Gifts and Gratitude

September to December, 2023, has been full of the gifts of new adventures and familiar occasions at The Big Sky Centre for Learning and Being Astonished! We are grateful for all these gifts and want to highlight some of them for you. We are grateful for all the ways you support the work of Astonished! and share the Astonished! story

Walk and Roll 2023

In harmony with the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Astonished! hosted our 9th annual Walk and Roll on December 1, 2023. The Walk and Roll is a family-friendly pledge event that raises funds to support the work of Astonished! Twenty-two teams and our sponsors amazed us with their support. We flew right past our goal of $25,000! We are leaping for joy. Thank you to all the team members and their supporters, to our sponsors, and our prize sponsors for your part in this wonderful event.
Kennen's Blister Sisters
The Boyz
Rebekah's Rascals

Walk and Roll Prize Sponsors

THANK YOU to our 2023 Walk and Roll Prize Sponsors

Welcome New Student Researchers

In September we were delighted to welcome two new A! Core Members as Student Researchers in the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Centre. We would like to introduce Jerome Olson and Dennis Burbee to you. 

Jerome Olson

This is Jerome with his 2023 Walk and Roll Team, Team Coca-Cola. Jerome is an avid sports fan. He has seasons tickets to the Riders (football) and the Pats (hockey). Jerome is also busy volunteering at various community events throughout the year. He enjoys concerts and music and spending time with family and friends. He is an enthusiastic recycler. Jerome enjoys woodwork projects, maintenance, errands, like grocery shopping and other shopping, and everything about Harley Davidsons.

Jerome dreams of continuing to volunteer in the community and finding a job. He says ‘Being apart of Astonished has allows me to be ‘ME’.

Dennis Burbee

This is Dennis at the Astonished! Summer Garden. Dennis writes: I enjoy concerts, especially when it is a new country artist, and when they are performing in a smaller venue, like the Casino Regina show lounge. I feel most comfortable and happy to listen and or sing along. I also love collecting CDs and movies for relaxing at home. I have a wide assortment of movies, they are about dogs and horses and the humans who love them. We’ve always had a dog at our house. I’m a sports junkie and my aunts and uncles often call me to find out any sports news or scores of the different teams in that season. They’re all impressed with my memory and use me as their encyclopedia. In addition to watching all these sports, I love to show my support for the teams by wearing team outfits and jerseys.  Finally, I must mention how fun it is to go out with the Astonished! Social Club even if it’s just for an iced coffee and iced cap, two of my favourite drinks.

I am happy to be a Student Researcher because I want to learn new things and how to do them in the easiest way for me with my limitations, or what I thought were limitations. Sometimes when I get told I can’t do something it makes me more determined to do it. It feels great to be going out again, especially with people that I can relate to, and perhaps our efforts and trials now may, in some small way, make it easier for others that are going to encounter these hurdles. I consider myself mostly a shy guy who is very sharp, witty, observant, and very eager to learn more. I have been very happy since joining A!TLC. The staff are great fun and make me feel so comfortable and just ordinary. It’s a great feeling to be around them. 

University of Regina Placement Students

Each semester we have University of Regina students join our team. It is a mutually beneficial opportunity to learn together. We are happy to introduce you to Bailey Balaberda, Nguyen Truc Huyen Le (Jerry), Sabrina Ali, and Shantel Hutton.

Thank you, Bailey, Jerry, Sabrina, and Shantel for your work with Astonished! We wish you well in your future endeavours.

Bailey Balaberda

I am a 4th year Kinesiology student completing my Junior practicum. I am from Regina and I am a member of the University of Regina women’s volleyball team.
This semester I have been working on the Walk and Roll fundraiser and have been in the ATLC program every Tuesday and Thursday. I have loved my experience working with Astonished! and hopefully will continue supporting and working with them! 

Nguyen Truc Huyen Le (Jerry)

Name: Nguyen Truc Huyen Le (Jerry)

Study: Sports and Recreation Management

Year: 1st year

I am from Vietnam, and I have studied highschool in Brisbane, Australia, for 4 years. I came to Regina on the July 12th, 2023.

Sabrina Ali

I am currently completing my 3rd year of Social Work and taking my mini practicum at Astonished! I graduated in 2013 with a degree in Justice Studies at the University of Regina and have worked in the field of corrections for many years, most recently working as a full-time Probation Officer. I was interested in completing my Social Work Degree as I believe Social Work teaches so many skills that can be practiced in various professional roles. When I am not working or studying, I love to travel, listen to music and spend time with friends and family.

I have been very lucky to be placed at Astonished and work with the amazing Core Members, staff, and volunteers. While placed at Astonished! I have been able to expand my knowledge of Social Work practices through remote learning, as well as gain an understanding of the strengths and person-centred approaches while also understanding the barriers Core Members face while accessing resources to fit their desired needs. I look forward to transferring the skills and knowledge I have gained in my future career as a Social Worker. 

