When I first joined the Astonished! Team in December of 2012 I was in the middle of my Master of Science Degree in Kinesiology and Health Studies. I had completed all of my course work and recently proposed my research study which focused on organizational effectiveness in municipal recreation provision. Upon starting with Astonished! I quickly became immersed in ‘all things’ Astonished! and lost interest in my original thesis work (thank goodness).
In early November 2016, Astonished! Board Chair, Dr. Brenda Rossow-Kimball and I had the opportunity to travel to Tampa, Florida to share the work of Astonished! at the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport conference. Here we drew parallels between the work of Astonished! and the Strengths Perspective which demands a non-traditional way of working with people with disAbilities. Instead of focusing on medical diagnosis and deficits, the Strengths Perspective encourages seeing people “in the light of their capacities, talents, competencies, possibilities, visions, values and hopes” (Saleebey, 1996).
Attending the conference and reflecting on the work of Astonished! has awakened something inside of me. We do things differently at Astonished! – something I am confident that we are all proud of. In the coming months I will be reapplying to the Faculty of Graduate Studies with the intention of changing my research project. Under the supervision and mentorship of Dr. Brenda Rossow-Kimball I hope to engage in Narrative Inquiry to co-compose narratives of strength alongside adults experiencing complex physical disAbilities.
Bonnie Cummings-Vickaryous, A! Executive Director