Emma and Sean

New Paths in a Pandemic

The past six months have been times of challenge, worry, change, and finding new ways for everyone. This is especially true for us at Astonished! Many Core Members have been at home not been able to go to work, some have changed where they live, have missed summer camp, have not been able to be with friends in ways that are familiar to them, and some have been isolated from family because of the protocol for their housing. It has not been easy, but we are so impressed with the way the Astonished! staff, Core Members, board, volunteers, and families have worked to create new ways of being together. The photo above of Emma and Sean is a great example of these new ways – outdoors, physical distanced, together

Emma Hancock

Great big THANK YOU to Emma Hancock for the verve she brought to her Kinesiology major practicum with Astonished! Emma we wish you all the best in your next endeavours. This is Emma’s reflection on her experience:
Over the final semester of my Kinesiology degree, I had the amazing opportunity to work with the people of Astonished! By far, my favourite experiences were those when I got to know Core Members by spending time with them, whether that be virtually in program, or through physically distanced walks and visits. I also had the opportunity to implement my special project, a four-part cultural series, including a virtual tour of Mosaic: Festival of Cultures. There were so many opportunities for me to get out of my comfort zone and improve my confidence in leading, such as the Summer Literacy program! Learning about the person-centred philosophy has changed my outlook on various aspects of my life, and how I interact with others. I will be forever grateful for getting to work with Astonished!’s incredible staff, and Core Members. 
Kennen & Dean
Kennen & Dean
A!TLC on Zoom
Rebekah & Donna
Rebekah & Donna

A!TLC & PATH Showcase

This is sampling of how the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Centre adapted to a virtual setting. The Student Researchers and staff recorded a soundscape/audio piece about how Astonished! gatherings have changed during the pandemic. They recreated sounds of a coffee time at Henderson Café and their virtual coffee time on Zoom then put it into a soundscape. They moved Zoom outside the limits of a meeting box with wild games of Pictionary which involved lots of guessing and laughing. They participated in a live Zoom Concert sing-along with Helen Pridmore from the Voice Lab, and joined in to hear the band the East Pointers, from Prince Edward Island, and their musical friends, read Anne of Green Gables.  

Twice a year in A!TLC, the Student Researchers have an opportunity to present the work and the goals they have accomplished, and share interests that they have explored. For the first time ever, the showcase took place via Zoom

Astonished! is fundraising through the SARCAN Drop & Go. You get to support Astonished! by following the three steps listed on the poster, and a bonus is the Drop & Go line is not as long as the other line!

Summer Literacy

The A! Summer Literacy was different this year because it was virtual, yet we found new ways to be creative and connected. We were busy reading the book Holes and learning apps such as Phonto Meme generator, Thisissand, Tiktok, and Snapseed.

We had the pleasure of having Chancz Perry, an interdisciplinary and multitalented local artist, join Summer Literacy to focus on mental health and coping during COVID-19. We explored self-care and well-being and we left the workshop refreshed and empowered.

On Tuesday evenings at A! Summer Literacy we explored creative virtual tours and crafts. For example, we created masks, had a blast at a live concert with Dr. Helen Pridmore from The VOICE Lab, experienced the talent of the New Dance Horizons performances, and toured the fabulous MET. Thank-you to Mia Bell from the VOICE Lab for all the creativeness and expertise she brought to the Tuesday evenings in July

Bushra Burki

Big THANK YOU to Bushra Burki and Molly Yungmann for their 'thinking outside the box' leadership at Summer Literacy.
This is how Bushra introduced herself:
My name is Bushra Burki, and I am a Pakistani Muslim woman. I came to Canada when I was  two or three, which means I’ve been in Canada for practically my whole life. Most people would describe me as empathetic, patient, and thoughtful. I study at the University of Regina, under the Faculty of Education. I love studying education and playing around with different lesson plans to suit the needs and learning abilities of my students. I also like to be creative, and I have a wild imagination. My favourite books are The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, The Girl Who Could Fly, and Anne of Green Gables. I love to read poems and novels, so I am super excited for this year’s Summer Literacy!

Molly Yungmann

Big THANK YOU to Molly Yungmann and Bushra Burki for their 'thinking outside the box' leadership at Summer Literacy

This is how Molly introduced herself:
My name is Molly Yungmann. I was born in Humboldt, SK and grew up on a farm! I just finished my fourth year of the secondary education program at the U of R. I am a math major and an inclusive education minor. I have been involved with Astonished for 3 years and am really excited to be a part of the Summer Literacy Program. I love being active, and am on the Cougars track and field team. Other things I enjoy include camping, and spending time with friends!

Working with Mia before the pandemic
find on podcast apps

Mia Bell

When the pandemic prevented Mia Bell from leading in-person art sessions for people with disabilities, she decided a podcast would be the perfect platform to showcase local artwork and open up the conversation around the intersection of art and disability.

Bell is a masters student in the University of Regina’s Media, Arts and Performance Faculty and is also the Mitacs intern at VOICE Lab — a studio space at the U of R where people with disabilities can express themselves through art with the support of people and technology. VOICE Lab is a partnership between the U of R’s Faculty of Media, Arts and Performance, the Faculty of Social Work and local non-profit Astonished! Inc. (by Lynn Giesbrecht, Regina Leader Post Aug 19, 2020).
To read more.....

