CHKC GUIDING PRINCIPLES
A society where all individuals who are deafblind live free from limitations.
To empower the deafblind community through consumer driven services and opportunities that maximize independence.
We empower and lead through:
- Advocacy – increasing awareness of deafblindness and promoting the need for services.
- Respect – treating everyone the way we would want to be treated.
- Collaboration – engaging stakeholders in the decision making and policy development process to ensure transparency and best practice.
- Professionalism – providing and embracing the highest standards including following the IOO Code of Ethics.
- Community – reducing isolation by fostering a sense of belonging and inclusion.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.
Rotary (Don Valley) Cheshire Homes (RCH) was founded in the early 1980’s through the efforts of two exceptional individuals: Joyce Thompson and Vim Kochhar.
As a case manager with Deafblind Services at the CNIB in Toronto, Thompson had documented the unmet needs of her clients living in the community; people who, because of their disability, lived in severe isolation due to little or no access to intervenor services and unsafe and inappropriate housing.
Thompson and her clients dared to dream the unimaginable: a better life where they were safe, where people could communicate with them, and, most importantly, where they would have access to an intervenor whenever they wanted.
At a routine board meeting of the Cheshire Homes Foundation in October 1983, Kochhar and his fellow directors discussed how to build more accessible housing for persons with physical disabilities. As a member of the Toronto-Don Valley Rotary Club, Kochhar enlisted the help of his fellow Rotarians in organizing the first Great Valentine Gala in February 1984. Over 1,200 people attended, raising over $239,000.
Due to the tremendous success of the Gala and the need to distribute the funds raised, Kochhar founded the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons. CFPDP continues to organize hugely successful events each year, providing support to persons with disabilities. A portion of the funds raised at the first Gala was allocated to the Rotary Club to fund the development of housing for physically disabled persons. Thompson heard from a colleague that the Rotary Club was looking for a group to benefit from this project. Thompson and three of her colleagues worked through the night putting together their presentation.
It was decided the best person to present their proposal would be a person who is deafblind. Kerry Wadman, President of the Canadian National Society of the Deaf-Blind, and his intervenor.
The Rotary Club unanimously agreed after the presentation that they would support the development of appropriate housing for persons who are deafblind. This development became Rotary (Don Valley) Cheshire Homes – its name paying tribute to the financial contribution of the Rotary Club and the independent living philosophy of Cheshire Homes. Over the next seven years, CHKC slowly took shape from that first presentation to its official opening on May 1, 1992.
In 1992, Rotary (Don Valley) Cheshire Homes Inc. (RCH), with transfer payment agency status from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, began offering unprecedented levels of intervenor services to the 16 residents of 422 Willowdale Avenue who have the dual disability of deafblindness.
RCH, otherwise known as Rotary Cheshire Apartments (RCA) became North America’s first barrier-free independent living residence with intervenor services for people who are deafblind. Consumers are active adults and seniors who live independently in their apartments. Later, in 2006 RCH began to provide community services coordination, outreach and emergency intervenor services.