Strengths Perspective

Thanks to Dr. Brenda Rossow-Kimball for grounding her research on Strengths Perspectives in the life and work of the Astonished! community.
The strengths perspective suggests that when facing adversity, we ought to put the lens of focus on “what people want their lives to be like, and what resources and strengths they have or need to get there” (Saleebey, 2006, p. 12). To read more…….

University of Regina Volunteers

One of the amazing benefits of being situated at the University of Regina is the opportunity to team with university students from various faculties. We are happy to introduce our fall 2017 volunteers.
Brittany Rousseaux

Brittany Rousseaux

Number 16 on the University of Regina Cougars volleyball team, is a woman who likes a challenge. Hailing from Wymark, Saskatchewan, this graduate from Swift Current Comprehensive High School is in her first-year studies in the Faculty of Nursing, a team player on the U of R volleyball team, and a volunteer with Astonished! Her volunteer role is part of her Clinical Nursing 100 class and Brittany is focusing on communication and collaboration with people with complex physical disAbilities. Brittany had this to say about her volunteer experience with A! “In a new situation it can be a challenge to put myself out there, but everyone at Astonished! was so approachable, and I am learning new skills to communicate with people who use other ways than speech to communicate.”
Her motto is, “I am always trying to learn more, you can never stop growing”. 
Parker Florell

Parker Florell

aka ‘Cowboy Man’ was not thinking of the University of Regina when he was competing for Mackenzie Secondary School (BC) in wrestling at Nationals in 2014. But University of Regina wrestling coach Leo McGee, was thinking of Parker. Parker is now in his third year of Sports and Recreation Management in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, and a member of the wrestling team at the U of R. As part of his Sports and Recreation Management junior practicum Parker chose to work with Astonished! Parker has participated in sports all his life and he chose the practicum placement with Astonished! because he thought it would be a new experience for him. He is working with A! Executive Director, Bonnie Cummings-Vickaryous, on the A! Walk and Roll. Parker says ‘Bonnie is great at teaching me how to be more concise in my writing, plus developing organizational skills. I see the benefit of this in all areas of my life.’ Parker is also working with A! Student Researcher Sean Davis to support Sean in his goals. Parker says, ‘I am learning a lot about accessibility and barriers to accessibility, and I am also learning a lot about communication, especially listening.’ Parker says if you are looking for him he is easy to find, ‘I am the big guy with the cowboy hat, it makes me different, and I like that.’ To learn how he acquired the name ‘Cowboy Man’, check out the article about Sean’s bus travel in this newsletter.  
Emily and Jamie Schnell
(Yes, they are twins)

Emily Schnell

Have you tried Snapchat? Emily Schnell and some of the Astonished! Student Researchers are having fun getting to know each other through this Social Media app. Emily is a first-year University of Regina nursing student, from Ituna, SK. Emily is finding the first-year nursing program demanding but not as hard as she anticipated, and she hopes to become a paediatric nurse.
As part of her community service learning in her Clinical Nursing class Emily is volunteering with Astonished! She hangs out with the Student Researchers and A! Social Club, and they are getting to know one another. Emily says because she is shy her biggest challenge is communication and starting conversations can be hard. Some of the A! Student Researchers and Core Members are also shy and like to initially observe before engaging. Snapchat seems to be a fun way to get to know someone while giving them space. Emily says, ‘The Student Researchers and Core Members have a lot of knowledge and experience to offer us, and sometimes their expertise and abilities can be underestimated.’

Kelly Schnurr

Kelly Schnurr

completed a degree in International Studies from the University of Regina in 2015. His work with people with varying disAbilities, plus his passion to reduce the stigmas associated with mental health, led him back to school to learn more. Kelly is currently completing prerequisite courses for a degree in Social Work. For Kelly and Astonished! Student Researcher, Landon Sawden, what began as a volunteer relationship has become a friendship. In September Landon started taking courses toward a degree. Landon and Kelly are in the same Psychology 101 class and they have lots of opportunity to reflect on their learning experience. Kelly  pays attention to what is going on inside and outside of himself, and brings his abilities to self-reflect to this friendship and to life. It will be a skill that will serve him well in his future as a social worker. Kelly says “I love to listen and am a very approachable person, but because I am shy I may not come across this way at first. I am really comfortable when I know someone. It is great to be able to make a difference in Landon’s life as a friend and as a volunteer.”
Molly Yungman

