rEcess Islington

Next rEcess Evening - Sat. Jan. 25th @ 5pm

rEcess Islington

Are you the parent of a child with special needs wishing to participate in rEcess Islington? Click HERE to complete a participant registration form for your special needs child and their siblings.  

Are you interested in volunteering with rEcess? Click HERE to fill out a volunteer registrations form.


rEcess Oct. 2019 to May 2020 Schedule
(Saturday Evening Sessions are from 5 pm to 9 pm)

Saturday, January 25th 2020
Saturday, February 22nd 2020
Saturday, March 28th 2020
Saturday, April 18th 2020
Saturday, May 30th 2020


What is rEcess Islington?

We are a once per month respite program that offers free care to special needs children and their siblings while parents enjoy a night out. It’s a fun-filled evening of activities that kids love.

During rEcess kids with special needs and their siblings are dropped off at the church for 4 hours of fun.  Each child is assigned a one-on-one volunteer for the evening who will guide them through a series of crafts, games and activities designed with their interests and abilities in mind.  At the same time, parents are offered a “night off” to use in any way they want.

Where will rEcess Islington take place?
rEcess will take place at Islington United Church located at 25 Burnhamthorpe Rd in Etobicoke. We will use the Toddler Room, Youth Room, Nursery and Scout Hall, all located on the lower level of the church.

The Scout Hall
will be uses an active play space for kids to run, jump and explore.

The Toddler Room is a fun and interactive play space filled with toys, games, puzzles and opportunities for arts and crafts.

The Youth Room will be used as a hang-out space for older participants and by everyone at the end of the night when it’s time to change into pajamas and watch a movie.

The Nursery will be used as a sensory room providing kids with a calm, quiet space to mellow-out and relax.

How many children can the program serve and how many volunteers are involved?  We hope to be able to accommodate about 20 participate in the program.   The ratio of children to volunteers is 1:1 plus additional volunteers needed to run specific activities, provide security and “float” throughout the night.  To serve a group of 20 kids between 30 and 40 volunteers are needed.

What special needs are being served?  What ages?  The program is for children with special needs and their siblings from birth to age 13.  The program is open to children with a wide range of developmental, cognitive and physical disabilities.  At this time, the lower level of the church is not wheelchair or walker accessible so we are not able to offer space to children requiring these types of mobility aids.  Each child wishing to participate will fill out a detailed registration package which will be reviewed by our leadership team to ensure that the child’s needs can be met by our volunteer team.  
Who would make good volunteers for rEcess?
Volunteering at rEcess Islington focuses on enriching intergenerational connections and doing God’s work in our community. We require 1:1 volunteer-to-child ratios for all special needs children and their siblings.  We also need volunteers to help with setup and cleanup, running activities, providing security and preparing the pre-program meal for our volunteers.  We encourage children to volunteer with their parents in the role of “buddy”.  We believe th
at families grow in faith when they are able to do meaningful service together.  Volunteering with rEcess is also a great way to gain experience working with kids with special needs for young people interested in pursuing a career in Education or Healthcare. 

Anyone is welcome and encouraged to volunteer and children as young as six can have a meaningful voluntary role when accompanied by a parent.  High school students are also able to volunteer without their parents and use the experience towards their community service requirement for graduation. Volunteers are expected to arrive at 4 pm to help set up before the kids arrive. All volunteers will be served dinner before the program starts.

How will volunteers be trained?
Potential volunteers will be screened through an online application and phone interview.  Once selected volunteers will have to go through training to familiarize themselves with the program and its expectations.  This training will be include participants watching an online video and answering questions at the end.  In addition to this training volunteers will be taken through expectations at each event before the kids arrive. When parents register their children with the program they will fill out an online questionnaire outlining their child’s specific needs. This information will also be shared with the child’s one-on-one volunteer prior to the program starting.

All volunteers over the age of 18 will be required to complete a Vulnerable Sector Police Check.  To complete the Vulnerable Sector Police Check volunteers will be emailed a form after they complete their online volunteer registration.

If you would like to volunteer to help with rEcess Islington please complete the application form by clicking here.  

Why I am passionate about starting rEcess at Islington? 

Hi, my name is Michelle Allen and I am a member at Islington United Church.  I am also a Special Education Teacher with the Peel District School Board and before becoming a mom in 2013 I did 8 years of respite work for a family with a teenager with Autism.
My husband Brian and I, and our twin 5 years olds, have been volunteering at rEcess Oakville since it started in September 2018. Seeing the incredible impact that program is having and knowing the great need for respite support in our community I felt called to bring this amazing program to IUC. I am passionate about this because I see it as an opportunity to serve some of the most vulnerable members of our community and to truly be God’s hands reaching out to those in need. I also believe that it is a great way to engage the families in our church through volunteerism and service.
As a mom I know how much raising children can impact spousal relationships and I want to do what I can to offer support and love to families facing the life-time commitment of caring for a special needs child. rEcess offers parents a cost-free and guilt-free night to rest, relax and reconnect. Every parent can appreciate what a gift that is.
As a mom I also want to raise my kids to be grateful, compassionate and caring. For me, being part of rEcess at Islington is the best way I can model those values for my children and show them how great it feels to help others in need. I believe that the families in our church and community that volunteer at rEcess will grow in their compassion for others and their connection to God. 
Offering a program like rEcess is also a way to bring a night of fun and excitement to special needs children and their siblings. Many siblings of special needs kids feel a constant responsibility to be a caregiver and not just a kid. By ensuring that all children participating in rEcess have a one-on-one volunteer it takes the pressure off of siblings and allows them to have a fun night out too.

Contact us
For more information about volunteering or registering your children as participants at rEcess Islington email us at or call Michelle at 416-528-1715.

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