The roots of the ICHA were planted in 1977 at Glengarda School when Egidio Novelletto began a soccer program for mentally challenged individuals. The Association was granted charitable, non profit status on July 22, 1987.
Since that time, the Association has taken on the responsibility of delivering a number of additional social and recreational activities. They include social activities designed to integrate our membership into the community. The ICHA Valentine’s day, Halloween and Christmas dinner / dances are filled with friendship, good food, dancing and fun. In addition to the soccer program, track & field, bocce ball, poly hockey (floor hockey) and basketball have been added to meet the needs and demands of these “special individuals”. These programs are currently run year round out of the Novelletto Rosati Complex on various weekday evenings. ICHA social members participate in many out of town soccer tournaments throughout the summer and have experienced the pleasure of traveling as a group to such places as Cleveland, Ohio (clog dancing competition ), the Thousand Islands, African Lion Safari and Canada’s Wonderland .
The ICHA has established a fund to offer bursaries at both the University of Windsor and St Clair College. Bursary funds are accessible to people with physical and mental disabilities. In recognition of an individual who contributed greatly to the early success of the ICHA, the Dario Rossi Memorial Bursary was established and is available to an ICHA volunteer who is moving into a post secondary school environment.
Today the ICHA is one of the largest organizations of its kind in Ontario with a social membership of 200 individuals and a voting membership of 80. It is important to note that our Association is run entirely through the efforts of our volunteers. Our social members range in age from 10 to over 50, with the average age of 25.
Membership in the ICHA is open to all people with a physical or mental disability in Windsor and Essex County. The word “Italian” in our name reflects the ethnic background of our founding members and recognizes their generous contributions and the commitment they’ve given to the special individuals in our organization over the years. In October of 2002, the ICHA opened the Novelletto Rosati Complex with the ultimate goal of providing a home base for all people with a physical or mental disability in our community. Through the generosity of all levels of government and the overwhelming support of businesses and individuals in Windsor and throughout Essex County, the ICHA was successful in this endeavor.
If you know of someone that could benefit from our programs or is interested in volunteering their service with the ICHA, please have them contact us. Inquiries can be sent to the ICHA, 3939 Carmichael Dr., Windsor, Ontario, N9C-0C3 in care of Egidio Novelletto, Founding President or Bob Hayes ICHA President. Phone inquiries can be directed to the above parties at (519) 977-1209.
Building the Dream
On March 5, 2001 the Italian Canadian HandiCAPABLE Association (ICHA) launched a $5.3 million capital campaign to secure funds to construct a sports and recreational facility designed for all mentally and physically disabled individuals in Windsor and Essex County. The facility was constructed at Mic Mac Park on a track of land generously donated by the City of Windsor. While designed for disabled individuals, the facility is open to all individuals and organization in Windsor and Essex County. This truly unique facility incorporate an integrating setting that features sporting opportunities, social activities for both able bodied and disabled persons.