Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization
Disabled Kids in Canada Thrive with the Help of Software Donations
In 2005, the parents of five children with neuro-developmental needs came together to found Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization (NUKO) on Vancouver Island, Canada. NUKO's Learning Center meets the individual needs of the children so they can thrive academically. NUKO accommodates no more than 20 students with a student-to-staff ratio of 2-to-1. It offers four programs year-round for children and youth with neuro-developmental disabilities between ages 6 and 15 years: a day program that runs Monday to Friday with an academic focus, a therapeutic community recreation program, life-skills programming, and an annual summer camp. The summer camp is funded by donations from community organizations and brings six to seven weeks of full-day programs to a couple of children daily for five days a week. The organization's success has been recognized locally and nationally, with a waiting list of parents eager to have their children admitted.
For many aspects of its operations, NUKO relies on Microsoft software acquired through TechSoup Canada, which is run by TechSoup Global Network partners, the Centre for Social Innovation and the Information Technology Association of Canada. The software has been instrumental in generating awareness of NUKO's services through creation of its website, flyers, and brochures. NUKO manages daily administrative tasks such as scheduling, invoicing, budgeting, and developing presentations with Microsoft software. Microsoft software even helps the children served by NUKO's Learning Centers. The software is used to create curriculum materials and to teach kids basic computer skills. For the children of NUKO, learning to use Microsoft becomes a surefire way to build skills and self-confidence.