After trying to cope at home with a medically fragile child it became apparent that no one in the household was going to be successful. Spending countless hours researching and visiting many options a very difficult decision was made to have our son, at the age of 4, move to Sunbeam Lodge. Looking back, it was one of my most heart wrenching, scary and difficult decisions as a first-time mom.
Now, here we are 6 years later, and he is thriving with his mobility, communication and decision making. Seems like something every 10 year old should be doing, but he couldn’t have done these things this well without the support, care and wisdom of the staff and programs offered at Sunbeam. Medically, due to their care and wisdom he is more stable than ever; even showing continuous positive signs of becoming less and less technologically dependant. He is going out to school in September after years of being supported at the on-site school as Sunbeam identified he needed further challenges to continue his learning. His interest of art, music, trucks and exploring are all encouraged by the staff and have truly had a positive impact on his life and development.
My eyes well up every time I visit (as this is a very different way to raise a family), but I still get my “neck hug” and he hasn’t forgotten me. The wonderful staff that “cover for me” ensure he is thriving and safe makes the whole situation much easier to handle. He is encouraged and supported to grow, learn and develop which are all reasons Sunbeam was our chosen second home for our son.
Shabnam and John Vos, and all the staff at Sunbeam are incredible people with big hearts who make it their mission to do what is right for everyone in their care. My family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts for all you have offered our son and our family.
On March 11, 1987, we placed our young daughter who was diagnosed with severe medical complexities into the arms and hearts of John and Shabnam Vos, owners and directors of Sunbeam Lodge. What made us both feel safe and secure was that Shabnam reassured me that this would now be Kiley's home and we could come and visit any time of day or night and that there was no requirement to arrange a scheduled appointment at any time to see her. We never imagined that we would be able to place our child anywhere to live! A heartbreaking decision for any parent! Shabnam said "we will become family”.
Kiley was called " a precious jewel" not referred to as " retarded" or " a vegetable. "
The children at Sunbeam are all Precious Jewels!
The children are shown dignity by the dedicated staff who work diligently to make our "kids" as comfortable as possible. Our daughter was always given medical care and love and we never felt she was institutionalized.
Sunbeam is not an institution...it is a HOME. Kiley passed away on October 24, 2011 and was eulogized by John in a most heartfelt manner.
Our lives...our children and our own would never have been as "healthy" had Kiley not lived at Sunbeam Lodge.
Thanks to John and Shabnam Vos!!
Stephanie Tate was born at Toronto General Hospital on February 9, 1981. Unfortunately, it was a birth causing serious brain injury that was not immediately detected by the hospital staff. The result was massive brain damage that resulted in cerebral palsy. Stephanie is now quadriplegic, unable to communicate except by smiling (a lot), laughing, crying and vocalizing; and is totally dependent on others for her care.
Stephanie lived with her parents and older brother in Markham, for her first nine years. She enjoyed the love of her family and consistent therapy; but despite our best efforts over that period there was very minimal, if any improvement in her cognitive and physical capabilities. When her mother became seriously ill with Krohn's Disease; we realized that it was time to look into other possibilities for Stephanie; and that's when we were fortunate enough to be introduced to John and Shabnam Vos - and The Sunbeam Lodge. The move was supported/approved by representatives from Easter Seals and Children's Aid; and Stephanie began her residence in May 1990.
There was a brief period of adjustment for both Stephanie and her family; but the support and encouragement from the Vos's and their staff, the high level of understanding and care that Stephanie has been given since "day one", plus the overall atmosphere of love in this "home away from home" really helped us through a very difficult period.
Stephanie is now 36 years old and very well "established" at Sunbeam. As her father, I am very much aware of her substantial limitations and the high degree of care that she needs - and I know how difficult it can be to feed her at times! Despite this, she is good natured, obviously comfortable, and happy, and her general health is very good - this is clearly reflective of the excellent care - and love that she enjoys. We lost my wife / Stephanie's Mom to cancer back in March; however I continue to visit Stephanie often (my visits are seldom more than 7-10 days apart). I am warmly welcomed whenever I visit, and I have always been pleased with the condition (cleanliness etc.) that I have found - with both Stephanie and her living space!
Finally, the level and quality of communication between myself, and John and Shabnam and their staff is excellent. I have every confidence that I would be alerted if/when there is any kind of problem; and this has been well demonstrated over the years. We were very fortunate to have been introduced to John and Shabnam Vos and The Sunbeam Lodge, so many years ago - and I continue to be very grateful for the love and care that my daughter enjoys on a daily basis, in this wonderful home!
A home away from home.... Sunbeam Lodge always brings to my mind a cottage retreat nestled in the woods with spacious grounds where special children have a safe haven to grow and where their every need is provided for with the utmost care and compassion. I have had the privilege to work with the outstanding team that cares for these children. Their lives are woven with the day-to-day activities that children living at home experience. The staff take every care to give them everything they need, from trips to the mall to buy trendy clothes for the teenagers to special Disney trips for the wee ones to experience the enchantment of pirates and Peter Pan. This is a centre that fought to keep one of their own children when it was time for him to move on because he was of an age that he would have been moved to an adult home. He is blind you see... and he know where the only home he has ever known is. And that is that. And he is still there.
I encourage you to visit to feel what I feel when I walk in the front door and am welcomed by all. The special atmosphere that having happy well cared for children together in one home is something that is hard to attain but Sunbeam Lodge has certainly achieved that and more....