A! Social Club

What does a monthly Social Club look like when it is virtual? With the right leadership it is wonderfully creative. Escape rooms, movie nights, summer camp, were all part of the recent Social Club gatherings. Before each event A! staff delivered event bags to participants. For example, the Astonished! July Social Club Event involved a virtual Camp Night. Due to COVID-19 many of the A! Core Members summer camp plans for Camp Easter Seal were canceled. Camp is a much-loved week every year, so we decided to bring a camp inspired night to everyone's homes. We had fun going on a Canada inspired scavenger hunt, a question game with dice, star gazing, campfire with scary stories and songs, and complete with a smores treat! 

Thank-you to the City of Regina | Municipal Government for the Social Development Grant which partially funds our monthly Astonished! Social Club event!

Social club events are organized by the A! Leadership Team. We are currently recruiting two members for the team. You can check out the job opportunity details here

Sizzling Beef and BBQ Raffle

Thank you to Broyhill Holsteins for their generous contribution of the Sizzling Beef and BBQ raffle. The raffle draw was made on July 31, 2020. Congratulations to the winner, Todd Robbins.

Landon and Mel

Melissa Turbuck

Program Coordinator Melissa Turbuck, aka Mel, has been with Astonished! for one year, and what a year it has been! Thank you, Mel, for being such a quick study. With your responsive and creative ideas Astonished! has flourished in a challenging time. This is Mel's reflection on life during the pandemic:
Covid Update: When the pandemic first hit here in mid-March I know there were a lot of unknowns and uncertainties about how to implement Astonished! programs virtually. The busyness of life as we all knew it came to a halt and allowed us the opportunity to learn how to deliver everything virtually. It definitely has not been an easy task for me personally as I prefer in-person connections, but I am thankful that we have technological platforms to allow Astonished! programs to still be delivered and keep us all connected!     

 I would like to acknowledge that without the support of our fearless Executive Director and Astonished! staff; The Astonished! Board of Directors; The VOICE Lab; Astonished! families, friends, volunteers, and placement students; Core Members and the greater community we could not have done it without all of you and it truly shows that we are #bettertogether! 

AGM 2020

Our 2019-2020 AGM took place on June 23, 2020. In keeping with the COVID -19 protocols it took place via Zoom Conferencing. Thank you to the Board of Directors for all your work guiding this organization, and a special thank you to Karen Clark who has completed six years on the board.

We hope you will take time to read our Annual Report to get a sense of the work of Astonished! in 2019-2020.

Ruth & Rebekah

Yoga For Every Body

Even yogis need treats, especially when they are adapting their practice from the studio to Zoom. Ruth Blaser and Rebekah Lindenbach led virtual yoga once a week. Their invitation was, ‘do you want to quiet your mind and body, and hang out with friends virtually? Come join us at Yoga for Every Body’. Thank you Ruth and Rebekah.

Your donations contribute to the vitality of this innovative expression
of social inclusion. 
Thank You.
We are indeed Better Together!
Elisa & Landon
Elisa & Kaitlyn

Elisa Wong

Elisa Wong has been the A! Interim Manager for nine months and what a whirl wind nine months it has been! Thank you, Elisa, for bringing your calm personality, dry humour, and multi-tasking skills to Astonished! during these challenging times. In September Elisa will be balancing her Interim Manager role on a part-time basis while she begins a full-time Education degree at the University of Regina. We are not sure balancing is the right word! We are grateful to have Elisa with us and wish her the best in what is ahead. This is Elisa’s reflection on work during the pandemic:
It has been a big learning opportunity for me taking on the role as Interim Manager prior to the pandemic. Since the pandemic, it has provided me with more learning opportunities, especially experiencing the adaptation of everything being virtually such as programs, fundraisers, meetings, etc. Working at A! during this time of uncertainty due to the pandemic has been teaching me a lot. 

Walk and Roll 2020

In harmony with the UN International Day of Disabilities, Astonished! is hosting its 6th Annual Walk & Roll, a family-friendly pledge event that aims to raise funds to support the work of Astonished! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the physical distancing measures in place, this year's Walk and Roll will be a virtual event and will take place over a nine-week period beginning October 1st and ending December 3rd. Registration opens September 14, 2020. To register a team or learn more about this event please email Elisa Wong or by phone or text at 306-737-6805. 
Pagan & Paige

Brenda Rossow Kimball - Chair of the Board

On behalf of the board of connectors, I would like to share our warm appreciation for Elisa, Mel, the student researchers, core members, families and supporters associated with this organization. Despite the uncertainty that has arisen due to the pandemic, we have proven - once again - that we are all better together, even at a distance! Thanks for your commitment, initiative, and creativity that has enabled Astonished! to continue to be an excellent example of inclusive community. We are particularly thankful to our donors and supporters who have taken the opportunity and extra time to financially contribute to Astonished! when our major fundraisers were cancelled due to COVID-19. Watch for more way to connect and contribute in the future! 
University of Regina 3737 Wascana Parkway | Regina, SK | S4S 0A2 CA
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