Our Latest News
Check out what’s been going on in our world!
Check out what’s been going on in our world!
The past six months have been times of challenge, worry, change, and finding new ways for everyone. This is especially true for us at Astonished! Many Core Members have been at home not been able to go to work, some have changed where they live, have missed summer camp, have not been able to be with friends in ways that are familiar to them, and some have been isolated from family because of the protocol for their housing. It has not been easy, but we are so impressed with the way the Astonished! staff, Core Members, board, volunteers, and families have worked to create new ways of being together. The photo above of Emma and Sean is a great example of these new ways – outdoor, physical distanced, together. Click here to see more…..
Robert Frost wrote ‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference’. Abbey Patallas knows this experience of the roads diverging. Five years ago, Abbey set out on the road of a degree in Kinesiology and Health Studies with a major in in Human Kinetics. Abbey is now in the last semester of her degree. In January she began her major practicum with Astonished! Some things have become clear to Abbey; she is really interested in the ongoing relationships with A! Student researchers, enjoys working one-to-one, developing and delivering programming, teaching and learning, and the social aspects of Astonished! She has discovered through experience that she is less interested in the clinical aspects of assessment and rehabilitation, but that knowledge of the human body will serve her well wherever her future takes her.
Abbey is working on the Astonished! Gala, approaching businesses and following up on sponsorships. She is part of the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Centre program three days a week with Melissa Turbuck, and she is working on a web-based sign-up-form for A! volunteers.
Outside of her work at A! and being a student, Abbey has a part time job working in administration at SaskTel. To balance all of this, she enjoys staying active and spending time outdoors. We are happy to have Abbey with us this semester and wish her all the best on the roads of her future.
At Astonished! our creativity originates in, and responds to, the unique lives of the A! Core Members. Mia Bell is a good fit for this creative process. Mia is in the first semester of her Interdisciplinary Masters Program in the Faculty of Media + Art + Performance (MAP) at the University of Regina. As part of her studies Mia is the support person working at the VOICE Lab.
Mia completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology with a minor in Visual Arts. With Dr. Rebecca Caines and Dr. Michelle Stewart , Mia worked on a community arts and disability project relating to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Being able to do her master’s studies across disciplines allows Mia to bring together her interests in disability studies, disability arts, improvising arts, and trauma studies.
As the support person in the VOICE Lab Mia recently introduced A! Student Researchers to the app ‘This is Sand’. The app encourages focused, creative, play, and self-expression. Mia is interested in visual arts as a way of expanding the expression of ‘VOICE’. Mia will be available to A! Student Researchers until September and we look forward to the unique expressions that will arise out of this collaboration. Welcome Mia.
On December 14th, 2019, Astonished! hosted our annual Holiday Feast. A! Core Members, families, friends, volunteers, and staff all joined in the festivities. With the Core Members, we began the event with a craft activity by decorating ornaments with paint and lots of glitter. When that was occurring, staff and volunteers were hard at work preparing the food. There was lots of food including turkey, mash potatoes, cabbage rolls, meatballs and to end the night, ice cream for dessert. We had fun coming together and catching up with one another over good food. Thank-you City of Regina for the Social Development Grant, which partially funds our monthly Astonished! Social Club event! Check out our Face Book post for more photos from the evening.
I did not plan to be transported by Disability Artivism Across the Flyover Provinces, but I was. At the registration table we were invited to choose red, yellow, or green dots to put on our name tags to signify how much interaction or engagement we wanted on that particular day. Those same name tags also welcomed us to the possibilities of gender identity. From the first moment of the opening address, when University of Regina Elder-in-Residence Lorna Standingready named her skin colour as a disability in a province where racism rules, I found myself in a new place of deeper perception and connections. A place where closed captioning, ASL interpretation, and Crip Time were normative.
Kirsty Johnston, a disability performance researcher and associate professor in the Department of Theater and Film at the University of British Columbia, was the keynote speaker. She took us through time, showing how disability has been represented and presented in theatre, and how these representations and presentations have been challenged and changed over time.
The morning panel of Traci Foster, John Loeppky, Kelsey Culbert, Joanne Weber , and Chelsea Jones addressed a wide range of topics. Traci Foster named some of the challenges facing actors with disabilities. For example, actors with disabilities are often expected to only play parts that are about disability, and work for less than the regular rates. Actors with disabilities are often typecast and not perceived as someone to audition for a role in a Shakespeare play or some other play.
The jam session with Dr. Helen Pridmore and the A! Student Researchers added vitality and fun to the day. At one point Mustafa Alabssi of Deaf Crows conducted the symposium participants (see photo above) and the room was alive with vocal sounds and laughter. Thank you to everyone who made this day possible. Please see the event brochure for a list of event supporters and sponsors and check out photos from the day. (Brenda MacLauchlan)
PHOTO: Mustafa Alabssi
What do you have when you put together 31 teams (99 participants), over 300 generous donors, one presenting sponsor (Scotiabank), three bronze sponsors (Dusyk and Barlow Insurance, Viva Optical, Uro Medical Supplies), one prize donor (The Owl), one practicum student (Hallie Burke), three A! staff (Bonnie Cummings-Vickaryous, Elisa Wong, Melissa Turbuck), and one volunteer Communications Coordinator (Brenda MacLauchlan)? You have generosity in motion, otherwise known as the 5th Annual Astonished! Walk and Roll Presented by Scotiabank.
In harmony with the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities Astonished! hosted our 5th Annual Astonished! Walk and Roll Presented by Scotiabank on December 1, 2019, a family-friendly pledge event that was a tremendous success. Funds raised will be used to support the work of Astonished! Thank you to our amazing sponsors, participants, donors, and organizers. Click here to see photos from the event.
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