60 Years of Potential Realized



Potential Realized: 60 Stories Over 60 Years! 

Woven throughout our six decades of service to our community are stories of hope, inspiration, success and a vision for a brighter future. As we celebrate 60 Years of Potential Realized, we'll feature 60 stories over 60 years of our Rotarians, staff, volunteers, donors and alumni. Join us in our year-long celebration of Potential Realized. 

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 


Featured Story: A Part of Their Lives

Penny MacVicar has been a part of the fabric that is KidsAbility for 50 years. First and foremost, Penny was a parent of a child with cerebral palsy — her son, Bruce.


In 1969 when he was just 15 months old, Penny brought Bruce to The Rotary Centre after his pediatrician diagnosed Bruce with mild cerebral palsy. He was referred to Dr. Glen McFadden, who was the organization’s first medical director. Bruce struggled with sitting, crawling and talking. Throughout the years, he benefited from speech, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.


Five years after first walking through the doors, Penny was offered a part-time position in the speech department as a speech aide. Another five years went by, and the full-time position as the first ever Volunteer Coordinator was offered in 1979 — a position she held for until her retirement in 2004. Along with this role, Penny’s responsibilities over the years also encompassed public relations, audio visual services as well as looking after the Resource Centre.


Throughout Penny’s time on staff, Bruce continued to benefit from the services offered including a life skills program. When he was 15-years-old, Bruce began his volunteer career with the organization. To this day, over 35 years later, Bruce is still going strong! It’s no wonder the first word that pops into Bruce’s into mind when he thinks of KidsAbility is ‘volunteer’.


“Volunteering is a big part of my life. I love working with my Mom, meeting and working with nice people,” says Bruce. Over the years, there isn’t much that Bruce hasn’t volunteered to help with always stepping in when he’s needed. Whether it is helping to maintain the grounds, tallying grocery tapes back in the day, or being that friendly face on Rotary Fun Day to help direct parking, Bruce has given back and remains a familiar face at KidsAbility.


When he’s not at KidsAbility, Bruce volunteers in the community and works part-time as a grocery clerk — a position he has held for more than 25 years. Bruce attributes his confidence, speech, social skills and the ability to be an active member in the community all to KidsAbility.

Penny is most proud of Bruce, and what he has achieved because of the role that the Rotary Centre played in his life. She witnessed first-hand how these life-altering therapies help children and youth to realize their own potential. She reiterates to parents today: “Trust that you will succeed with the services you need. Be your child’s team leader.”

Although Penny retired a number of years ago, she continues to volunteer and reflects: “It was a wonderful place to work. I love this place so much that I needed to continue as a volunteer. I saw many positive changes of how people with disabilities were viewed and what they are capable of.”

Portrait of Bruce MacVicar and Penny MacVicar