Our History

How It All Began

In 1965, with the birth of their son Steven Reese, Jim and Adrienne Reese realized that there was a need for a Christian organization to provide a full spectrum of services for people with developmental disabilities in Ontario.  As a result, they enlisted the help of other families to create a Christian ministry to serve people with disabilities – the Ontario Christian Association for Exceptional Children was born.  In 1976 it adopted its new name Christian Horizons.

Growth of Christian Horizons

Christian Horizons lives out its mission through a variety of programs and services. In 1967, we hosted our first two-week camp in the Haliburton Highlands. The camping ministry was later expanded to include excursions and supported vacations. Trusting that God would provide the funds needed, in 1974, the Board of Directors decided to purchase the first Christian Horizons’ home in Waterloo for ten adults with exceptional needs. Its opening in November 1976 marked the beginning of our residential services. Shortly after, the first Supported Independent Living program began in Waterloo, and then a year later the second residence was opened in Welland. By the end of the 1970s, our services included a job placement program in the North and a day program in the Ottawa area.

Since the 1980s, community participation support, educational services, vacation services, an annual family retreat, and host family services have rounded out our program offerings.

Today

Christian Horizons has evolved into a non-profit, faith-based charitable organization with more than 3,500 employees and hundreds of volunteers. We operate more than 200 residences, serving nearly 2,000 people with exceptional needs and their families in Ontario and Saskatchewan. Over the course of 25 years, Christian Horizons Global has made a positive impact in the lives of over 300,000 people affecting over 60 communities globally.

Our services have expanded to serve children and adults. Our first summer camping program has grown to include a wide variety of support and vacation programs across Canada. Today, our direct support professionals meet the daily physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the many people we support.

For over 50 years we have had the privilege of serving many people with the support of many partners, but there is still so much more to do. As back in 1965 when our founders heeded God’s call for action, our goal continues to create new opportunities for people with exceptional needs to share their gifts in communities of belonging.

Christian Horizons Global

Along with our drive to better serve people in Canada, came a desire to reach out across the globe. In 1987, Ed Sider and his wife went to Guatemala to pick up their newly adopted daughter. While there, seeing little children struggling to live deeply affected Ed. This experience created the impetus for Ed to launch Children’s Homes International in 1990 as an independent international ministry, with a group of Christian Horizons employees. 

In 2007, Children’s Homes International merged with Christian Horizons and was renamed Christian Horizons Global. Supported through individual donors, churches, and in partnerships with organizations like Bible League Canada, our global ministry has expanded to provide education, training and leadership development programs, children’s services and microenterprise development in countries around the world.

Learn More About Global