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Building Digital Skills and Confidence: The Let’s Connect Initiative

In a world driven by technology, everyone deserves the opportunity to explore the digital landscape and connect with others. Let’s Connect is an educational initiative that empowers people experiencing disability by boosting their knowledge and confidence in using technology and communication devices.

Let’s Connect goes beyond just teaching technical skills; it’s about fostering independence and enhancing the digital experience for all. This program covers a range of important topics, including: connecting to Wi-Fi, staying safe online, utilizing accessibility features and helpful apps, practicing online etiquette, making informed choices on social media, and expressing oneself through pictures and videos.

Connecting to Wi-Fi: Navigating the Digital World

The program recognizes that accessing the internet is a gateway to a world of knowledge and connection. By practicing the process of connecting to Wi-Fi, participants can easily explore the online world.

Online Safety and Security: Empowering Users

In an age where cybersecurity is paramount, Let’s Connect places a strong focus on online safety and security. Participants learn about password security, identifying potential online threats, and protecting personal information. This knowledge assists individuals in navigating the digital world confidently.

Accessibility and Helpful Apps: Customizing Technology to Individual Needs

Technology can be a powerful tool for bridging gaps and creating opportunities, and Let’s Connect highlights this potential. The program explores accessibility features and useful apps that cater to the unique needs of participants. From device features to communication apps, these tools enhance daily life experiences.

Online Etiquette: Navigating Digital Spaces with Respect

In a world where virtual interactions have become the norm, this program teaches the importance of online etiquette. Participants learn how to engage respectfully in digital spaces, fostering positive online relationships and connections.

Being Smart on Social Media: Making Informed Choices

Social media can be a valuable platform for connection and expression. Let’s Connect equips participants with the knowledge to use social media wisely, enabling them to engage safely and meaningfully in online communities.

Sharing Your Voice Through Pictures and Videos: Unleashing Creativity

Amidst a digital landscape that celebrates visual content, Let’s Connect encourages participants to express themselves through pictures and videos. This creative outlet not only promotes self-expression but also boosts a sense of accomplishment and pride.

This initiative is not about highlighting challenges but celebrating the strengths and capabilities of people experiencing disability. It’s about recognizing the unique perspectives they bring to the digital realm and ensuring that they have the tools and knowledge to flourish in the digital age.

So, let’s connect – not just to the internet, but also to a world of possibilities, knowledge, and empowerment. Let’s celebrate the incredible strides being made by Let’s Connect in making this vision a reality for all.

Short Breaks: Supporting Regina Families

“Short Breaks,” is not just a program; it’s a lifeline for families, a testament to the power of understanding the intricate needs of families and supporting them with Short Breaks. 

The Core of Short Breaks: Family Support and Respite

At its core, “Short Breaks” is about recognizing and responding to the essential needs of families. It offers something invaluable – respite. This respite is not just a temporary relief, but a critical support system for families who navigate the daily challenges of caring for loved ones who experience an intellectual disability. It’s about providing these families with a chance to rejuvenate, to catch their breath, and find comfort in the knowledge that their loved ones are in a safe, nurturing environment.

A Community Effort for Empathy and Inclusion

“Short Breaks” is a collaborative endeavour involving Inclusion Regina, Creative Options Regina, and the City of Regina, with financial support from Sask Lotteries. This collaboration underlines the community’s commitment to empathy, inclusion, and the well-being of all its members.

More Than Just Time Off

The program goes beyond offering mere “time off” for families. It’s an opportunity for individuals experiencing disability to engage in social, educational, recreational, and creative activities. These activities are designed not only to entertain, but also to stimulate and foster a sense of community belonging and personal growth.

The Ripple Effect of Short Breaks

The impact of “Short Breaks” extends far beyond the individuals it directly serves. It lightens the load for families, providing a sense of security and peace of mind. For the community, it strengthens the bonds of understanding and compassion, creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.

A Model of Compassionate Community Support

“Short Breaks” serves as a shining example of what can be achieved when a community comes together to support its most vulnerable members. It’s a reminder of the importance of empathy, the value of respite, and the power of collective effort in making a real difference in people’s lives.

As “Short Breaks” continues to grow and evolve, it stands as a beacon of hope and a symbol of the strength of community spirit. Its success lies in its unwavering commitment to providing much-needed support to families and creating a space where everyone feels valued and included.

