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Since 1973, Reena has been at the forefront of inclusion, empowering those with diverse abilities, within a framework of Jewish culture and values

Reena was established in 1973 by a small group of parents of children with developmental disabilities as a practical alternative to institutions.

In 1977 Reena began to receive funding from the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services. Reena is also funded by the community through the Reena Foundation and by the United Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto. Reena today provides programs and support to close to 1,000 persons in a variety of residential locations.

The Toby and Henry Battle Developmental Centre was opened in 1999 for day and evening programs for children and adults with a developmental disability. Located in Vaughan, this unique building features a wellness and health centre, sports centre, creative arts workshop, computer lab, greenhouse and library, all with activities tailored to the individual skills and interests of its members. The Battle Centre is also the site of Reena’s administrative offices.

Recognising the increasing needs of individuals with developmental disabilities as they age, Reena opened its first home dedicated to seniors in 2000, followed by another such home in 2007.

An innovative new housing alternative, the Sandy Keshen Reena Residence (formerly Reena Community Residence) was officially opened in September 2012 in the heart of the Lebovic Jewish Community Campus in Vaughan. It provides apartments for 84 adults with developmental, cognitive, physical or mental health needs. Designed as an Intentional Community for individuals with special needs, the residents will be truly integrated into the community as they access all the facilities and programs the campus has to offer.

The Fruitman Residence opened in 2021 and modelled on the success of the Sandy Keshen Reena Residence. The Fruitman Residence is a housing project in Thornhill. The residence’s tenants and support agencies are committed to creating an intentional and inclusive environment – while elements and units may be led or dedicated to servicing a subset of tenants, all are part of one community. This approach is intended to reduce stigma and separation among tenants
and the staff and volunteers who share in their lives.

Sandy Keshen, Reena’s first President and CEO and Rabbi Joseph Kelman zt”l, Reena’s Founder

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