Six New Wheelchair Vans for Community Living

We did it! GVCSS has reached our 10-year goal of replacing six wheelchair-accessible vehicles, one for each of our Community Living homes for adults with developmental disabilities. Our GVCSS Wheelchair Van Replacement Campaign has raised over $210,000 since 2010. The organization would like to thank all contributors from the past decade who include local community members and foundations.

Each of our six Community Living homes were equipped with a van when they opened in the 1990’s to provide residents with safe transportation; however, after nearly two decades of daily use, the vehicles began to deteriorate by the late 2000’s. While the funding GVCSS receives from Community Living British Columbia provides round-the-clock care for the individuals we support, it does not cover the cost of replacing the vans (which in 2020 cost approximately $75,000 each). Consequently, GVCSS launched the van campaign in 2010 to replace them.

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, having access to private transportation has been more important than ever. Our Community Living Director Melanie Mendonca says “the individuals we support have compromised health and are too vulnerable to travel outside of their homes any other way. Ease of movement for them is challenging as they are unable to understand social distancing.” While the residents are not participating in their usual summer activities this year due to the coronavirus, they are visiting local parks and some residents also receive ongoing out-of-home medical treatments.

Since 2010, GVCSS has successfully fundraised for the six replacement vehicles one at a time, beginning with a specially-modified Ford Transport for our Richmond-based Williams Road home that was acquired in 2011. This August, Doman House in East Vancouver received its new 9-passenger Dodge Pro-master fitted with a rear-door lift. The Doman van is dedicated to the memory of GVCSS’ former Director of Home Support, Diana Hill-Stringer, who passed away in July of 2018. It is also the sixth and final van to be replaced, marking the official end of the campaign.

Melanie says All of the individuals’ families are very happy that the new van has been purchased for Doman, and that when it’s again safe, the entire home can go out together!” The van will also allow the residents to do things that would otherwise be impossible, such as visiting family on Vancouver Island.

Donors who have contributed to the ten-year campaign range from members of the general public, residents’ families, GVCSS Board members and employees, as well as various private foundations including the Milan & Maureen Illich Foundation and the John Hardie Mitchell Family Foundation.

We thank the following for their contributions to our Doman House Van:

Family and friends of Diana Hill-Stringer
BC Cerebral Palsy Association
Dr. Ann Worth Charitable Foundation
Lohn Foundation 
Zacks Family Charitable Foundation 
Mohamed Family 
GVCSS Board of Directors
GVCSS clients and their families
GVCSS employees
Anonymous and private donors

Thank you! 

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