Passport funding for people with disabilities

Fulfilling dreams for people with disabilities

Posted on October 10, 2017

The boys of summer in this year’s autumn playoffs may not include The Toronto Blue Jays, but real fans of the team love them just the same. 

Take 55-year-old Wes Emeny. Wes has a developmental disability. He has been working at Metro in the Cherryhill Village Mall for 19 years gathering and organizing the grocery carts. But he has been a lover of sports for much longer.  “My favourite player is Marcus Stroman. I have his jersey #6,” he says with pride. Wes at the dome

Wes has season tickets to the London Knights and used to love going to the games with his Dad. Father and son would also make the trip to Toronto to watch the Toronto Blue Jays. 

Almost eight years ago Wes’s Dad passed away. His death left a hole in Wes’s heart, and the two-man cheering team was now only one. Wes continued to go to the Knights’ games, but all the way to Toronto to see the Jays? That is much more difficult. 

Enter Hutton House, the Passport program, and 22-year old Taylor MacTaggert.

Taylor is a graduate of the University of Waterloo’s Therapeutic Recreation Program with a minor in Psychology and an option in Aging Studies. She has been with Hutton House for 2 years as a community support worker.  She supports individuals to engage in recreation activities in the community and to work on goals they have. 

When Wes and Taylor were matched through the Passport Program at Hutton House, they started talking sports and there was an instant connection. A few days later they were off to a Toronto Blue Jays game. They had great seats. Wes bought pizza and a souvenir ball cap. Taylor says she became as much a fan of Wes’s as she was the ball game, “Wes had a huge smile on his face every time a great play happened for the Jays. Throughout the game, he told me all the stats on the players! I am telling you, he knows SOOO much about sports.”

And to top it off the Jays won that game. A positive sign given the last three games Wes and his Dad saw in 2010, they lost. 

While it was a special day for Wes, it was meaningful for Taylor too.  “I am so happy I could be a part of something that was so special for him. I am so glad he got to see a game again as it is obvious he is a true Blue Jays Fan. We are already planning our next sporting event together.”

The next outing they are planning is to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

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Hutton House promotes and supports persons with disabilities through learning and life-enhancing programs that focus on each individual's strengths, abilities, and interests. 

If you or someone you know faces a barrier to finding work please call us at 519 472 1541, or if like Wes, you are looking for life-enhancing options/opportunities with Passport funding, please call us at 519 472 6381 and ask for Sarah.