Our 50th Stories: Sharon Fowler, a founding parent

Sharon Fowler is one of the organization’s founding parents. Her husband Alvin was the first, 1st Vice President and her son Roy received supports at Sunshine House and attended Cosmos School.

She remembers attending the original meeting and Alvin standing up and speaking even though he “wasn’t a public speaker”.

Sharon says “part of the reason why he wanted to start this school was we were told when Roy was about four-months-old was to take him home and raise him like you would a pet dog because they couldn’t learn. And this was from a medical doctor, but that was the attitude (back then).”

There were approximately eight families involved in the beginning says Sharon, and those eight families had children that were not allowed into the school system at that time.

She remembers one of the first fundraising events for the organization taking place the beginning of June 1970. It was an over 14-mile Walk-A-Thon in which approximately 50 people took part.

“After the Walk-A-Thon, they had hot dogs and ice cream and juice at the old Deadwood Hall and the kids ran around and played.”

Sharon says the “organization always got a lot of support from the community; monetary and voluntary.”

Walk-A-Thon, picture courtesy of Sharon Fowler

Another fond memory for Sharon was the Grand Opening of Sunshine House June 17, 1972.

She remembers the most exciting part for the children living in the home was seeing the RCMP members in their Red Serge. “The children were fascinated with the RCMP”.

She also remembers the Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta, Grant MacEwan being good with the kids of Sunshine House.

Grand Opening of Sunshine House June 17, 1972

Her son Roy lived in Sunshine House until he was 12 and then moved to Grande Prairie to receive supports.