fbpx Skip to content

Red Roof Christmas Penguins

Christmas 2021 Fundraiser

100% of the proceeds went to the Red Roof Retreat

December 8th would have been my sister, Jennifer’s, 32nd Birthday. It is also the 10th Birthday since she passed.

Certain milestones can be so hard to grieve. I never thought I would make it a day, nevermind 10 years. I have so many people to thank for supporting me and, during this holiday season and this pandemc, there is one organization that I would especially like to thank and to put a spotlight on.

Red Roof Retreat During Jen’s life, she regularly went to weekend respite programs at Red Roof Retreat. Red Roof was a place where my sister could enjoy doing acivities with other kids, while getting a break from her regular routines. It also provided my Mother and I with the respite that we needed to recover our energy so we could give my sister the best care we could.

As Jennifer aged, we realized that when she hit age 18, she would no longer have access to the special needs programs that were part of the regular school system. We knew that we had to look ahead to discover and prepare for alternative programs and support.

There wasn’t and still isn’t much out there. Luckily, we already had Red Roof and my mother had known Steffanie, the owner, for many years, as Steffanie’s son Garret had many similar issues as Jen. Steffanie knew she had to do something for them. My mom had always said to look 5 years ahead because if you wait until you need something, the funding wont be there. Steffanie started advocating and created a young adults day program for the disabled and other supports for the families and siblings of the disabled community.

Red Roof Retreat is one of the reasons Jennifer had such an amazing quality of life. In the past ten years since Jennifer has been gone, the programs have blossomed at Red Roof Retreat. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, they were helping hundreds of local families.

Unfortunately covid put an awful wrench in operations. Fundraising events were cancelled, and all operations and programs had to cease because there was no way to operate within covid parameters. During the summer of this year, Red Roof Retreat was able to partially reopen but with very limited programming. Due to the cancelled fundraisers, the extra funding wasn’t there. Red Roof Retreat relies on support from the community to be able to run and to provide the services that so many people need. I couldn’t imagine trying to steer through covid with my sister without the support that Red Roof Retreat provided.

I am so proud of the families in this community that have found ways to survive, but I am sure they could all use some rest. Please check the Red Roof Retreat website and see how you can help. I will be releasing a limited project I have been working on and all proceeds will be going to Red Roof Retreat.

Thanks, Gillian Barclay

PS. Happy Birthday sis! MISS YOU!