ATI (Annai Thantha Illam) translates to “A Home Provided By the Mother”. ATI is an amazing experience for all staff, volunteers, clients and caregivers. As a past volunteer and current staff member I’ve been through many hard experiences that helped me grow as a person.
I began volunteering at ATI in November of 2017. Being a very shy individual, I felt a very warm welcome by the organization . Working with the clients, taught me more than I ever imagined. The kids taught me patience, that time is important but if it’s not spent the right way that’s when time is only wasted. They taught me to be compassionate when having to relate to clients and caregivers from a personal standpoint, but most importantly the clients taught me that no matter where you are in life everyone goes at their own pace to find their own success.
I’ve taken care of a lot of differently abled clients. I’ve been able to talk to a wide range of clients while at ATI and learned the one thing they all have in common is their welcoming, loving nature. Everyday I come into work excited because the kids are as enthusiastic to learn and have fun as the staff is to teach and help them. ATI also have an amazing group of staff that looks after the clients like we’re all family.
At ATI we follow the DAILI Program. DAILI stands for Differently Abled Independent Living Initiative. We find it very important that all clients are able to learn to take care of themselves the best they can without needing as much assistance from their caregivers, so the caregivers have less tasks to do at home. We find these programs very important because most of our students are above the age of 21 and are adults. After turning the age of 21 most differently abled kids don’t have a lot of schooling options open to them, that’s why having a program like DAILI is important to teach them not only the basics of education like money, time, reading and writing but also the basic education to social acceptance and building self confidence.
ATI is one of the most extraordinary places for all, workers, volunteers, clients and caregivers. In my opinion it’s a life changing and eye opening experience. Everyday is a new adventure at ATI we all take together.
Praveen Sathiyamoorthy is currently pursuing post-secondary education in Social Work and worked as a Personal Support Worker at ATI Foundation. His passion includes helping individuals achieving their maximum potential and learning from them at the same time.