NEWS

Opera star parents help struggling Toronto nursery school

09/27/2012 01:35 EDT | Updated 11/27/2012 05:12 EST
Two Canadian opera stars are helping a struggling Toronto nursery school as a way of giving back for the help the school has given their son with special needs.

The Bond Child and Family Development Centre is a United Way Member Agency that works with a diverse group of preschoolers, including those with special needs.

Soprano Renee Salewski and her baritone husband are helping to raise money for the school that cares for their three-year-old son Sebastian by taking part in an opera benefit concert at the Metropolitan United Church Friday.

"We've all come on board because Sebastian is very special to us and we've watched him grow and blossom here," Salewski said.

Sebastian's mother said he understands and thinks the words clearly but has trouble speaking because "his muscles do not respond correctly."

Salewski said Sebastian first came to the Bond Centre when he could barely sequence two words, but now occasionally speaking in six or seven word sentences.

"This isn't just a daycare," she said. "It's an enriched preschool environment where they take every child's development very seriously."

Executive Director for the centre, Rosemary White, says most children at the school need subsidies and the city has cut them back dramatically. She says that has almost resulted in the shutting down of the centre.

"We are battling against that all the time, we are looking for funding from various foundations and organizations," White said.

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