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Check out what’s been going on in our world!
Check out what’s been going on in our world!
Did you know that you can sit in your wheelchair on a bus, in an accessible van, and on some trains, but not on an airplane? So, if you require a wheelchair to get about in the world, and you must go a long distance, how do you get there? This is a problem Astonished! Core Member, Kennen Dorgan, and All Wheels Up are trying to resolve. All Wheels Up is a United States of America (USA) based organization that is testing the safety of wheelchairs in airplanes and petitioning the USA government (and now the Canadian government) for the creation of wheelchair accessible spaces on planes. Kennen Dorgan is organizing a letter writing campaign to the Canadian government.
This is the first paragraph of Kennen’s letter:
Dear Prime Minister,
My name is Kennen Dorgan. My dream is to fly to Alaska to visit my sister. I have a complex physical disAbility and I use a wheelchair for mobility. I cannot sit independently from my wheelchair and airplanes do not have designated wheelchair spots. Every summer I spend at least 108 hours of challenging and exhausting driving time to visit with my sister in Alaska. A flight would take 15 to 20 hours.
Kennen and Astonished! are asking you to become part of her letter writing campaign. To learn more about what you can do please click here…
Photo: Altn-Yildiz Bekirova. Kennen Dorgan, Tanya Korpoetsky
To receive a bachelor’s in social work from the University of Regina students must complete two practicums. A practicum involves direct practice in social work agencies or other settings in which students are exposed to situations that call for their active engagement in a helping role. We are delighted that Lesley Rousseau chose to do her major practicum with Astonished! this semester.
Lesley hails from Cornach, Saskatchewan. Lesley and her twin sister Keely are both completing their fourth year in Social Work at the University of Regina. Lesley says ‘It has been eye-opening to see the barriers that individuals with disAbilities experience. To an able-bodied person these barriers may seem invisible.’ For example, if you are not able to sit independent of your wheelchair then travel with most airlines is impossible. Lesley is teaming with A! Student researcher Kennen Dorgan to learn more about All Wheels Up . The goal of All Wheels Up is to provide safe travel opportunity for those individuals wishing to fly and needing the use of their wheelchair. All Wheels Up Inc.’s intention is to create a wheelchair spot on planes and provide safe transport within airport terminals. We look forward to learning more about their research.
In addition Lesley will develop and deliver three sessions with the Astonished! Student Researchers in the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Centre. She is also helping spread the word about support for the Astonished! Spring Gala.
In her spare time Lesley loves to spend time with family and friends, read, and loves learning. Lesley says ‘Astonished! is inspiring’. Thank you, Lesley. We are so glad to be learning with you.
Thank you to the A! Board, Leadership Team, and Staff for once again hosting a fabulous Holiday Feast. Special thanks to Dr. Helen Pridmore, Faculty of Media, Arts, and Performance, University of Regina for leading us in holiday songs. Dr. Pridmore is one of the research leaders in the VOICE Lab (Vocally Oriented Investigations in Creative Expression) will be a studio space where people with disabilities can think about and develop methods of creative self expression while having the support of people and technology.
Dr. Chelsea Temple Jones makes her home between Regina and Toronto with family in both places. She is currently working at the University of Regina on a two year post doctoral project: The VOICE Lab (Vocally Oriented Investigations in Creative Expression) will be a studio space where people with disabilities can think about and develop methods of creative self expression while having the support of people and technology. The project is a partnership between the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance (MAP); the Faculty of Social Work; and Astonished! Inc.
Originally from Regina Chelsea has a strong commitment to doing this research in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan has historically been a place where there is under-funding of disability art and culture. The VOICE Lab will make a significant contribution to the art and culture knowledge that is created by people with disabilities.
Chelsea brings her background in journalism and critical disability studies to this research project, as well as her deep respect for including knowledge generated by people with disabilities in our public discourse. She teaches at the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University. In 2019 she will once again be teaching an online class, Research Methods in Disability Studies.
Welcome Chelsea. We look forward to learning together as we create knowledge and fun in the VOICE Lab.
Funding for this research project is through MITACS: Mitacs builds partnerships between academia, industry, and the world to create a more innovative Canada
For many people using digital technology is as familiar as the air they breathe, but for others it is another place of exclusion. Astonished! is delighted to partner with Inclusion Regina in the fall of 2018 to introduce six A! Core Members to online safety and the basics of using an iPad. The program, called Let’s Connect Technologies, enables participants to acquire their own iPads at a minimal price, and introduces participants to a variety of programs, apps, and online safety. Some of the participants were already familiar with the iPad but for others it was their first opportunity to have their own iPad and begin to access the world that is possible with this tool. The pride in the room was palpable. Thanks Inclusion Regina for partnering with us. We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Lorne and Evelyn Johnson Foundation at South Saskatchewan Community Foundation. To see photos from one of the evening sessions please click here.
Corrie Van Burgsteden, Pagan Racette, Stephanie Ikekhuamen, Kaitlyn Hoar, Alix Norum (Astonished! Leadership Team), and Katherine Taylor (Astonished! Program Coordinator) were not daunted by blowing snow and icy streets. On November 5th they met, as they do the first Monday of every month, to organize events for the Astonished! Social Club. Last month was a scary cookie bake-off to celebrate Halloween, this month will be a Regina Cougars hockey game. They plan a variety of social and recreational events in response to the diverse interests of the Astonished! Core Members. For every event they attend to the details of accessibility, transportation, food and beverages, and of course fun. Thanks to this wonderful group of six for keeping the A! Social Club vibrant.
Photo: Corrie Van Burgsteden, Pagan Racette, Stephanie Ikekhuamen, Katherine Taylor, Kaitlyn Hoar, Alix Norum.
We work in inclusive community to address barriers facing young adults with complex physical disAbilities (core members) by creating opportunities for teaching and learning, social, recreational and cultural engagement, and for employment and housing.
The Big Sky Centre for Learning and Being Astonished Inc.
University of Regina
3737 Wascana Parkway
Regina, SK S4S 0A2
Bonnie Cummings-Vickaryous, Executive Director, 306-737-9560