Brian, Rebekah, and Joy Lindenbach

Remember Maslow (or perhaps this is your first encounter with him)? 40 years ago, when I took my nursing degree, we had a class in Human Psychology which taught Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. For some reason, that class stands out in my memories and over the years I frequently thought about this theory. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory of human motivation and was extended to include observations of humans’ innate curiosity.

Life can be very busy just meeting our  physiological and safety needs. We need air, water, food and metabolic requirements for survival, along with clothing, shelter, personal and financial security and adequate health and well-being. But we all know there is more to life than these basics. Life is richer as we experience and offer love. Life is richer when we offer and experience belonging in our homes and in society. Maslow’s theory suggests that the hierarchies of needs are interrelated, rather than sharply separated, and human needs extend from sustenance to group membership and justice.

We will be celebrating Rebekah’s 25th birthday this summer! As we reflect on the passing of a quarter of a century, we are so grateful to the community of Astonished! Rebekah, her peers/core members, student researchers, staff, family, volunteers, and friends of Astonished! have had and continue to experience an opportunity to know love, belonging, and self-actualization . What a gift! The Big Sky Center for Learning and Being Astonished! has and continues to change all our lives, it’s quite the ‘ride’! We want to extend your HEARTFELT THANK YOU to EVERYONE who supports Astonished! in all the numerous ways. We are better together! (Joy Lindenbach for Joy, Brian, and Rebekah).

THANK YOU Joy, Brian, and Rebekah

83% of our annual budget comes from individual donations.

Joy and Brian donate monthly through our pre-authorized debit donor option.
Rebekah makes a cash donation twice a year.
To learn more about our donor options……..

Linda Stumpf

I was introduced to Astonished! initially through my friend Sue Bland’s blog. She had been doing some work with one of the researchers and Kennen Dorgan’s picture appeared on her blog. I had known Kennen and her family when I lived in Grenfell so I was very interested in her connection with Astonished! I did a little research myself and was indeed astonished by the dreams and possibilities of this determined group of people! When I last saw Kennen she had graduated from high school and was looking forward to moving on as her sisters had done. The question was “to what?” She seems to have found an answer to this question! The work of Astonished! continues to enable her to discover and pursue her goals. As a former educator I am encouraged by the good work I see happening here and want to support it for Kennen and the other amazing people at Astonished!

Susan Sorensen

Edges and horizons have always fascinated me, lines that divide and lines that define. I live near the edge of the Astonished community. Long time friends have been midwives of this amazing vision. I listen from afar, and occasionally visit to receive stories of the struggles, the joys, the spirit and energy of this movement.

The Big Sky Centre for Learning and Being Astonished! How I love this name. Born from fierce love and passionate justice-making, Astonished continues to inspire awe and wonder. With a deep desire to create life-giving community, work and play for adult young people with complex physical disAbilities, this inclusive community is flourishing. It is enabling edges and horizons to shift and move and dance. The spirit shines in the photos on the website, the blogs, the stories online. It is abundantly clear that “dreams are being dreamed, strengths are being explored and the young adults with complex physical disAbilities are leading us all to a more authentically inclusive society”.

In the being/ the faces of all involved, but especially those of the core members, there is such an expression of groundedness and purpose. It is such a basic human need to know our place, to take our place and be affirmed in it. This is happening! And everyone who has been touched by Astonished is being encouraged to push edges, expand horizons and go further and deeper than we could ever have imagined.

This is why I have been a supporter of Astonished and will continue to be a cheerleader of this beautiful community.

Sue Bland

There are a multitude of reasons I want to donate to Astonished!
Here are the first two that came to mind:
I worked at a school for a number of years with a diversity of children. I noticed how our culture excludes many groups of people for a variety of reasons – they are inconvenient, they don’t fit the mold, we haven’t taken the time to get to know them.
It occurred to me that many of those we marginalize have many rich gifts to offer us- in many cases getting to know these individuals better might just the medicine our culture needs. This is true of young adults with complex physical disAabilities and with many other groups as well. Inclusion enriches us all with wisdom and light we might not otherwise have.
One of my daughters has always hummed loudly when happy with the world and what she is up to. I know that she is humming because all is right with her world at that moment. Something like a cat purring. Astonished! gives many young adults opportunities to “hum” – to experience a sense of well-being, belonging and joy. I am inspired by the many people who work to make the Astonished dream a reality. Here’s to Astonished!

You can check out Sue Bland’s art and play shops at Poached Egg Woman

JBL Foundation

Mark Leier of the J. B. L Foundation has this to say about the contribution of the J.B. L. Foundation to The Big Sky Centre for Learning and Being Astonished Inc.:

As our motto is in honour of St. Jude, we felt Being Astonished is exactly what my father Joseph wanted when he established the J.B.L. Foundation Inc. in 1991.

It is clear this is a very important cause, touching the lives of many young adults that have the desire to be included in every day communities and live fulfilling lives. We wish you the best of luck.

Ross Mcnab

My reason for being a Donor is personal.

I’ve been inspired by the energy and devotion of Ruth and Brenda, and by the presence of Bekah, who rolls into Sunset United Church from time to time.

I was a human rights lawyer for the provincial government for twenty years, starting in the late eighties, before the word “inclusion” had the currency it has today. It was way back then that our Supreme Court issued its first Charter “equality” case, in which the Court said, among other things, that the accommodation of differences is the “essence of true equality”. This seems a truism now, but we should not forget how far we’ve come, nor how fragile progress can be.

Human rights often requires that we leave people alone. Just as often, it requires that we do something. Being Astonished is putting into action the recognition that we’re all enriched when we’re all included.