to residents in northern Saskatchewan including early childhood intervention for children under six who are delayed in reaching developmental milestones and many other programs.

To assist with their mission and continue to help their patients, Children North is working on raising $80,000 for the purchase of the bus, which would cost around $50,000 to purchase and $30,000 to make it wheelchair accessible.

Daina Lapworth, executive director of the organization, says they’ve been applying for funding for the bus for the past few years to no avail, so they took matters into their own hands.

“We’ve applied for some grants and everybody’s been great. They’ve said, “oh yeah, this is a really good program. Re-apply next year.'” she said. “So, we’ve been ‘reapplying next year’ for quite a while and we just decided that, you know, our kids just aren’t getting here so we need to do something sooner.”

One way the bus will be used will be to get kids to their specialist appointments at Children North.

Lapworth said some of the kids who use their programs need extra time to get to and from appointments, and the program having their own bus would make this easier to accommodate.

“If you’ve got a child with autism who needs to come to therapy, for example, sometimes it might take that child 30 minutes to transition from their house into the vehicle and then into the therapy room,” she said. “We use the local taxis quite a bit and they’re fantastic, but they don’t have time to sit for half an hour and wait for somebody. But it’s incredibly important that those kids get to the therapies.”

The bus will also be used by the program’s mentors to bring children on activity-filled outings, to take Children North employees to training and meetings, and to bring families to their child’s appointments or for family support and engagement sessions.

“Besides the medical aspect, we can also take 11 people in the vehicle, so not only the kids that need wheelchair access but we can also pick up all of our families that need to come to pediatric therapies,” Lapworth said.

People can donate through a link on Children North’s Facebook page or by reaching out to the program directly.

Children North has currently raised just over $10,000 and the fundraiser will remain open until they raise the $80,000.

(PHOTO: Children North also provides mentorship, family support and father engagement programs. Photo courtesy of Daina Lapworth.)