Molly Yungman

is in her second year of Education at the University of Regina, majoring in Math, and minoring in Inclusive Education. As a pentathlon athlete for the U of R Track and Field team, Molly displays a combination of flexibility and focus that serves her well on the track and in her life. In her first year Kinesiology 120 class Molly was paired with a student with a disAbility. This relationship changed the focus of Molly’s education, and she switched her minor to Inclusive Education.
At Astonished! Molly volunteers with A! Student Researcher, Landon Sawden. Together they are working on Landon’s Strengths, Dreams, and Needs. Molly says, “My time with Landon is the highlight of my week, I am always learning something new from him. For example, we were going to go to an evening movie, but Paratransit does not pick-up after 10:00 PM. We were going to explore the Tunnels of Moose Jaw but only one tunnel is wheelchair accessible and it would require Landon to transfer from his power chair to a manual chair.” What started out as a volunteer role has become a true friendship for Molly and Landon
Will Whitten

Will Whitten

would likely be a good juggler, he juggles a lot in his life. Will is in his third year of Arts Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina, his wife is a school teacher, they have a daughter who is three and a son who is nine and a half months, he teaches art to young people at Paper Crane Community Arts Centre, and he volunteers with Astonished! as part of his ECS 200 course.
This is the ECS 200 course description: The child, adolescent, adult, student, learner and school are all social constructions: beliefs about people and public institutions which have varied through history, and which are still influenced by a range of theories and perspectives. This course critically examines those constructions over time.
At Astonished! Will is enjoying learning about everyone as individuals, who they are, what they like to do, how they communicate, what barriers to accessibility they face. He has a new appreciation for table heights, door widths, and power doors. After he graduates Will is looking forward to making his contribution to creating an inclusive environment in a diverse community.

Kaitlyn and Kennen

City of Regina Low-Floor Buses

In October, A! Student Researchers Kennen Dorgan, Kaitlyn Hoar, and Sean Davis took their first rides on City of Regina public buses. To learn more about their experience, their travel tips, and the City of Regina low-floor buses click here........

Alix, Sean, Parker
Parker, Alix, Sean
Grow Gratitude 2017

Grow Gratitude is the Astonished! annual Fall Fundraising Campaign to expresses both gratitude and commitment! Thank you to eveyone who has already donated to the campaign and shared their gratitude stories. Thanks to you we are at 49% of our goalThe campaign is open until December 31st, check here for details......

Walk and Roll 2016

Walk and Roll 2017

To mark the United Nations International Day of Persons with DisAbilities, Astonished! is hosting our Third Annual Walk and Roll, December 3rd, 2017. This year a record number of teams (21) have registered for the Walk and Roll. Teams have come up with some very creative ways to meet their fundraising goals. For example, Landon Sawden has agreed to shave his hair if his team, Not Fast Just Furious, reaches their goal of raising $500. Click here to check out the teams and offer your support.
Please RSVP to
Ashley, Megan, and Amanda

A! Dance Project

We celebrated the last A! Dance Project of the year – Halloween Edition! With instruction from the fabulous MacKenzie Drumm, we found our own rhythms, channeled our inner Halloween spirits, and danced to some spooky tunes. Sean Davis was awarded the prize for the best Spooky Spirit. Thank you to the Community Initiatives Fund for their generous support of the A! Dance Project. To see more photos ....

Thank You 

 to the Community Initiatives Fund for their support of the Astonished! Dance Project and the A! Social ClubThe funds from CIF cover partial costs related to program supplies and wages.
Alix Norum and Landon Sawden

Landon Sawden

is the newest A! Student Researcher
Landon recently met with his Strengths, Dreams, and Needs group and identified two big goals: 1-To move out of his family home into age appropriate housing that supports his specific needs. 2- To succeed as a degree student at the University of Regina. To read more of Landon's story......

Thank You
to the
South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

For over 45 years the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation has helped good people do wonderful things! A grant, from the G. Murray and Edna Forbes Foundation Fund at the SSCF, supported Astonished! programs from December 2016-November 2017. We are grateful for this support and the meaningful social inclusion that happened as a result of this grant. The South Saskatchewan Community Foundation is a public foundation serving the people of South Saskatchewan. The foundation builds permanently endowed charitable funds for the changing need and opportunities of the community and provides grants to eligible charitable organizations in culture, health, education, environment, recreation and social service sectors.

Save the Date

We are already organizing for the A! Spring Gala 2018; the delicious food choices, the unique silent auction items, the design, the band, our sponsors, BUT all you have to do is save the date. Saturday March 10, 2018. To whet your appetite you can check out our 2017 Gala page

A! Social Club

One of the important things about the Astonished! Social Club is the opportunity to be together in unique and interesting ways. The A! Social Club has one or two events per month for the Astonished Core Members and friends. In October they met at Cathedral Social Hall for an evening of food, drinks, and fun. In November they will be cheering on the University of Regina men’s Cougar Hockey team.

The work of Astonished! is funded through generous donors like you.  Thank you for making this vital work of social incusion possible.

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