Shantel Hutton

I am in the final year of my Bachelor of Social Work degree. I have a keen interest in mental health and previously completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology.

I have really enjoyed my time working with Astonished! the past few months. Astonished! has taught me a lot in my short time with them-- inclusivity and communication being major components. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to create friendships and work with Astonished!

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, hanging out with my dogs or watching reality TV. I also enjoy spending my summers at my family’s cottage at Katepwa Lake.

Amanda and Cass
Amanda and Mel

What's Your Style Dance

We had a fabulous time at What's Your Style?! Dance Night Halloween Style. Student Researcher, Cassandra Isaac lead us in a great evening of freestyle, solo performances, freeze dance, and lots of grooving!
September Social Club
October Social Club
November Social Club

Astonished! Social Club

WOW! We heard amazing music, had front row seats, and grooved to the rhythm at the November Social Club Event, 'Light Up the Darke' Concert! The September Social Club gathering saw us cheering at the Saskatchewan Roughriders Viewing Party. We celebrated in October with a ‘Is it Cake’ Halloween Party.

Thank You

We are thankful for our collaboration with the City of Regina. Astonished! receives funding from the City of Regina Social Development Grant -  to partially fund the Social Club.
In the letter accompanying the grant, the city wrote “Your program provides supportive, meaningful, and accessible social, recreational, and cultural activities to young adults with complex physical disabilities. The committee acknowledged that your program responds to a great need in community and aligns strongly to the City’s social development priorities.”

University of Regina Nursing Students

Thank you to the  Nursing students from the class CNUR 100 who worked with us this semester. Esther Adebayo, Kyle Huber, Lia Reynosa, Maria Sadikov, Pascalla Jacobson, Shogofa Bahrami.

Esther Abebayo

I am a first year nursing student at the University of Regina. My favourite hobbies are reading books, sleeping, and listening to music. I love food and shoes. That’s what I spend most of my money on. This year was my first year working with Astonished! and I absolutely loved every moment I spent with Core Members. I got to meet someone who loves shoes more than I do and it was fun talking to them. I am excited to work with Astonished! in the future and meet many more Core Members.

Lia Reynosa

I am a first-year nursing student at the University of Regina. From a young age, I have been drawn to the medical field, inspired by a deep-seated desire to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals and communities. I had the opportunity this semester to complete my community service at Astonished! It has been a defining experience in my academic and personal journey. Through my involvement in the Social Club and A!TLC programs, I had the privilege of engaging with the Core Members, forging meaningful relationships, and gaining profound insights into the lived experiences of individuals with complex physical disAbilities.

Maria Sadikov

My name is Maria, and my first placement as a first-year nursing student was at The Big Sky Centre for Learning and Being Astonished! Inc.

I have very much enjoyed my time at Astonished! Supporting and familiarizing myself with the program, Core Members, and feeling welcome by the staff and volunteers, has been a rewarding experience.

I look forward to staying in touch and contributing to such a fantastic program, an inclusive community of workers and Core Members.

Shogofa Bahrami

I am a first-year nursing student at the University of Regina. I grew up in Afghanistan and always had a passion for getting into the medical field. My hobbies are reading, baking in my free time, and spending time with my family. This semester, I had the opportunity to complete my community nursing class at Astonished! I was able to attend the Social Club and A!TLC programs and develop meaningful relationships with the Core Members.

Krissy and Shantel
Jerry, Ester, Amanda, Cass, Shantel
Nile,Anna, Oaklynn, Amanda Megan, Corne, Haley, Paige

Astonished! Holiday Feast

The Annual Astonished! Holiday Feast, held on December 9, 2023, was an opportunity to sample great food and connect with friends and family. Thank-you to the many who helped cook, bake, prepped, set-up, eat the yummy food, and cleaned up. We couldn't have done it without you and it truly shows we are #bettertogether

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

Thank You

Thank you to our volunteers. You helped to make this semester fly. Amanda Larose, Arsheyan Syed, Elisa Wong, Nick Cuthbert, Priya Verma, Sarah McCracken, Zain Khan

Thank You

A special thank you to the University of Regina Kinesiology & Health Studies Student Society (KHSS) for choosing Astonished! as their charity recipient for this year!
Melissa Turbuck, Astonished! Program Coordinator, and Sean Davis, Astonished! Student Researcher had fun as the guest judges at the KHSS Talent Night fundraiser.
Student Researchers, Avery Ottenbreit and Cassandra Isaac were pleased to accept the cheque.

Astonished! Gala,
Saturday, March 16, 2024

We will share event details early in the new year. We hope you will be able to join us for this fun event.
University of Regina 3737 Wascana Parkway | Regina, SK | S4S 0A2 CA
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