Our Latest News
Check out what’s been going on in our world!
Check out what’s been going on in our world!
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
Chelsea Jones, MITACS Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Regina, and Katherine Taylor, Program Coordinator at Astonished! will be presenting at the Canadian Disability Studies Association (CDSA) Conference ‘Circles of Conversation’, June 1-3, 2019 in Vancouver. Their presentation Critical Community Reflections on “Giving Voice” in Research focuses on the process to date in the creation and use of the Voice Lab.
The Voice Lab is a studio space established in 2018 by a four-person research team. It opened in February, and currently hosts six core members. The name VOICE Lab is an acronym. It stands for Vocally Oriented Investigations of Creative Expression.
As Chelsea writes’ “I take up voice following the work of Meryl Alper (2017), who ties communication technology to digital equity and reminds us that voice “is an overused and imprecise metaphor—one that abstracts, obscures, and oversimplifies the human experience of disability” (p. 5). As such, I try make clear from the get-go that we not in the business of “giving voice.” And, to keep the work critical, we need to tease out the ways in which questions of “voice” and disability crop up at the intersections of class, race, and rurality among others. We also need to uphold “voice” as politically significant. Indigenous, critical race, and feminist scholars have cautioned against “giving voice” for some time.”
Thank you, Chelsea and Katherine, for representing us at this conference. We wish you all the best and look forward to the insights you will glean.
PHOTO: Katherine Taylor and Chelsea Jones
When Harry Potter went to Hogwarts, he got to really know himself and tapped into his inner strength and skills. He knew suffering and loss in his life. With the help of his parents and his friends, he found his way and his power. Perhaps these are some of the reasons Crystal McLaughlin feels such a kinship with Harry. Crystal is in her final semester of a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Regina (U of R). She began this process seven years ago, when her daughter was one. Crystal was working at the Regina Residential Resource Center and realized she wanted to be part of the positive changes in people’s lives.
These seven years have held love and loss and increased self awareness. Five years ago, Crystal met Darcy Ward. Two years ago, they married, and Crystal expanded her family of two to a family of five, including Darcy’s son and daughter. This past semester Crystal took a leave of absence from school because Darcy was seriously ill. Last month Darcy died of kidney failure. We offer our regards to Crystal and Darcy and their extended families.
With great losses like this we must each find our way to go on. This month Crystal began her major social work practicum with Astonished! Crystal says that this time with Astonished! is helping her carry on. Crystal loves to learn and she is learning about ways of communicating that do not involve speech. Crystal brings a unique vitality and self-awareness to the Astonished! community. During her studies at the U of R she learned that she has both attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety. She has found that music and dance help her stay focused and release tension.
Crystal has much to offer Astonished!, and Astonished! has much to offer Crystal, especially at this particular time in her life. We look forward to our time of learning and being together.
PHOTO: Crystal McLaughlin and Kennen Dorgan
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