University of Regina graduate, accomplished athlete, active in the community, valued employee of the Ministry of Justice, and consummate team builder. These are just a few words to describe Lucas Faye. These are accomplishments that we, as Lucas’ parents, dreamed for him. But when Lucas was diagnosed as a toddler with limited motion in his heel cords, delayed speech and underdeveloped cognitive abilities our dreams turned to worries. How successful will he be in school? Will he be marginalized and bullied? How independent will he become? Will he have friends, a meaningful job, and a good life?
During his primary school years, Lucas participated in the Elementary Functional Academic Program (EFAP) at St. Jerome school. He also received speech therapy and physical therapy in an effort to stretch out his heel cords to address his toe walking. In high school at Michael A. Riffel, Lucas blossomed and achieved success in many mainstream classes. With a love for music and musicals, Lucas joined That’s Possible Theatre, choir, music and drama clubs. Through hard work and the kindness of amazing teachers and classmates, we watched his confidence level, attitude and work ethic grow by leaps and bounds.
Lucas has always had a passion for sports and became very involved in Special Olympics – participating in track and field, curling, soccer, floor hockey and golfing. Lucas excelled in track and field, winning medals in provincial and regional meets and qualifying for Team Saskatchewan for the 2013 and 2014 Canadian Special Olympic National Games, winning two National Bronze medals in 2014. This is very impressive for someone who a decade earlier, couldn’t walk (let alone run) and required intensive surgery. Lucas’ coaches, fellow athletes and cheerleaders inspired him to never give up. Encouraging his fellow athletes is just as important to Lucas, and he loves watching his teammates compete and try their best.
Lucas celebrated his high school graduation in 2016 and applied to the University of Regina Campus for All program. He audited one class each semester (mostly Kinesiology classes), completed modified assignments and exams, and participated in presentations, class discussions, and group work. After four years of study (eight classes), Lucas graduated in 2020 with a Certificate in Inclusive Post-Secondary Education.
One huge advantage of being supported by the Campus for All program is the 4to 40 partnership with Creative Options Regina. While Lucas was still taking classes, 4to40 connected him to his first part-time job working with Special Olympics Saskatchewan. Not long after, he began performing administrative tasks, giving tours to new students and planning for a graduation event at the Campus For All office.
During Lucas’ final university semester, 4to40 arranged another interview for him with the Government of Saskatchewan – Ministry of Justice. Lucas is currently working as a General Program Assistant, performing data processing and various administrative duties. 4to40 provided a job coach for Lucas that worked alongside him until he was able to work independently to the Ministry’s standards. Aaron Orban, Executive Director of the Access and Privacy Branch had the following to say about Lucas:
“Lucas has had such a positive impact on our workplace. We weren’t just adding another person to the team but it gave everyone on the team an opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s lived experience. And that’s not something in our world that we necessarily see every day. The team really rallied around Lucas – and his positive energy, work ethic and his ability to see things as ‘cool’ that others may see as routine has really rubbed off on everybody. We are a stronger team as a result. People are being more supportive of each other, which is another result of just having Lucas around.”
At the start of 2020, Lucas was completing his final semester at the University of Regina while continuing to work. Unfortunately, due to COVID, Lucas had to complete the final month of class from home. During this time, it was extremely difficult for Lucas to be without work, structure, and friends. Despite these difficulties, we experienced an outpouring of kindness. Lucas received video messages from his colleagues, who shared beautiful messages congratulating him on his graduation and mentioning how much they missed him at work. Some messages included comments about Lucas’ favourite things (Riders, Leafs, Raptors and Jays) which showed us that Lucas had connected with his co-workers in a special and meaningful way.
The past year and a half has reinforced how important it is for all of us to feel valued, loved, needed and included. Lucas’ accomplishments have been many and his positive impact on others, immeasurable. We are so thankful for all of the difference-makers in Lucas’ life, including 4to40 and his remarkable employers. But we, and others who have the privilege of knowing Lucas, feel he is the one who makes the real difference!
– ALLEN & TILDA FAYE