Victory Kids was founded by Janine Thétard and her son Joshua in 2005. Joshua had severe epilepsy and a diagnosis of Autism. Before the family moved to Port Elizabeth, in 2003, Joshua had been undergoing intensive Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) therapy. This type of intervention was not available in Port Elizabeth and Janine felt driven to continue to provide this for her son. She developed and implemented a similar programme herself. As she began to train facilitators to work with Joshua, interest spread not only among the students who had passion to help children with difficulties reach their true potential, but also from teachers and mothers who felt at a loss as to how to help the children in their care.
This presented Janine with a new challenge in implementing programmes for more and more children on the Autism Spectrum and accommodating these children. Janine was blessed by her church who offered her the use of their Sunday School building.
Victory Kids was built one stone at a time. From a service offered initially to just two children, to a centre influencing the lives of many families, offering small classes with individualised intensive therapy daily as well as additional therapies. During 2010 we were able to host 22 children in an intensive therapy and preschool programme. Our programme has also expanded to include not only children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, but also those with other disabilities, including hearing impairments, cerebral palsy and genetic conditions. Our programme has diversified from 4 hours of intensive one-on-one therapy a day to that of small classes, encouraging social interaction and peer-to-peer learning while still allowing for each child to receive an hour of intensive one-on-one intervention per day over and above their other therapies.
Janine coined the motto “for our young warriors who do battle daily – may you overcome”. This motto became more “real” when Joshua sadly passed away on 20 October 2010, at the age of 12. He was truly a warrior, and we salute him not only for what his mother, Janine, brought to us through him, but also for how he taught us to persevere. The last 18 months of his life were troubled by almost daily seizures and skill regression. This brought about daily new challenges for his family. Just prior to Joshua’s death Janine and her husband made the difficult decision to relocate their family to Cape Town.
We acknowledge Janine as the pioneer and driving force behind Victory Kids, making it the success that it is. We want to honour God for bringing her and Joshua into our lives. We pray that we will be able to continue in Joshua’s legacy by providing excellent educational opportunities for children with special educational needs whilst making the programme as affordable and sustainable as possible.
Janine’s vision for 2011 and beyond included bringing on board teen-skill building, socialisation and self-help programmes to assist teenagers with difficulties that impede their inclusion in normal social and educational environments. We hope to be able to live up to her dream.
We want to continue loving, building and empowering families to see hope and a brighter future.
74 Mowbray Street 6045
Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
Phone: 078 608 7877