Media Room: FAQs
Red Roof Retreat has been a leader in meeting the growing requirements of special needs children, young adults and their families in the Niagara Region since 2001. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about our organization and the community we serve.
Why was Red Roof Retreat founded?
After five years of teaching, Steffanie Prins Bjorgan’s second son, Garrett, was born with Cerebral Palsy. Steffanie and her husband, Moe, quickly discovered that, with love and boundless energy, much can be done to support and enhance the lives of people with special needs.
In 2001, they established Red Roof Retreat as a place for children and young adults with special needs to learn and grow in a fun, safe and nurturing environment. Originally, summer camps took place at Steffanie and Moe’s home; but, with growing attendance each year, a new venue was found at its current site. Located in rural Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, The Ranch is an 11-acre hobby farm that provides fully accessible walking trails, a fishing stream, tranquility pond, therapeutic riding corral, and interaction with gentle farm animals.
What services does Red Roof Retreat provide?
Current programs, services and opportunities include the following:
Weekend Respite for children aged 3-18yrs of age
Adult Day Programs for people aged 18-40yrs requiring one-on-one support
Summer Camp for children and youth aged 5-21yrs
Saturday Day Camps for children aged 5-15yrs
Teen Nights for teens and young adults aged 16-21yrs
Horseback Riding for anyone with special needs
Services and Opportunities
Educational or Recreational School Trips
Day Visits for other agencies serving the special needs population
Volunteer Opportunities and Post Secondary School Placements
Who accesses Red Roof Retreat services?
There are over 3500 families in the Niagara Region with children and young adults with special needs. Many of them access our programs and services. Currently there are over 30 children per week in summer camp, 30 + families in weekend respite, 18 spots in our Adult Day Program, 9 spots in the riding program and 15 spots in each of our Saturday Camp and Teen Nights programs.
Is Red Roof Retreat licensed?
We are licensed under the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ontario Ministry of Child and Youth Services.
What is respite?
Red Roof Retreat’s definition of respite is to provide quality out of home care for children and young adults with special needs so that their families and/or caregivers can have a much needed break.
The core program at Red Roof Retreat is respite care. In fact, Red Roof Retreat is the only private non-profit respite centre of its kind in Ontario. It is a rural “home away from home” for children, youth and young adults with special needs in the Niagara Region.
How much does respite at Red Roof Retreat cost?
It costs over $3000 per weekend to provide respite care to 5 special needs children/ young adults.
Our fee to families is $130 per weekend, making it affordable but increasing the demand on fundraising efforts.
Are there volunteer opportunities?
Red Roof Retreat makes use of more than 100 volunteers each year in a variety of roles. Volunteers come from varieties of backgrounds for many reasons, such as community involvement and educational placements.
Volunteers contribute more than 7000 hours per year. If hours were calculated at minimum wage, this would equate to about $80,000 per year.
Who makes up Red Roof Retreat Staff?
We currently employ an Executive Director, Respite Program Director and part time Office Administrator.
We have 15 part-time respite and recreation staff (year-round) and 15 summer camp staff.
Training includes: Policy and Procedure Review, program planning; non-violent crisis intervention; personal health care and medication administration.
All must submit to a criminal reference check and current medical certificate.
How are you governed?
Our 13-member Board of Directors meets monthly
Members come from throughout the Niagara Region
Some have children with special needs and access Red Roof Retreat services
Board members play pivotal roles in fundraising, advocacy and strategic planning.
What is the annual operating budget of Red Roof Retreat?
Approximately 70 percent of Red Roof Retreat’s budget is supported by charitable donations and donations from third-party events.
Who are your Community Partners?
Red Roof Retreat has strong partnerships with:
Service agencies from the Niagara Region such as: the Association for Community Living and the Niagara Peninsula Children’s Centre.
Educational facilities such as Niagara College, Brock University and the District School Board of Niagara.