Getting to know the A! Core Members and how they are living their lives.
Getting to know the A! Core Members and how they are living their lives.
On May 5, 2016, Kennen Dorgan and Silvia Franco, with the help of their families, did a fabulous job as the event planners for the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Centre Cinco de Mayo party. This was part of Kennen’s PATH plans.
Have you ever looked at a job descriptions for an event planner? Here are some of the requirements:
Kennen and Silvia did all of this and more. They even helped us with our Spanish pronunciations. If you want a taste of the party check out our Cinco de Mayo photos on Face Book.
Thanks Kennen and Silvia and your team for this fabulous event.
Photo: Silvia, Heather, Kennen, Carmen
We are often told to follow our passion, but not everyone knows what their passion is. This is not so for Kaitlyn Hoar. Kaitlyn has a passion for and a fascination with India. She is not sure when this began, possibly when she was eight and her grandfather spent several months working in India.
Kaitlyn wanted to share her passion with others at the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Centre (A!TLC). With the help of her companion Hannah, Kaitlyn interviewed someone from Regina whose original home is India. She also did online research, read articles, and watched a documentary about India. On Thursday April 28th, Kaitlyn and Hanna presented Kaitlyn’s story of India to the A! Student Researchers, staff , and U of R volunteers. We learned some about the history, religious diversity, and cultures of India. Kaitlyn and Hanna told us about safety issues, especially for women travelling on their own. Kaitlyn also brought some of the gifts she has received from her cousin while he was living in India. She showed us a sari that is the traditional garment of women in India, and many feet long .
Kaitlyn paid particular attention to what it would be like to live in India, or visit India, if you have a disAbility. She told us about ADAPT (Able Disabled All People Together), a national resource centre for inclusion. ADAPT is making big changes in the culture and accessibility but overall wheelchair travel and inclusion in India is not easy. But none of this deters Kaitlyn, her passion to visit India remains strong.
“Rebekah really sees me, not just the surface of me. She always greets me and kids around with me in ways that bring a lightness and brightness to my day.” Debra Brown.
It is tough to write a blog about yourself, so I consulted a few friends to help me with this. I am a natural consultant; I check with others rather than assume they want to do what I want to do. I am also a planner; I like to anticipate my day and be consulted about plans for the day, week, month, and year.
If you live on a dairy farm with your mom and dad, and in the city with your two aunties, have three older brothers, three sisters-in-law, seven nieces and nephews, plus more cousins and aunts and uncles and friends, and you are a Student Researcher at Astonished! with a companion who supports your active life YOU NEED TO PLAN. If you don’t do it someone else will do it for you. I am NOT someone who likes to have others plan my life for me.
For example, it took more than a year of planning, but I am now deep into a quilting project with my friend Deb Ottenbreit (and an auxiliary quilting team). The whole thing started because I wanted to spend more time with my friend, so I thought what the heck could be a project where we could spend more time together, and look what happened… great big fun quilting parties, more time with my friend, and a quilt that is turning out to be very cool and beautiful.
“Rebekah notices things and laughs at things that are funny but not everyone notices, but everyone laughs when she does. It is such a great sound.” Ruth Blaser
I am told I am also a gracious hostess. For example, my mom and I plan events for my friends at my farm. We call them Broyhill (the name of my farm) Bashes. It is great to have my friends rolling around the farm and learning a lot more about farming.
I am cautiously adventurous, I know, it sounds like I should be one or the other, but I am both so I am always trying new things. I am currently planning a yoga project with my Auntie Ruth. This spring semester (May-June 2016) we are going to lead a yoga pilot project with the Astonished! Student Researchers, A! staff, and University of Regina volunteers. We were inspired by the work of Matthew Sanford. He is a nationally-recognized pioneer in adaptive yoga for people with disAbilities.
Thank you for your interest in me and my blog post. Rebekah
Photo: Deb Ottenbreit, Rebekah Lindenbach, and Randy Ottenbreit choosing quilt fabric.
It takes time and commitment to grow a community where we can both remember and create new memories. On Friday January 8, 2016 the Astonished! Social Club both remembered and created memories. We sat in circle for a minute of silence to remember Mark Mould, one of our Astonished! Core Members who has gone on, then we shared stories of remembrance and said we miss you Mark Mould. Mark loved a good time, he would have loved that we also had great visits, played crazy games, and made more memories. Check our FB page to see photos from this evening……..
I am a person with strong ideas, interests, and passions. In 2009, when I graduated from Michael A. Riffle High School, I won the Quest for Excellence Award. I am a Student Researcher at the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Center, and a member of the Astonished! Leadership Team. I live and breathe Astonished!
My friends tell me they love having me as a friend. If you and I were in a crowded room and you said something funny or did something outrageous, I would be the first to notice. I would respond to you with my spontaneous laughter. It’s like a big round of applause’s. My friends like that about me. I like to be in the midst of fun and humor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always light spirited, I love what I love, and if I don’t love something I’ll let you know that too.
