Parade of Nations was created in May 2007. Its sole purpose, at the time, was to showcase an annual parade and festival to promote and celebrate the artistic local culture and the cultural heritage (history) of Akwesasne, Cornwall, and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SD&G), a representation of over 350 nations and groups of all kinds since the discovery of Canada and the evolution of our area ancestral origins.
In 2009, at the suggestion of the community at large, the Parade of Nations' Board of Directors resolved to hold fundraisers to help our community's special needs individuals by encouraging those artistically inclined. Consequently, the organization became Parade Of Nations For The Developmentally Challenged (PONDC). The proper term in 2009, but now defined as ''people with special needs.''
On March 22nd, 2013, the organization became a registered Canadian charitable organization with Canada Revenue Agency.
The PONDC's target audience are people of all ages and backgrounds with cognitive, emotional, or physical impairment. This includes impairments related to abnormal sensory or motor development, which appear in infancy or childhood and involve failure or delay in progressing through the normal developmental stages of childhood; as well as individuals affected physically by a disease, accident, or by a disorder of the mind as a result of trauma.
Therefore, Parade of nations is concentrating its efforts on serving the people with special needs. PONDC helps with the provision of the financial requirements to teach life skills, encourages those artistically inclined to develop their artistic ability and finds ways to highlight any other talents and abilities. PONDC's objective is to help those people with special needs feel included, acknowledged, and respected in the community.
Twice a year, PONDC evaluates requests to pay for workshops of all kinds related to the teaching of life skills, arts classes, requests for technical apparatus, attendance to special events, wish-granting, etc. The organisation also helps these individuals, by inviting them to participate in its fundraising events, by doing something they would enjoy to apply learned sills and displaying their abilities.
Many of PONDC accomplishment were published on its website until, the ''Personal Information Protection And Electronic Documents Act'' came into effect and most of the people who had received PONDC's help requested that their information be completely removed. Others, very few, agreed to let PONDC promote the help they received.
As a result, thanks to the generous donations received from its supporters and the countless hours contributed by our volunteers, Parade of Nations, in 2009, started helping private and non for profit organizations. Sometimes the help would be through volunteers' assistance during their fundraisers or the provision financial payment for specific endeavours, such as visits to museum and restaurant outings, recreation activities, arts classes in specific locations provided - free of charge - through space provided by Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB).
Often PONDC obtained it supplies through advertising for specific items in the Scuttlebutt column of the Seaway News; art classes from volunteers e.g. collage classes. Other funding would come from raffles of various in-kind donations and the money rose in a particular community would go back in some form to that particular community.
Some organizations and private businesses of the Territory of Akwesasne have been among of the most generous communities to make donations to the PONDC program called at the time ''A Light in the tunnel''. In collaboration with Julie St Denis of Akwesasne Child and Family Services and employees, in December 2013, Krysten Delormier and Marie Morrell went around in various local Cornwall businesses to purchase various items totalling $2000. These items were to be used by people with special needs of all ages living in Akwesasne. Then at the end of January 2014, the Indian Time published an article about the PONDC donation.
PONDC found a new venue to advertise its financial contributions without having to provide the name of specific individuals. It was by mentioning the name of the service provider and the organization it went to. In 2015, PONDC hired Jody Marsolais, owner of ''The Rythym Room'' to provide three groups of 20 people of « Initiation à la vie» with music, drum and vocal therapy. This type of therapy is specifically designed for people with special needs by ensuring people of all ability levels can participate.
For the last, four years, the Seaway Lighthouse 3rd Rail Modular Club, holds the Seaway Train Show with the proceeds going to PONDC for the yearly liability insurance. AS a result, after four years, two children Sam and Grace, of the Long Sault area, were presented with a $900.00 Via Rail Canada gift certificate. The two children have a passion for trains and always stayed the full two days each year, since 2010, watching trains going around the layout of 18 exhibitors. Sam and Grace have never been on a train ride and now this dream will become a reality.
The name of the PONDC program has been change in 2016 to "Different Abilities Of Talented Artists", becoming the acronym DATA, which will better reflect our target audience. Only the name has changed, not the services.