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Check out what’s been going on in our world!
Check out what’s been going on in our world!
One of the great joys of Astonished! is the mutual relationships and mutual benefits of having University of Regina students join our team for a semester or sometimes longer. Jasmine Galey, Hallie Burke, and Kathryn Derenisky are part of the A! team this semester.
While living in Calgary, and coaching a group of children ages 8-12, Jasmine Galey had an experience that shaped the direction of her education. One of the children in the group had Asperger’s Syndrome and in order to help this child fully participate Jasmine learned ways for the child to be comfortable, feel ok, and for everyone to be able to do the activities together. Jasmine is in her third year of Education at the University of Regina with a major in Physical and minor in Outdoor Education while completing a Certificate of Extended Studies in Inclusive Education.
As part of her Kin 120 Rec – Persons with Disabilities class, which is taught by Astonished! Executive Director Bonnie Cummings-Vickaryous, Jasmine learned about Astonished! In addition to her assigned work in a practicum group creating a five-week activity program for older years students, Jasmine decided to volunteer with Astonished! She is a volunteer at A! Social Club events and in Yoga for Every Body. Jasmine says she is learning how much everyone can do if given the opportunity.
Hallie’s summer work as assistant manager at the Rocanville Aquatic Center was what first lead her to the Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Studies at the University of Regina. Now in her second year, Hallie is finding the program a good match for her interests. Hallie is doing her junior practicum (90 hours) as an assistant in planning with Astonished! Her focus has been preparing for the A! Walk and Roll that will take place on December 1st.
Hallie has been researching and seeking potential sponsorships for the Walk and Roll, writing grant proposals, and doing the background work of organizing and preparing for the event. She loved working with the Canva software to create a beautiful sponsorship package, has come to understand some of the challenges of timing and fundraising for an event like this, and is excited to know that not-for-profit organizations like Astonished! are potential employers for her skills.
We have been delighted to have Hallie on the team. Some of our volunteers like Hallie are busy working behind the scenes and may not be as familiar to the rest of the Astonished! community. If you are at the Walk and Roll on December 1st check out the banners, the team bibs, the sign in process, and our sponsors, you will see Hallie’s hand at work.
“May I sit and eat with you”? Kathryn Derenisky asks rather than assumes. Freedom of choice and using language that offers choice is both a natural and learned skill for Kathryn. Kathryn has been a camp counsellor at Camp Easter Seal and attributes some of her understanding of the importance of choice to her training as a camp counsellor. It is now second nature for her. Kathryn is in her second year of Education with a major in Social Studies and a minor in English and Inclusive Education. She also works as a substitute Educational Assistant in the Regina Public School system and is co-president of the University’s Best Buddies Chapter.
This semester Kathryn is volunteering with Astonished! by assisting Student Researcher Kennen Dorgan expand her literacy skills. Together they identify the sounds of words and Kennen types them on a keyboard. Kathryn is also a member of the A! Leadership Team, helping to plan and carry out monthly Social Club events for and with A! Core Members.
Kathryn says Astonished! offers people more opportunity to open up and express yourself, discover your personal interests and skills, and move toward your goals. Kathryn sums up her approach to life with these words, “Discrimination bugs me, difference makes us stronger”.
Thank you to all of our volunteers and practicum students, past and present, and those we have yet to meet. Together we are making a difference.
Jordan Macdonald is a fourth year Social Work student at the University of Regina. Jordan is currently doing his mini practicum with Astonished! When Jordan began his practicum, he noticed his awkwardness, coming in as a new person in an established group, but now he is loving his placement, the laid-back atmosphere and the feeling of hanging out with friends. Jordan’s experience of being one of five brothers and one sister in a blended family helps him adapt and find his place in new situations.
The primary focus of Jordan’s mini practicum is supporting Student Researchers in the VOICE Lab. He has been teaming with A! Student Researcher Kelsey Culbert to develop some new episodes for her podcast ‘Less Inspiration More Conversation’. For a better understanding of the focus of Kelsey’s podcast, take a listen to the first episode that Kelsey created with Chelsey Temple Jones: Less Inspiration More Conversation . We look forward to hearing the episodes that Kelsey is creating with Jordan.
When Jordan is not in the VOICE Lab he is part of the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Centre in the classroom, the yoga studio, the coffee shop, and The Owl. Welcome Jordan, it is great to have you on the A! team this semester.
PHOTO: Jordan Macdonald, Kelsey Culbert, Melissa Turbuck
Diving into the deep end of the pool requires confidence, skill, knowledge, and a willingness to learn. Melissa Turbuck has been displaying all of this as she takes on the role of Program Coordinator at Astonished! She says finding a balance between planning and establishing relationships with Core Members, families, volunteers, and others in the A! community is the constant challenge, but she is loving every minute of it.
Melissa is a graduate of the Faculty of Social Work program at the University of Regina. She grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, but moved to South Africa in 2013 while waiting for her husband’s immigration process so he could come to Canada. They have been living in Regina since 2015.
Melissa’s previous experience in the disAbility community includes working as an Educational Assistant in Fort Qu’Appelle, as a counselor at the Summer Program for Special Children, volunteering at Queensburgh Cheshire Home in South Africa, and completing a major practicum at Creative Options Regina. Through these organizations she has gained knowledge and experience in a culture of person-centeredness and continues to be a lifelong learner.
Some of the things she enjoys doing are playing and watching sports, spending time with her family and friends, traveling, watching movies, and spending her summers in Waskesiu. We are delighted that Melissa has joined our Astonished! team.
PHOTO: Rebekah, Melissa, Tanya, Kennen
Being up close to the sounds of a T-rex and feeling the ground shake as it moves can be fun and a little scary. The Astonished! Social Club recently checked out the new T-Rex exhibit at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Crystal McLaughlin created a quiz based on the museum exhibits and the group explored the dioramas looking for answers to the questions. When you are in a wheelchair some of the exhibits, like the wolves and ravens, are at eye level with you. Ashley Lafaver laughed out loud when she encountered the wolves and enjoyed being up close to them. The Astonished! Social Club is a monthly recreation, leisure, or social gathering for Core Members, families, and friends. Check out our Events Calendar for upcoming events. Thank you to the City of Regina for a Social Development Grant – Annual Activity to partially support the work of the Astonished! Social Club.
Tuesday evenings, during Astonished! Summer Literacy, students have the option of participating in events that explore various aspects of literacy, for example, cultural literacy. On Tuesday July 16th Kevin Ma taught participants how to make sushi, write some words in Chinese, and sample food that was new to many of the group. The evening was called Asian Fusion. There was lots of laughter, questions, and delight as we tried the different sushi rolls. Thank you, Kevin, for sharing your knowledge and skills with us. Thank you also to the Conexus Community Investment Program for their support of the Astonished! Summer Literacy Program. To see photos from the evening click here….
PHOTO: Katherine Taylor, Sean Davis, Pagan Racette, Maggie Taylor
What could be better than bringing together friends, farm, and food on a beautiful June afternoon? Rebekah Lindenbach, her mom Joy, and Rebekah’s extended family generously host this annual event for the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Center. Each year we learn something new about their ever-changing dairy and grain farm. There have been many changes over the past seven years, but some things are constant year-to-year; the warmth of the community, the excitement at being on a working farm, the delicious taste of warm cinnamon buns, and the way everyone takes to the baby calves. Thank you, Rebekah, Joy, and your Broyhill family for hosting us once again. To see photos of our day click here.
PHOTO: Zirka Petrowsky, Joy Lindenbach, Rebekah Lindenbach
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