Surprise! Disney World Dreaming Comes True


The anticipation was building inside the Board room around the noon hour today at the Community Living Algoma (CLA) offices on Northern Avenue. Monday, May 2nd, 2016 will go down as a special day in the lives of four young people who find support through the organization, Community Living Algoma here in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

“Today is the day we announce to four little girls from the Sault, that they will be going to Disney for a day,” shared Lezlie Wilson, CLA Executive Assistant just before the surprise announcement to the children. The children were each surprised with an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Wow! Four girls were selected.  Two – 9 year olds, and two – 12 year olds from within the Community Living Algoma family.

“There is a criteria, and once we choose the children who are on service with us, their names go into a hat and a random draw takes place by our Board members. We knew that we could choose four names from the hat this year.”

Associations for Community Living in Sudbury, Windsor, London, Sault Ste. Marie and the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) will have children heading to Disney World with ‘Dreams Take Flight’.

“We raise money to support CLA, as well as other organizations throughout our community,” shared Lions Club of Sault Ste. Marie President, Don Vardy. “One of our main efforts is to support youth and children.”

Lion Ron Houghton was also there for the big reveal, where a cheque from Lions Club, District A-5 Zone31 West, was presented to CLA’s Executive Director, John Policicchio and  Executive Assistant, Lezlie Wilson.

“They’ll be leaving in the morning for a three day whirlwind trip of a lifetime,” shared CLA Board member Mac Headrick. “This is such a great opportunity for them. It’s good thing children have so much stamina.”

“Tomorrow morning the children leave Sault Ste Marie on the 10 o’clock (a.m.) flight bound for Toronto, Ontario. They’ll stay overnight in Toronto after a full day of activities and parties; sleep overnight Tuesday in Toronto. Wednesday morning, they go to the (Air Canada) hangar and then off to Disney World for the day. Then back to the Sault on Thursday,” said Wilson.

“This is the 27th year Air Canada has been making Disney dreams come true. This is our second year on board and we are just as excited as we were last year.”

“Would you like to go to Disney World?”, Wilson asked the four girls after being escorted into the board room by Mickey & Minnie Mouse. “You’re leaving the Sault tomorrow. Staying in Toronto overnight, and then Wednesday morning, bright and early, you’re  going to Disney World for the day.”

“Are we really going?” asked one of the girls.

“Yes. You sure are,” said Lezlie. “And there’s one word in Disney you can never say. The word is no. It’s ‘yes’ all day.” Sweet!

CLA staff member Judy Duffy, will travel with the foursome.

‘Dreams Take Flight’  was created by a group of Air Canada employees.

‘Dreams Take Flight’ website states the following: ‘We’re a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing unforgettable memories to children who may be faced with life threatening illnesses, coming from disadvantaged situations, and those that are physically and mentally challenged.

What we do: By the end of this year, Dreams Take Flight will have taken over 24,000 children to the happiest place on earth – Disney. There, they experience the wonder of friendship and magic. Our goal is to help them forget their troubles for one incredible day, and to provide them with a lifetime of memories.

Why we do it: We have seen that this extraordinary event has a profoundly positive effect on the children, now and in the future. It is our sincerest wish that the memories they create stay with them forever, as well as give flight to new hopes and dreams.

Our long-term goal: There’s no limit to a child’s dreams, and so we work every year to make our flight bigger and better. Through all this, we hope to promote positive effects in our communities that will last a lifetime and beyond. With continued support from our donors, sponsors and volunteers, we will be able to make this dream grow and expand for generations to come.’ (