Career Opportunity

Astonished! Inc has a full time position for a Program Coordinator, effective January 4, 2016

The Astonished! Program Coordinator is responsible for the development, promotion, coordination, implementation and evaluation of programs for Core Members and for the recruitment and management of program staff, placements students, and volunteers. The Program Coordinator works with and reports to the Executive Director.

Salary range $53,000 – $60,050

Applications must be received by November 30, 2015

Please click here to see a complete job description and application details.

Gratitude for Ella McIntyre

Ella McIntyre was our first employee and has been the Astonished! Program Coordinator for three plus years. It is with sadness we announce that Ella will be moving to the west coast in February 2016. It has been wonderful to have Ella help us grow the Astonished! base, and expand and deepen individual and community relationships, while increasing the confidence and capacities of Astonished!  We would not be where we are without the gifts she has offered us over the past three years. THANK YOU ELLA!

Ruth Blaser, Past Chair of Astonished! wrote this about Ella: Ella has a knack for creating cool relationships and innovative programming with and for A! Core Members and Student Researchers with lots of pop culture thrown in. Ella always brings her own unique creative flair to any task, be it designing literacy curriculum, introducing technology to A! Student Researchers, doing the graphic design for individual’s PATHs, or collaborating on innovative events like the A! Dance Project.

In her resignation letter to the Board Ella wrote: This job has been one in a million and I could not have asked for a better and more rewarding experience. The caring and support from the Astonished community is incredible, unparalleled, and an honour to have been a part of. I will  always celebrate my time with Astonished and will keep in touch and continue to follow the amazing and meaningful work that is being done. THANK YOU

Ella will be with us until January 15, 2016. Then, Ella and her husband, Ben Matheson, and their dog Bea will be moving to New Westminister, BC. Ben is taking his chiropractic skills to a medical clinic in Surrey, BC. He is also taking his bar tending skills which will be missed at many A! fundraising events.

Ella we wish you a world of adventure, a community of friends, and meaningful work. Remember wherever you go, our love goes with you.

Five Year Memorandum of Understanding

I believe that Universities should not reflect the society we live in.  They should reflect the society we WANT to live in.” This is how Dr. Vianne Timmons began her address to the community gathered at the University of Regina (U of R) on June 2, 2015 to celebrate the signing of a five year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U of R and Astonished! Inc.

It was wonderful to share this significant occasion with U of R faculty, administrators, and staff; Astonished! Core Members, Board Members, staff, and the wider community.

The MOU, which will carry us to April 30, 2020 states that the U of R and Astonished! Inc. are committed to exploring a number of areas of common interest and benefit, and will use their best efforts to encourage contact and co-operation in these areas (MOU). This is our third MOU with the University of Regina.

Speaking on behalf of Astonished!, Ruth Blaser, former Board Chair said “We are delighted to be celebrating this partnership between Astonished! and the U of R. Any sturdy partnership creates mutual benefits as well as challenges. Here are some early benefits and differences we are beginning to witness:

Astonished! Core-Members have more opportunities to make choices about being involved in meaningful and inclusive activities related to education, employment and self discovery.

The A! TLC, Social Club and Jake Sawa Dance Project are contributing to improved physical and mental health of Astonished! Core Members and U of R Student Volunteers.

We are seeing increased self-determination and social skills and more confidence among and between Core Members and U of R Student Volunteers.

Currently there are two (2) Applied Research projects which are contributing to the body of knowledge related to social inclusion.We are seeing more capacity among University of Regina Student Volunteers and Faculty in working and interacting in meaningful ways, both personally and professionally, with Core Members.

This partnership between the University of Regina and Astonished! Inc. reflects the society we WANT to live in. To read more…..

Photo credit: Trevor Hopkin, U of R

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.


The Next Chapter Book Club Facilitators, Morgan Campbell, Courtney Keith, Ashelee Longmore, Ella McIntyre, Janelle Thompson and Lindsay Torrie accept the Circle of Friends Award a the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards gala. (Photo: CTV)

Congratulations to Ella McIntyre, A! program staff, for recognition of her volunteer work with the Regina and District Association for Community Living Next Chapter Book Club. Ella is one of six women, book club facilitators, who received the YWCA Women of Distinction award in the Circle of Friends category. To read more

Summer Student Position

Do you love people, technology, literacy, and learning? This could be the summer job for you. This is the third year for the Astonished Summer Literacy program and we are proud of the knowledge and skills we have developed together. The summer literacy program is designed to meet the specific  strengths, dreams, and needs of the Core Members who participate in the program.

Astonished! is currently looking for a summer student to work with the Astonished! Program Coordinator to plan, implement, and evaluate our summer literacy program. This literacy program is open to all Astonished! Core Members and participation is limited to approximately 8 Core Members.  The summer position would start the week of June 1st and would conclude the last week of August. Click here for job description and application. All applications due by April 24, 2015

Teaching About Technology

December 3rd is the United Nations International Day of Persons with DisAbilities. This year the theme is Workplace Accommodation, Assistive Technology, and Accessible Transport.

A! Student Researcher Kelsey Culbert and University of Regina Kinesiology students; Alicia Gurr, Andi Taylor, and Katherine Michaluk have been teaming together to educate themselves and others about assistive technology and accessible transport.

In November they presented their information to students at Riffel High School and Campbell Collegiate. Kelsey shared her stories about how she uses technology. For example she uses  Dragon Dictate to compose messages and presentations, and has adapted her cell phone to function as a remote control for her television. It was a great way to inspire others about creative uses of assistive technology, to learn how students are currently using technology, and to identify technology they would like to see developed.

Kelsey wants to develop a phone app for Paratransit users:

I would make a Paratransit App to make it more convenient for someone to book a bus, to be able to find out where their bus is, and to add information and comments to their own client files.

Thanks Kelsey, Alicia, Andi, and Katherine for your great work!

2014 A! Holiday Feast

Fifty pounds of potatoes, perogies, cabbage rolls, turkey, ham, salads, carrots, peas, punch, hot chocloate, and beautiful short bread cookies. Yumm! We had such a wonderful time at the Astonished! Holiday Feast. Core Members, volunteers, family, friends, and staff had a great start to the holiday season. Thank you to the Board of Connectors and the Astonished! Leadership Team for preparing the food for this great party. We send our holiday greetings to everyone.