Health News For Central West

 Share  |  Email  |  Print

Friday, June 16, 2017

Supporting Children and Youth with Autism Through Mentorship

Ontario Investing in Jake’s House and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada Collaboration


Ontario is supporting skill-building mentorships for children and youth with autism through a new program at Toronto-based Jake's House for Children with Autism (Jake's House).

Minister of Children and Youth Services Michael Coteau made the announcement today at Chaminade College School in North York. This support will allow Jake's House to launch the Legends Mentoring Program. In partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, this program will pair children and youth with autism between the ages of 6 and 18 with mentors to help them develop strong communication and relationship-building skills.

This support is in addition to the new Ontario Autism Program (OAP), which will begin June 26. The new OAP will provide flexible, family-centred service for children and their families all across the province. The program includes a single point of access to make it easier for parents to access services for their child, individualized service based on each child's unique needs and a direct funding option to be implemented by the end of the year that provides all families with a choice between receiving direct service or receiving funding to purchase services for their child.

Ontario is committed to providing supports for children and youth with autism to help them thrive and reach their full potential.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario will invest $650,000 over the next two years to support the Legends Mentoring Program. There will be three pilot sites beginning in 2017-18, located in Toronto, Ottawa and Lanark County.
  • Jake’s House for Children with Autism is a charitable organization founded in 2004 to support families who have children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The organization hosts community events and raises awareness of financial programs available for families who have children with special needs.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is a national organization that develops and implements a wide range of evidence-based mentoring programs through Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across the country.
  • Ontario is investing an unprecedented half-billion dollars over five years to create new services for children and youth with ASD. This includes the creation of the new Ontario Autism Program, which will combine the existing suite of autism services into an expanded and more individualized program of supports for children, youth and their families.


Additional Resources



“The partnership between Jake’s House and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is a testament to true community collaboration that ultimately helps Ontario’s young people succeed and thrive. Our government is committed to working with these outstanding organizations in order to reach the common goal of boosting kids’ self-esteem and help to enhance their relationship-building skills with peers.”

Michael Coteau

Minister of Children and Youth Services

“Without exception, inside each child with autism lives someone special. With the assistance of one-on-one support, we have watched children reach goals and milestones once considered unachievable. It has truly been inspirational to witness the effect of the human spirit through the kindness and generosity of our volunteers.”

David and Irene Bodanis

Co-Founders, Jake's House for Children with Autism

“We are pleased to partner with Jake’s House to give children and youth with autism the confidence to achieve more through mentoring. Having a relationship with a caring mentor sets a child up for a lifetime of resilience, positive social interaction, and academic and career success.”

Peter Coleridge

President and Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada

“The development of genuine relationships with peers is one of the greatest desires parents have for their children on the autism spectrum?. This innovative community partnership represents a promising opportunity to build those relationships in the neighbourhoods where families live.”

Margaret Spoelstra

Executive Director of Autism Ontario


Media Contacts

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Local Health Care News   Top

Stroke Resources CaregiverExchange Behavioural Supports Ontario Mental Health At School