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Sexuality and Disability Conference 2022

Creative Options Regina, Saskatoon Sexual Health, and Inclusion Saskatchewan are pleased to announce an upcoming conference supporting sexual health and wellness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their networks.

Date: October 7, 2022

Time: 9-4pm

Location: University of Regina College Ave. Campus

 

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! (Click to Register)

Space is limited, so register early to secure your spot.

This is an exciting opportunity for support workers, caregivers, family members, community-based organizations, researchers, students, health care professionals, self-advocates, or anyone interested in learning more about sexuality and disability.

 

Proudly supported by the Community Initiatives Fund and the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute!

Lucas’ Story – 4to40 (DEAM 2021)

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

It’s a win-win’: U of R and employees benefit from inclusive, diverse work culture

Dylan Morin and Jarred MacDonald are true ambassadors of the University of Regina, embodying campus values like calm, care, and compassion. Since starting their jobs as caretakers with the U of R’s Custodial Services in January 2020, they have been tasked with the critical role of ensuring that the University is a clean, safe environment for those who are on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also take pride in welcoming visitors, students, faculty, and staff to campus with a smile – from behind a mask, of course – and a cheery “Hello!”

Across Canada, October is designated as Disability Employment Awareness Month. Throughout the month, inclusive employers, such as the University of Regina, are celebrating their workers and raising awareness of the importance of providing meaningful paid employment for former students like Morin and MacDonald who experience intellectual disabilities.

“We are very fortunate to have Dylan and Jarred on our team,” says John Papandreos, Manager of Custodial Services, who has been instrumental in advocating for inclusive employment opportunities at the University. “They are outstanding workers who are contributing purposeful and essential work, especially during COVID when we have such a large need for a clean environment.”

Since the pandemic began, Morin and MacDonald have been working hard on the Custodial Services’ team to disinfect touchpoints around main entrances and exits on campus.

“Right now, I go to all the areas on campus and I’m wiping down touch points, like elevator buttons,” explains Morin, who seeks to make positive connections with people as he carries out his job tasks. “I’m just trying to do my best to keep the University safe.”

Students, staff, and faculty around campus know Morin and appreciate his outgoing, friendly personality, which provides him with a sense of satisfaction in his work and of belonging to the University community.

“I hear ‘thank you!’ from people,” says Morin. “From time to time, I get people asking where a building is and I’ll describe it the best I can. From being a student to being a staff member, I know the University well.”

Both Morin and MacDonald are graduates of the University of Regina and were supported by the Campus for All (CFA) inclusive, post-secondary education initiative, which provides adults who experience an intellectual disability with the opportunity for an authentic university experience. This initiative includes three pillars: academic, social networking, and employment.

“The students we support are no different than any others,” says Faith Savarese, Coordinator of the Campus for All initiative. “At the end of their education, they want to be employed and contribute to the community, so we created an employment project called 4to40 with our community partner Creative Options Regina. The staff at 4to40 identify potential employers and provide on-the-job support like job coaches, so that our new employees can more easily learn their job tasks and integrate into the workplace.”

Since the creation of 4to40, many current and former students supported by CFA are now employed, and more employers are realizing the benefits that hiring inclusively brings to their workplaces.

“Their work ethic is top notch,” says Papandreos. “Dylan and Jarred contribute to a positive work culture. It’s hard not to embrace these guys. There’s huge benefits to the U of R in terms of supporting an inclusive employment philosophy, which receives strong support from U of R senior administration. For the individuals, it gives them a sense of purpose and contribution to the greater good. It works wonders for their self-esteem and so they produce high quality work. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Recently, the University has extended the term positions of both Morin and MacDonald for another year, and Papandreos hopes to one day make their positions permanent.

Like any other workers, Morin and MacDonald look for stability, inclusion, and a sense of satisfaction in their jobs.

MacDonald cleans door and stair handles, as well as benches, and enjoys joking with his supervisor. “My favourite part of working at the University is my cart,” says Jarred, whose strong work ethic keeps him constantly on the go. “And getting a pay cheque.”

Murray Peterson, MacDonald’s job coach for the past year and a half – and close friend – is amazed by MacDonald’s commitment to doing the best job he can.

“He’ll never take a full lunch hour,” says Peterson. “Maybe 15 or 20 minutes and then we’re going back to work. Go, go, go.”

As a result of being University employees, MacDonald and Morin get the same benefits as other University employees.

“Sick time, vacation time, a pension – this is not something Jarred normally would have expected from any job, so the fact that he has that at the U of R is indispensable really,” says Peterson. “The quality of life here amazes me. I’m so impressed with everything the University has done for him and with him.”

Helping an individual to develop their strengths is an important part of empowering new employees.

“Dylan’s job coach used to be here five days a week and is now down to two days a week,” says Donna Flaman-Johnson, an inclusive employment broker for the 4to40 organization. “We want to see graduates of Campus for All gain confidence in their skills, abilities, and job tasks. Then, they can work more independently and may one day mentor others.”

