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Never Stop Dreaming: The Journey to The Respite Club

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I am Rose Senior, and today, I am the proud founder of The Respite Club, an inclusive indoor play center. It’s a place where individuals of all abilities can come together to play, learn, and grow in an environment that is sensory-friendly and judgment-free. I’d like to share my journey with you and hopefully inspire you to follow your dreams, no matter where they may lead.

My Unexpected and Unplanned Journey

How did I get here? My journey into entrepreneurship was unplanned and unexpected. Let me take you back to my beginnings.

As a child growing up in Jamaica, I dreamt of becoming a teacher, specifically a fourth-grade teacher. However, life took me on a different path. I studied business administration at York University in Toronto and enjoyed a successful career in the corporate world, fully anticipating a conventional retirement.

Everything changed when I was blessed with two wonderful boys who were diagnosed with autism and intellectual disabilities. As my boys grew older, I noticed a troubling gap: there were hardly any family entertainment spaces that catered to their needs.

The Problem with Traditional Play Centers

This realization hit me hard. I found that traditional entertainment or play centers often fell short in accommodating children with diverse needs. It was not just my family that was affected—many other families faced similar challenges, feeling isolated and unsupported.

This problem sparked my entrepreneurship journey. I began to feel the pull towards creating something of my own—something that would make a tangible difference in the lives of others. I envisioned a place where individuals with special needs could simply be themselves, play, and interact without the limitations imposed by a world not designed with them in mind. Thus, the idea for The Respite Club was born.

Lessons Learned from the Beginning

Driven by maternal instincts and a fierce desire to create a solution, I immersed myself in parent and caregiver support groups, conducted surveys and extensive online research, and visited numerous indoor play centers and family entertainment facilities. I also attended entrepreneurship seminars, workshops, and summits, which helped me gain the necessary skills and knowledge.

This journey was filled with ups and downs, including disappointments and rejections, but it also came with many lessons learned.

One critical lesson I learned is that entrepreneurship requires resilience and patience. Building a business is a journey that unfolds over time, and it’s essential to let ideas mature before diving in with investments. Allow your ideas to develop naturally, and don’t rush the process.

A quote I heard along the way that resonated deeply with me is, “Following your dream is not for the weak!” It was my love for my children and a deep commitment to improving the lives of other families that kept me going.

The Purpose I Found in TRC

Through this process, I discovered a profound sense of purpose. Creating a sensory-friendly, inclusive space was not just about my boys; it was about building a community where every participant could thrive. Today, The Respite Club stands as a testament to what can be achieved when you follow your heart and address a real need.

True success is measured not by profit margins but by the smiles on the faces of the children who play at The Respite Club and the gratitude of their families.

Advice to My Younger Self

If I could speak to my 10-year-old self, arriving in Canada and dreaming of becoming a teacher, I would say, “Pursue your dreams, but be open to life’s surprises. Your path may not be what you envisioned, but every experience will shape you into a stronger, more compassionate person.”

I would tell her, “Grow through what you go through. Embrace every challenge as an opportunity for growth and believe in the positive impact you can make.”

Never Stop Dreaming

Thank you for reading my story. My goal today is to inspire you to never stop dreaming, no matter where life takes you. Your dreams can lead you to unexpected places and extraordinary achievements. Believe in yourself and the impact you can have on the world.

  • Rose, Founder of The Respite Club
The Respite Club is a unique, inclusive out-of-home Play Centre!
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