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2016 Award of Excellence

Dr. Mary Thain

Kent Stringham, Dr. Mary Thai, Diane Pick pose for picture

Dr. Mary Thain has been the Medical Director of Five Counties Children’s Centre in Peterborough for more than 40 years. She has been their only physician and has established the standard for excellence in rural medical services. Her extensive physician networks and lifelong commitment to continuous learning has ensured that the care and treatment that children receive in the Peterborough area is the leading edge. The care and expertise that she provides allows families to remain close to home and benefit from the latest treatments.

In addition to her local leadership, Dr. Thain served as Chair of the Medical Directors meeting at the OACRS conference for many years. This leadership has fostered both communication and collaboration amongst the physicians and has led to several joint initiatives including a peer review system for physicians and the development of a diagnostic database. Dr. Thain is a Developmental Paediatrician that has made significant contributions to promoting excellence in health care to children with disabilities both in her community and the province.

From left to right: Kent Stringham, Board of Directors - Five Counties Children's Centre, Dr. Mary Thain, Diane Pick, Chief Executive Officer - Five Counties Children's Centre

James Robinson Public School

James Robinson Public School is a known for its culture of Laura Meffen, Lara Chebaro, Deb Manni pose for pictureinclusivity and collaboration. Located in south-east Markham, it is the first school in the York Region District School Board to build a universally accessible eco schoolyard that allows children of all abilities to play together in an outdoor classroom, accessible garden and play area. The school has also installed a paved learning trail and accessible outdoor amphitheatre. This space ensures the children with special needs including those with multiple needs can be included in activities such as gym and recess.

Recently the school converted their library in to a universally accessible learning space, allowing students with differing physical, sensory and learning and/or mental health challenges to create, re-purpose, explore, invent and innovate. To support their students with multiple exceptionalities the school fosters partnerships with families and other service providers in order to provide the best support to students. The culture of inclusivity extends beyond the specialty classrooms and hallways. 

From left to right: Laura Meffen, Parent - James Robinson Public School, Lara Chebaro, Former Principal - James Robinson Public School, Deb Manni, Teacher - James Robinson Public School

2016 Partnership Award

Smilezone Foundation

Jennifer Churchill and Adam Graves pose for pictureSmilezone Foundation is an independent charity committed to “putting smiles on children’s faces.” The charity, founded by Adam Graves and Scott Bachly, established the overarching mission of assisting children, and their families, who are facing difficult times and health challenges. Smilezone’s mission is to create, build and transform areas in hospitals, private treatment and development centres, and children’s clinics, in order to improve the lives of children facing illness, disabilities, and physical and emotional obstacles—ultimately putting a smile on their faces.

Since its inception, Smilezone has partnered with a number of children’s treatment centres across the province. Their work is not only a cosmetic refresh of various spaces but a functional improvement as well. Centres have indicated, “As agencies we provide the day to day clinical service for our clients, Smilezone complements our work by providing a holistic experience from the moment the child walks through the door.” Smilezone has brought an incredible lasting impact to our sector that truly does allow each of our Centres to help our kids realize their potential. 

Jennifer Churchill, Chief Executive Officer, OACRS with Adam Graves, Co-Founder, Smilezone Foundation


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Did You Hear?!

EKO Spring Symposium is Back in 2025!

Every two years EKO hosts this pinnacle event for the child development sector and the largest gathering of professionals and stakeholders from Ontario and across Canada.

learn more about the event!