 

By University Advancement and CommunicationsPosted: October 20, 2020

View article: https://www.uregina.ca/external/communications/feature-stories/current/2020/10-20.html

 

Celebrating Inclusive Employers: October is Disability Employment Awareness Month

‘I love the freedom to move and the feeling of the outdoors!’

Employment means something different to every person. Some folks enjoy the social aspects of a job where the people make the work tolerable. Some prefer a role where they can put their head down and get things done for 8 hours a day and then go home to resume life the way they truly want. For Trent employment is all of these things. For Trent, employment adds variety.

When asked about what the perfect job for Trent would be he replied, ‘For me it would be the perfect mix of things. I don’t just like one job over another. I like to have time at home to chill out, and I also like to meet new people at work. If I had to choose I would say I’d be a mechanic in the afternoons and then relax by the water and skateboard all night!’ As Trent is a self-proclaimed ‘night owl’ evenings are made for leisure and relaxation.When I am skating I can let go, be myself, and let my worries drift away

Over the course of our conversation it became quite evident that Trent’s heart belongs to skateboarding in the summertime. When asked about his passion Trent stated, ‘I love the freedom to move and the feeling of the outdoors! When I am skating I can let go, be myself, and let my worries drift away!’ Trent also talked at length about his desire to keep up his skills and dedicate as much time as possible to practicing which is truly admirable when working toward any goal!

Finally, when asked about what he spends all his extra cash on, Trent lit up and said, ‘with my money I want to save enough to treat my family to things like Pats games or trips. I also want to make some upgrades to my skateboard like to the wheels and axels. New bearings would be sweet too!’

In getting to know Trent it has been my greatest pleasure to learn about his value to any work place. He loves to belong to team and is a dedicated partner to be able to count on. He values his work life balance and is never afraid to share in conversation-especially if it’s about the great outdoors or thrashing during the summer. He is adaptable, polite, and an all-around unique guy!

Thank you Trent for sharing your passions with me!

 

Ben Morris,

COR Family Member

 

Regina Leader-Post: Celebrating the Value of Every Person

On December 3rd, 2019, COR was featured in the Regina Leader-Post in celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Read the article below:

To view online, visit: https://www.pressreader.com/canada/regina-leader-post/20191203/282175062982247

Proceeds from 2019 India Night donated to 4to40

 

Read the story on the UofR website: https://www.uregina.ca/external/communications/feature-stories/current/2019/11-07.html

 

 

A Dream Come True

Inclusive employment opportunities are ideal for everyone. There are emerging prospective employees who get the opportunity to work as equals alongside amazing employers within our progressive city. However, we are not always as aware of the unsung heroes working tirelessly in the background. The journey these champions embark on can sometimes be long and filled with twists, turns, struggles and triumphs. They don’t wear capes, but they relentlessly work towards what is best for the people closest to them. These champions are the families!

The following is a testimonial from Jarred’s family sharing their perspective on his journey.

                                               A DREAM COME TRUE

“As a family, we have always wished for Jarred to have the opportunity to be employed earning a decent wage. As parents, we pursued inclusive work placements for Jarred, but we were never successful in accessing employment for him. Jarred also wanted to live in his own home. It was a very happy day in March of 2015 when he was able to move into his own condo with a roommate that was supported by Creative Options Regina. Jarred wanted everything that his sister was experiencing.

Jarred completed high school at Dr. Martin LeBoldus High School in 2002, where he had various work experience opportunities through his high school and the Saskatchewan Abilities Council. He was employed at the Cosmopolitan Learning Centre Satellite Program for almost fifteen years and received a small paycheque each month. Through this opportuity, he became skilled in doing various cleaning jobs at businesses in the community, mostly when they were closed. While working at the Satellite Program, he also attended Campus For All at the University of Regina. Jarred really enjoyed attending his University classes and convocated in 2012. It was the highlight of his workweek when he could attend classes as he flourished in the inclusive university community.

Jarred was aware that some of his workmates from the Satellite Program were getting new employment. He would often come home from work and tell us he wanted a new job — his Supervisor would phone me and ask if Jarred was getting new employment because he would tell her he was getting a new job. Many times he would ask to have a day off. We knew Jarred needed a change! Creative Options Regina was also aware that Jarred wanted a change. With our connection to Creative Options Regina and the Campus for All program, we were put in touch with Donna Flaman-Johnson from the 4to40 initiative. Donna found an employment opportunity for Jarred with Ranch Ehrlo Early Learning Centres. The position was to do cleaning in five elementary classrooms for three hours each day and he would stay at one school all week and then rotate to the other schools each week. He would be paid minimum wage, which seemed like a perfect fit. Jarred had to update his resume and go through an interview process (which he was nervous about), and as were we. We did some practice interviews to get him ready. He did very well, and we were so proud of him. Our DREAM CAME TRUE on May 6, 2019, when Jarred started his new job. He completed his three month probation in August, and he is now a very happy young man in his new work environment.

A sincere thank you to Jarred’s family, as well as many others that put their trust in us and their children to live a life they want to live. Without the support of families, the growing inclusiveness in our communities wouldn’t be where it is today.

Ben & Sawyer