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A supportive place, where skills are developed and confidence is built, can make a tremendous difference for families living with special needs. Our programs provide participants with a warm, caring setting where they can feel welcome and safe, knowing they’re surrounded by others who understand.

A group of people standing with exercise balls and playing them like a drum.

Coffee Club


Our Coffee Club gives youth and adults with exceptional needs a place to connect with friends and feel at home.


This drop-in social group is open to people with disabilities who are age 16 and older. Coffee Club meets in person two Mondays each month from 7 to 9 pm. These in-person nights include a planned social activity, like:

  • Creating art
  • Playing games
  • Watching movies 
  • Eating dinner at different local restaurants
  • Attending community events and festivals

*COVID safety and public health restrictions are considered and obeyed when considering any in-person activity.


Coffee Club also meets virtually every Thursday from 3 to 4 pm. During these Zoom calls, participants talk, laugh, and sometimes watch Youtube videos together. 


Coffee Club is facilitated by Carmen Sutherland. As a co-creator of the program, she’s been running Coffee Club for more than 11 years.


For more information on our Coffee Club or to get the weekly Zoom link, please call Carmen Sutherland at 519-500-7153, or email her at carmen.sutherland@wrfn.info.



Support Groups


Belonging to a community of support is paramount to family wellness. The sharing of experiences strengthens and builds capacity to deal with the challenges and joys of parenting a child with special needs. It reduces isolation through mutual understanding and the potential to create meaningful connections. WRFN provides the following group support opportunities for families:


  • School Issues Support Group

This peer-led group provides support, advice and a safe environment for parents who have questions or concerns about school issues affecting their children with exceptionalities. Meetings are held monthly on the last Wednesday evening from 7 - 8:30 pm. Real-life experiences, tips, and strategies are shared.


Please email sue.simpson@wrfn.info to join the next meeting.


  • Kaleidoscope Kids

A free peer-led drop-in program for children 8 years old and under with exceptionalities and their parents (and/or caring adult) and siblings. This program offers parents the opportunity to connect with other caregivers and support one another while children play in a safe and inclusive environment. Join us on Tuesdays each week from 9:30 - 10:30 am at EarlyON Roger St in Waterloo.


While this is still a drop-in program, families will need to register with EarlyON's KEyON before arriving or when they arrive. Register for free at www.KEyON.ca. Please contact info@wrfn.info if you have any questions.


  • A New Chapter: Families Moving Forward

This peer-led group is for parents/caregivers interested in preparing for the future of their youth/adult family member with a lifelong disability. A New Chapter (ANC) meets virtually on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 pm. At 9 pm, parents are welcome to log off the call or stay on for an 'Ask-Us-Anything' question period. 


Please email maryjpike@hotmail.com with any questions you may have and/or to register.



Ask A Self-Advocate


Do you need to look at a challenge you are facing with a new perspective? Would you like to bounce ideas off someone who's been there? Cristina was diagnosed with exceptionalities as an adult, and she is passionate about sharing her lived experience. You can meet with Cristina to discuss your own questions and concerns, and hopefully gain new insights and ideas. This program is open to individuals with disabilities, their families, or professional supports.


This program is temporarily on hold. Please reach out to Sue Simpson at sue.simpson@wrfn.info for more information or with any related questions.