One of my loves is skeet shooting. I bet no one would’ve guessed this would be the outcome of a trip I took, with my mom and her partner Brad, to Brad’s farm. I learned about skeet shooting from Brad’s next-door neighbour Marty Scheller. I also became friends with Marty’s daughter Bailey. I consider Bailey to be my craziest friend and what would life be without crazy friends?
There are a number of Bailey’s in my life; Bailey Scheller, and Courtney Bailey (plus all her Bailey family). Courtney and I became friends when we were at Riffle High School. We have a lot of great things in common; we also have one big grief. Six years ago our good friend Spencer Borlaise died in a vehicle accident. It means so much to me that Spencer took the time to get on my school bus to say goodbye to me before he went off on his trip to Saskatoon, the trip from which he never came home.
I am a loyal friend and really enjoy being with people, but not with everyone. I think I could get a job as a “bullshit detector”. I seem to have a sense of who is real and who is just messing with me. I don’t give “the messers” the time of day.
I like to surprise people. If you checked out my current favorite TV shows [Chicago Fire and Chicago PD] you might think I was in it for the hunks in uniforms. But my other favorite TV show is Teen Mom. Teen Mom is more drama and scandalous rumors and less about uniforms or hunks.
If I have to choose between TV and live theater it’s live theater every time. I particularly like live theater at the University Theater in the Riddell Center at the University of Regina because that theater is so accessible. If I can’t get in the room it doesn’t matter how great a show is. When I was a mentor in the Issues in DisAbility Studies class at the University of Regina I took my team of social work students to a dinner theater in Regina. I was mentoring them on issues of accessibility. They were horrified at the 45° angle makeshift ramp I had to use to get into the theater space. It was a lesson they won’t soon forget. My dream is to one day see CATS in New York City.
Quirky humour and fun runs through both sides of my big international family. My dad loved to tease me and my friends. I miss him. This year for Christmas, my maternal grandma, Elaine Eyndhoven is having a Ukrainian cook-off at my house. Grandma and her two sisters (one is 96) are in the competition. The prize is a weekend at the Sask Hotel.
Perhaps the winner would like to take me with her because I am a natural at event planning. I think about who I want in the room and I go from there. I’m recently organized a baby shower/sprinkle for Bonnie Cummings-Vickaryous and her baby Anna (Bonnie is the Executive Director of Astonished!). I think about the details, come up with activities, and enjoy the party. Fortunately my mom, Wendy, and my sister, Kyla, are good at food, as I sometimes forget that in my planning.
My big excitement these days is having a companion who will be my driver, come to the A!TLC, and do other things with me. After much negotiation I finally have an Individualized Funding agreement. I am thrilled at this new opportunity in my life.
Photo: Ella McIntyre & Kaitlyn Hoar
My brain goes faster than I can type, but I have a solution; I use ‘speech to text’ on my tablet and phone, and ‘speech recognition’ on my computer. This makes it so much easier for me to work with the printed word. Learning ‘speech to text’ or ‘speech recognition’ takes patience because you have to train the program to recognize your voice.
I am also a big Pokémon fan. I grew up with it and the game is another opportunity for me to increase my manual dexterity and my training skills. The more you train with Pokémon the stronger the bond between the two of you. It is a little like training a dog, which I hope to do sometime soon. I am applying to get a service dog.
Most people probably don’t know this about me but I am terrified of meeting new people. I am not sure but this fear may be a result of being bullied when I was a kid. My twin sister Pagan calls me ‘Little Ame’ after the boy in the movie Wolf Children because he is very shy, but eventually he discovers his ‘inner wolf’. I don’t let the terror stop me from doing new things; like participating in the Astonished! Summer Literacy Program or going to work four mornings a week at Sask Abilities, but it takes its toll on me. I hope a service dog would help me feel at home wherever I am and hopefully reduce my feelings of anxiety and terror. Wish me luck with my application.
Oh I probably should also tell you that I have Cerebral Palsy, I can’t eat eggs unless they are disguised in a cake, I am careful about what I eat because I have ulcerative colitis, and at one point I had a blood clot. I have two favourite expressions, ‘burn’, and ‘hello’ (I stretch it out when I am saying it). Pagan and I live in our own apartments that are part of Chip and Dale Housing. Our apartments were designed for us so there is lots of room to get around in our power chairs, to reach the kitchen sink and the stove-top, and to get from our bedrooms to our bathrooms using the ceiling tracks. We both love having our own places. They were painted a few weeks ago and my bedroom is red like the colour in my photo above.
At A! Summer Literacy I loved that we read out loud. I have a lot of trouble comprehending when I am reading, it feels like my mind gets all jumbled up, but when it is read out loud I get it. I have this same problem when I am typing; this is another reason why ‘speech to text’ works so well for me. Another big bonus from the A! Summer Literacy Program is our new friendship with Al. Al is a University of Regina student who volunteered in the A! Summer Literacy Program. Pagan and I got to know him and now we hang out together.
You can learn more from Paige on her blog Jurassicdragon21 Dream Big No Matter What
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