Sunbeam News & Events

Not An April Fool’s Joke

Salome and Growler

Salome and Growler

Salome did not come to her volunteer role at Sunbeam in a way that one would expect. While out for a walk one day, Salome saw one of Sunbeam’s clients, Joy, all alone on the trail and thought it strange. She ran to see if help was needed, and then saw an overturned wheelchair and heard someone calling for help. That someone was a Sunbeam worker who was caring for another client, Melissa, who had been thrown from her chair. Salome and the worker were able to carry Melissa back to her chair, which had previously been carried up the embankment by two other passersby. This is definitely the most “movie worthy” volunteer recruitment story in Sunbeam’s vault!

Melissa was so grateful for the help that she insisted Salome come visit at the centre. Salome quickly became enamoured with the people at Sunbeam Centre, and was invited to become a volunteer. After moving through the process, including getting a police check (they found nothing!), she began her career volunteering with Sunbeam. Over the past 8 years, she has built relationships with many people. She spends time during her shifts doing arts and crafts, braiding and fixing hair, and throwing a ball with her dog, Growler, who is also a frequent visitor. Salome enjoys having individuals visit her family farm, and had one person supported by Sunbeam, Rosy, volunteer in her quilt shop, folding fabric.

While Salome certainly had a positive impact on the people at Sunbeam, they are not the only ones who have benefited. Salome had been feeling quite depressed prior to becoming involved with Sunbeam, and credits the clients with helping to bring her out of that shell. They care for one another, and have built up a beautiful community together. They interact like family; touching, joking, supporting one another. Salome and those she works alongside agree that this is not just a home. While the staff at Sunbeam are wonderful, they are there to fill very practical needs. Volunteers like Salome serve as visitors; gentle presences, caring friends, and familiar faces. It is a community filled with good people doing good work. And that’s no joke.

Thank you to all of our volunteers! If you have a great story about volunteering with Sunbeam Centre, please share it with us on our Facebook page.  If you’d like to learn more about how you can get involved and volunteer, start here.

Note: This story was originally highlighted in our 2016-17 Annual report.

Posted in Sunbeam News

How Times Have Changed

Resurrection College“Seminary Will Move,” the Record headline read on February 8, 1969 after it was announced that Resurrection College would move from what was then South Kitchener to the campus of the University of Waterloo. The seminary consisted of two buildings (see photo), the lower building was purchased by the Vos family and on August 10th, 1972, the children from Sunbeam Home moved into the current premises at 2749 Kingsway Drive. The other building, holding a dormitory and chapel, was sold to St. Raphael’s Nursing Homes Ltd. of Toronto. Known now as Trinity Village, a retirement community, operated by Lutheran Homes KW.

Before the purchase of the seminary, Sunbeam was operating in separate locations in order to provide services for over 145 people. A lot has changed since 1973 – both in physical structure and atmosphere.  

1981:  Major renovations and expansion happened. Several residents moved to group homes throughout Ontario, many to be closer to their family homes. The St. Jacobs home opened to welcome 5 new residents.

1985: The Residential Development Centre, currently known as Day Program, was renovated to include a therapeutic pool, an adventure room (gymnasium), and three classrooms.

1990 – 1993: Three group homes were opened in Kitchener. Two of them were provided by the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services.

1994: Snoezelen room was opened. It was the second of it’s kind in Ontario. It is still currently used by residents, clients, and the community. See a photo here.

1996:  Two additional homes were opened.

1997: Our Snoezelen spa was created in the pool area to allow for sensory/relaxation elements with the therapeutic effects of a whirlpool spa.  Also day program service became available for clients living at home with their families.

1999-2001: Four additional homes were opened.

2004: Was the end of 48 years of institutional care. This was also the year that saw the opening of four additional homes in front of Kingsdale for 20 residents. They included new supports for medically fragile and technology-dependent individuals.

2009 – 2017: Three more homes were opened.

2011: Sunbeam assumed responsibility for operating Developmental Services Ontario Central West Region and Developmental Services Resource Centre was formed.

If you found this interesting, come and visit us to learn more about its history and the many services we offer!  Stay tuned for the arrival of our new community tours! Tours will be offered monthly starting in April 2019. If you’d like to learn more tours, message us on our Facebook page or email us at  

Posted in Sunbeam News