Holiday Feast 2018

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.

For more photos from the holiday feast……..

Meet Brenda-Rossow Kimball

Who is this?’ you might ask.

I am a woman. A mother. A wife. A teacher. A student. A friend. A professor. An adoptee. I am the daughter of hard-working farmers. I am tattooed. I am a self-identifying Indigenous woman. I am a writer. A storyteller.

So begins Brenda Rossow-Kimball, A! Board-Chair, in SKY Magazine: Living Well in Saskatchewan, Summer Issue 2016. To read ‘A Story of Acceptance’ click here.

As you browse the magazine you will also find an article about Astonished! by Bonnie Cummings-Vickaryous, A! Executive Director.

Thanks to Brenda, Bonnie, and Lynn Armstrong, SKY Magazine publisher.

Photo: Lynn Armstrong, Brenda-Rossow Kimball, Wilder Kimball
@ Tanys Rae Photography

Get On Board

It is our pleasure to welcome Alykhan (Al) Bhanji to the Astonished! Board of Directors, effective June 1, 2016.

Al Bhanji is a 4th year Bachelor of Economics student at the University of Regina and he hopes to pursue his Masters in the same field in the same institution after he graduates next year. He has been volunteering consistently with Astonished! and hopes to continue to do so for many more years to come.

He is also an executive member (budget & planning) of the Best Buddies University of Regina Chapter (2016-2017). Al also volunteers as a facilitator with the Next Chapter Book Club (Inclusion Regina).

His passion and inspiration for volunteering in inclusive programs can be accredited and attributed to his father, Karim who encouraged Al from a very young age to engage and volunteer in programs that promote inclusion and foster care for all individuals from all walks of life.

Ever since learning about his grandfather’s partial paralysis which led to his untimely departure, Al has always had an endearing attitude and progressive mindset towards individuals and programs that comprise of an inclusive environment.

When not volunteering or at school, Al enjoys watching and playing tennis. His favorite player on tour being Stan “The Man” Wawrinka. Al is also a proud business owner. His company, West Star Agricultural Ltd owns farmland all across Saskatchewan that has been leased to local farmers. He purchased his first quarter section of land when he was 19 years old. Al hopes to one day apply his experiences and teachings from Astonished! to enhance the spirit of inclusion in Kenya, where he was born.

Photo: Pagan Racette, Al Bhanji, Paige Racette

Moving Chairs … still the same old shoes

Ruth Blaser writes…..After six years in my role as Co-Chair and then Chair of the Astonished! Board of Connectors I am thrilled to announce that, as of the AGM 2015, Dr. Brenda Rossow-Kimball is our new Chair of the Astonished! Board.

I am moving to the position of Past-Chair (for one year) with responsibility for Donor Relations and Major Gifts.

I have been reading again, Lynn Twist’s book The Soul of Money. For more than 40 years, Lynne Twist has been a recognized global visionary committed to alleviating poverty and hunger and supporting social justice and environmental sustainability.

She says …

“I see fund-raising as Sacred Work. It is the privilege of facilitating the allocation of the world’s resources away from fear and toward that which we love. Philanthropy is not the accumulation of wealth, rather the word comes from the root meaning …. Love of human kind.”

Astonished! is about being and becoming inclusive community. It’s about creating opportunities based on people’s strengths, dreams and needs. It’s about self-determination, personalization and full citizenship. It’s about creating and sustaining organizations structures and governance that support planting these visions and core value in our lives, relationships and community, and more!

I am a lucky woman to be part of the Astonished! community, still with the same old shoes and now in a different chair.