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Empowering Families at JMCC: Family Advisory Council

March 22, 2021

Family Advisory Council

At the John McGivney Children’s Centre (JMCC) there are many opportunities for families, caregivers, clients and alumni to volunteer and get involved in our Centre. One of those opportunities is our Family Advisory Council (FAC). This group of parents, caregivers and alumni work together with Centre staff and management as we look to continuously improve the work we do to support children, youth and families with special needs in Windsor and Essex County.

The JMCC FAC is made up of eight members who are current parents and caregivers of children receiving services through JMCC or past clients of the Centre. Together, with members of the Centre’s leadership team, this group meets monthly to discuss ideas to enhance JMCC services and provide input and recommendations on topics and issues related to child and family experiences, programs, services, strategic directions, initiatives, research, policies, procedures and more.

The Council has prioritized strengthening JMCC’s support to families in the area of transition planning, specifically, the transition to adulthood as their most pressing goal for the upcoming year. They have also provided feedback on issues important to parents of children with special needs to Irek Kusmierczyk, MPP Windsor-Tecumseh and Parliamentary Secretary to the Federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability. Additionally, they developed Parents United, a new volunteer program that connects parents/caregivers wanting to talk about their experiences with another parent who has had similar experiences.

“…and these are just a few examples of the awesome work of the Council,” says Wendy Tavares, Program Manager, JMCC, who attends FAC meetings and also facilitates collaborations between the Council and Centre staff. “I am honoured to work with this committed group of parents and alumni,” says Tavares.

Sue Mandolfo, the Chair of the FAC, is extremely proud of the council and of the work that the group has accomplished since they began meeting two years ago.

“As a mom whose son received services from JMCC, I joined the Family Advisory Council as a way for me to give back and pay it forward following all of the amazing support the Centre provided to my family,” says Mandolfo. “I am thrilled to say that I know the family voice is being heard at the Centre, because we have seen a lot of positive changes already!”

“We are committed to having the voice of families embedded in everything that we do here at the Centre,” says Jessica Sartori, CEO, JMCC. “The members of our Family Advisory Council are extremely passionate and provide great contributions to JMCC and the important work that we do. I absolutely love attending the monthly meetings and learning from their experiences and insights.”

To learn more about the Family Advisory Council and other opportunities to get involved and support JMCC, please visit

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