THRIVE Child Development Centre supports children and youth with diverse abilities to achieve their highest potential. Across a region of 115,000 people in Algoma, THRIVE’s five locations support children and youth from 0 to 18 years of age who are impacted by differences in physical, perceptual, communication and/or developmental trajectories. The centre builds on their unique strengths, gifts and talents so that they and their families can truly thrive
A future of possibilities.
THRIVE empowers children and their families to reach beyond what is expected toward the extraordinary.
Our deeply held values and beliefs guide our approach to serving families, working with each other, and working with our community partners. We strive to emulate them in all our interactions.
What is now THRIVE opened its doors in 1952 as a project of the Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie, the Sault Ste. Marie Public Board of Education, and a local group of physicians. The goal was to provide therapy services to children with physical disabilities who were attending school. But it has grown to be much more.
Initially called The Rotary Children’s Centre, it was incorporated in 1983 as a freestanding children’s treatment centre funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health. The name was changed in 1996 to Children’s Rehabilitation Centre – Algoma to reflect its broader community involvement. And in 2016, it changed again to THRIVE Child Development Centre in order to capture the true spirit of the work its people do.
That work encompasses a full range of services, including occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech language pathology, family support services, early learning and school-based services, and programs for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and autism, among others. But most essentially, the work is “strength-based”, meaning the centre’s professionals concentrate on building upon the strengths of clients. The approach is entirely family-centred, based on helping families achieve their goals to help their child thrive.
With a total staff of about 110 in 2022, the centre has grown significantly in the last few years. It runs five locations in Algoma District – two in Sault Ste. Marie and three others in Elliot Lake, Blind River and Wawa. The centre is determined to serve people where they are located.
The majority of THRIVE’s funding comes from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, but there is also a robust donor component, spurred by the THRIVE Child Development Centre Foundation, founded in 1990. And throughout the centre’s existence, it has continued to be proudly supported by its original co-founder, the Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie.
THRIVE offers both school-based and community-based rehabilitation services. Its multidisciplinary team of therapists includes Speech and Language Pathologists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Communicative Disorders Assistants and Therapy Assistants.
THRIVE’s Family Support Services team includes Social Workers, Service Planning Coordinators, a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Coordinator, Respite Coordinator and Infant Child Development Consultants.
THRIVE has an inclusive pre-school program and offers Early Learning and resources to promote inclusion in licensed childcare centres across Algoma through its Early Learning Resources Consultants.
The Ontario Autism Program includes ABA Therapists who offer Foundational Services, the Entry to School Program and behavioural supports for children and families.