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United Way Charity Spotlight – March of Dimes Canada

By Emily Shim. This is the first article in a three-part series on the charities that the United Way supports.

March of Dimes Canada (MODC) is committed to “championing equity, empowering ability, and creating real change” says Barbara Moore, Regional Manager at the March of Dimes Canada.

Disability can happen to anyone at any time. As a leading national charity committed to helping all forms of disability, MODC stands strong on a foundation of service and the voices of those they serve. Over the last 70 years they have provided a variety of necessary services and programs for their clients, to name a few; Assisted Device Program, Employment Services, Connect & Share program, and the After-Stroke program. These services are widely needed by people living with disabilities, strengthening the individual’s capacity for independence, and meeting the needs of those living with low incomes. 

The MODC achieves this incredible feat by collaborating with other organizations. “We build relationships with community partners to identify gaps in services,” Moore explains. “For example, we receive a call from someone who has lost their peripheral vision due to stroke.” We would connect with our partners to support this individual, and while they support this family, we continue to provide services, connections to ensure clients and their families participate fully in life and on their terms. 

Looking towards a brighter future

The needs of the disabled community are shifting and MODC is working to keep up with this shift. 

Looking ahead, March of Dimes Canada is focusing on four areas – children, youth and families, independence at home and in the community, active and connected lives, and financial security.  “We’re all about active, healthy, and connected lives, particularly coming out of the pandemic.” Moore continues, “We want to make sure that those living in poverty and those with disabilities are living well and not facing barriers to be able to live life, connect with people, volunteer, or find employment.”

One of the new initiatives, The Changemakers Awards, aims to celebrate extraordinary individuals and organizations in the community, bringing awareness to the importance of MODC and showing appreciation for those who contribute to its ongoing 70-year history of success. There are four types of awards planned for a gala next month – disability change maker, community change maker, corporate change maker, and volunteer change maker. Moore explains, “There are a number of organizations, people with lived experience – that demonstrate exceptional innovation, openness, and collaboration.” 

How can we help? 

The University of Waterloo’s community can support MODC and the work they do by volunteering and donating to our local programs. Moore shared, “Many of our programs across the nation are supported by volunteers.” University of Waterloo students have supported the Connect and Share program by socializing with clients experiencing feelings of isolation. Moore also shared an example of a University of Waterloo Engineering student who designed and built an apparatus that allowed a client with motor challenges to hold his guitar. 

Our campus members can support March of Dimes Canada by donating to the United Way campaign. Supporting this year’s campaign is even more important than years past because, as Moore shared, donor funded organizations such as MODC were greatly impacted by the pandemic. Many of our programs and services rely on the generosity of donors, sponsors, and other partners.  Your support makes our work possible and has a direct positive impact on the lives of Waterloo Region residents living with disabilities in a variety of ways.

United Way Waterloo Region Communities is a gracious funder of March of Dimes Canada’s Assistive Devices Program. The program serves adults and seniors with physical disabilities and who are in financial need to obtain their desperately needed mobility or home safety equipment to remain safe and functionally independent.

To learn more about the March of Dimes Canada and the variety of programs they offer, visit their website.

To donate to the United Way Campaign, and support MODC and other charities, visit the campaign website