George Jeffrey Children’s Centre is a paediatric outpatient health facility located in Thunder Bay, Ont. It has been meeting the communication, developmental, and physical needs of children for over 60 years, providing services to infants, children, and adolescents aged birth to school exit.
The organization also includes Little George's Child Care Centre. Little George offers licensed full and part-time daycare for children aged 18 months to five years and programming for school-aged children, six to 12 years.
Enriching lives by delivering specialized rehabilitative and interprofessional services in client-centred environments.
Empowered and inspired children, youth and families.
Our values govern our actions and are reflected in our work with children, youth and families, as well as with our community partners and each other.
DIGNITY & RESPECT: We provide high quality and compassionate services that honour the unique experiences of every individual.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSIVENESS: We create environments that are shaped by openness, respect and a willingness to learn and adapt. We serve the diverse needs of all people and communities in northwestern Ontario, ensuring equitable opportunities to access services across our large geographical catchment area.
RECONCILIATION: We work to build understanding and relationships with Indigenous people for the improved health and well-being of all children, youth and families.
LEADERSHIP: We deliver innovative and evidence-informed services by providing an environment that fosters professional development and leadership within our community and the child development and rehabilitation sector.
COMMUNITY: We connect to our clients and our communities by building stronger relationships, meaningful partnerships and exploring opportunities for collaboration.
Located in Thunder Bay at the western end of Lake Superior, George Jeffrey Children’s Centre offers a broad range of services for children and youth across a sprawling region of northwestern Ontario. Its status as a non-profit charitable organization with strong community ties began in 1948, when the Kiwanis Club and the Lakehead Cerebral Palsy Parents’ Council worked together to establish the J.B. Larway School.
From this early era serving pre-school children with disabilities, the centre has grown to serve all of northwestern Ontario with a variety of services and innovative and specialized programming. At one time, its catchment area was roughly the size of France, and it still covers tens of thousands of square kilometres, catering to a diverse population including many Indigenous and Francophone communities.
In 1983, the centre was renamed in honour of George Jeffrey, a former chairman of the board and the centre’s director for many years, for his dedication to children with disabilities. It now offers a full complement of core services such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech language pathology, and in recent years has expanded into school-based rehabilitation and services under the Ontario Autism Program.
The over-arching goal at George Jeffrey is to make sure the family’s needs are being met. Beyond the physical needs of the child, the centre also looks at psychosocial factors, with social workers on staff. It strives to ensure that families and children are empowered to make their own decisions involving care.
George Jeffrey is a strong believer in student education, and offers a variety of placements every year to students in related studies.
The centre’s main funder is the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. George Jeffrey is fortunate to have the support of the George Jeffrey Children’s Foundation. The Foundation is committed to raising funds for programs and services offered at the Centre. Funding is also received from the District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board to support Little George’s Child Care Centre.
Through its dedicated, knowledgeable, and multi-disciplinary staff, the centre is committed to building on its strengths to become a leader in its community and within the child development and rehabilitation sector. In 2022 George Jeffrey Children’s Centre employed 76 regular and full-time staff. The centre’s management team is composed of:
Tina Bennett, Chief Executive Officer
Michelle Blackburn, Director, Client Services
Stacy Greenwood, Manager, Human Resources
Shannon Little, Manager, Finance
Lindsay McDonald, Manager, Client Services
Andrea Stach, Manager, Client Services
Marlene Trystruha, Manager, Health Information Services
Cindy Levanto, Executive Director of George Jeffrey Children’s Foundation
Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award: CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD – Winner 2019
Chronicle Journal Reader’s Choice Award – Best Speech Team – Winner for 5 years from 2018 to 2022
Northwestern Ontario Innovation Awards – Innovative Project of the Year – Winner 2017
Many of the centre’s dedicated and knowledgeable professional staff have been acknowledged by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine during the annual Health Sciences Preceptor Awards by either receiving a nomination or being the recipient of a preceptor award.
George Jeffrey Children’s Centre is proud to partner with many organizations in the District of Thunder Bay and across the Province of Ontario to help achieve its Vision.