1985 - 1997
There is a personal background and history with our agency which makes our program very special.
William and Hilda Wilson, the founders of Annie's Havens, have an intimate knowledge of the challenges inherent in caring for a child with special needs because of a personal tragedy that befell their family in 1989. William and Hilda’s daughter, Annie, suffered from a cerebral haemorrhage during surgery. As a consequence of this she was left with severe quadra paresis. They embarked on learning and doing everything possible to have Annie regain, what she could, of her physical abilities. Annie was an intelligent child who was able to communicate through use of her right arm and the blinking of her eyes and/or with the use of a programmable verbal switch. They advocated for and successfully accomplished Annie’s integration into her local school in which she did extremely well at an age appropriate level.
Through this experience and the day-to-day problems William and Hilda encountered in providing Annie with her special needs, they acquired a vast body of knowledge. They also came to command great respect from professionals and leaders in the field while accessing medical, therapeutic and educational services as well as developing strong advocacy skills. With these skills in hand, along with the experience in working with children with special needs since 1988, William and Hilda decided to fill a need in the community for respite and residential services for children and adults.
They have provided foster care to a large number of children with special needs in Eastern and Southern Ontario since the mid-nineties. Because of Annie, her brother Chris who works at Annie’s Havens, has a background of deep understanding of special needs care along with an unbreakable emotional attachment. Sadly, Annie passed away in 1997 but she inspired everyone who came incontact with her and her life – and this resulted in one of Ontario’s most unique and meaningful foster care programs.
Our agency, Annie’s Havens Ltd. was named in her memory with Robert Wilson as our first Executive Director who has since retired.