The Bianchini Family of Friuli Suites and Bianchini Warehousing has a long-standing tradition of giving back to their community. For over 20 years, they have donated annually to special needs programs to support adults with mental disabilities. This year, they continued their tradition of generosity by delivering holiday cheer and presenting a total of $5,000 to the Ideal Classroom at Juniper and Westwood Elementary School, RD. Parker Ideal Classroom, and Breakfast Program. The Bianchini Family has been in business since the late 60s and has always been committed to giving back to the community. They understand the importance of supporting individuals with mental disabilities and ensuring they have access to the resources and support they need to lead fulfilling lives. Their annual donation to special needs programs is just one of the many ways they support their community. The donation of $5,000 will help cover essential running costs for special needs programs. These programs offer support to adults with mental disabilities, including program support and support in everyday living. Many people have a misconception that these programs function like a school, but they offer much more than that. These special needs programs aim to guide individuals in everyday living, helping them connect with the community and thrive in every aspect of life, including employment, shopping, medical care, and more. Jean Goble, the CEO of Juniper Center, expressed his appreciation for the Bianchini Family's continued support, stating that the donations have helped keep the organization going as a support all these years. “We are an organization that supports adults living with mental disabilities. Most people know the Juniper Center just as our day program or hall rentals, but we actually provide program support, plus support in living through the community” Says Goble, clarifying that while ‘just teaching those with mental disabilities’ is a common misconception, they as an organization try to guide these individuals in every day living. Goble emphasized that these individuals have wants, needs, and lives, and that the organization's job is to connect them with everything they need to live the life they want. One of the key misconceptions about individuals with mental disabilities is that they are not capable of leading fulfilling lives. However, special needs organizations like the Juniper Center provide an opportunity for these individuals to thrive in the midst of the limelight. “A lot of people think that we function like a school, or that kids just live here. But we support adults, and what we’re doing is trying to provide all different types of support so that these people can connect and live whatever life they want” Goble continues, “Our main focus is that we’re supporting people, these are people that have wants, needs and lives. Our job is to do the best we can to connect them to everything they want to do and support them” Goble clarifies that they offer much more than just a school-like environment; they act as a guide through all aspects of life, helping individuals with mental disabilities connect with the community and live life to the fullest. The Bianchini Family's generosity and the heartwarming work of the special needs organizations like the Juniper Center are truly admirable. Together, they selflessly give opportunities to those in need above their own, working towards a common goal of supporting and empowering individuals with mental disabilities. In a world that can often overlook individuals with mental disabilities, it is heartening to see organizations and individuals who are committed to making a difference. The Bianchini Family and the special needs organizations are shining examples of what can be achieved through community support and generosity. ~Matthias J. Johnson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Thompson Citizen. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.