Tell It Like It Is: A Compassionate Approach to Comprehensive Sexual Education

In a world that sometimes tiptoes around important topics, Tell It Like It Is stands boldly as a revolutionary program. It’s not just sex-positive; it’s inclusive, comprehensive, and unapologetically honest. This program is on a mission to empower diverse learners, guiding them to make informed life choices that promote optimal health and wellness in all dimensions of life.

This isn’t your typical sex education program. It’s a compassionate journey through crucial life topics, offering a safe space where participants can explore, learn, and grow. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this program so remarkable.

Goals:

Accurate Information: The foremost goal of this program is to ensure that learners receive accurate and up-to-date sexuality education. In a world where myths and misconceptions abound, this program equips participants with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their lives.

Open and Safe Platform: Beyond just information, the program creates a platform where participants can open up. It’s a place to share stories, ask questions, explore curiosities, express fears, and gain knowledge without judgment or shame. This safe and open environment is a cornerstone of the program’s success.

Curriculum:

Tell It Like It Is consists of nine modules, each covering a range of topics related to sexual health and wellness. These modules are designed to cater to diverse learners, making the program accessible to all. Some of the topics covered include:

Communication Skills: Effective communication is the foundation of healthy relationships. Participants learn how to express themselves, listen actively, and navigate the complexities of human interaction.

Hygiene: Personal hygiene is not just about cleanliness; it’s about self-respect and self-care. This emphasizes the importance of maintaining good hygiene practices for overall well-being, but also as a way to improve relationships and connections with others. 

Building Healthy Relationships: Healthy relationships are an important part of a fulfilling life, and help us to reduce loneliness and isolation. This explores what constitutes a healthy relationship, and how to recognize what an unhealthy relationship looks like. 

Sexual Health: The program also covers life-saving information that is necessary to keep ourselves safe; including consent, abuse prevention, STBBI’s (Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections), private vs public spaces, and much more. It offers a safe and non-judgmental space for participants to learn about their bodies and sexual health.

Tell It Like It Is doesn’t shy away from challenging topics. Instead, it approaches them with empathy and compassion, recognizing that every participant is unique and has their own lived experiences. The program’s interactive learning activities make the experience engaging, ensuring that the knowledge gained is not just theoretical, but practical.

In a world that often stigmatizes conversations about sexuality and disability, Tell It Like It Is recognizes the necessity of these conversations. Everyone has the right to education, relationships, and pleasure, and upholding the rights of people with disabilities is vital. 

So, the next time you hear about Tell It Like It Is, remember that it’s more than just a program; it’s a movement towards a more informed and inclusive world. It’s about breaking down barriers and fostering a culture of openness and acceptance. Tell It Like It Is – because knowledge is power, and everyone deserves to wield it. Learn more about this program here!

Fostering Inclusion and Connection: The University of Regina Best Buddies Initiative

Best Buddies Canada, in partnership with Inclusion Regina and Creative Options Regina, is proud to support the University of Regina’s Best Buddies Chapter. This program unites post-secondary students with adults from the community who have intellectual or developmental disabilities, forging powerful connections that promote inclusion.

As a local chapter of the global nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating one-to-one friendships and inclusive opportunities for individuals with disabilities, Best Buddies champions social interaction, personal growth, and meaningful connections between students and community members with disabilities. This effort contributes to the creation of a more inclusive and diverse community.

The university program, designed to break down barriers isolating individuals with disabilities, pairs students with intellectual or developmental disabilities alongside their peers from post-secondary institutions. It fosters a supportive environment where students gain insights into the challenges and successes faced by their buddies, shaping their attitudes during their time on campus and beyond.

For adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities, Best Buddies offers a lifeline to a more enriching life. This program provides opportunities for engagement in social activities, the establishment of lasting friendships, and the development of essential life skills. Moreover, it empowers them to become self-advocates and leaders in their communities, reinforcing the idea that diversity and inclusion are pivotal in building a stronger and more vibrant society.

Inclusion Regina and Creative Options Regina play integral roles as the Host Partners of the University of Regina Best Buddies Chapter, providing support and resources for the program’s success. Together, they foster a culture of inclusion, diversity, and understanding within Regina’s post-secondary institution, a positive influence that ripples through the city’s social fabric.

Best Buddies exemplifies the power of friendship, unity, and acceptance. In a world that often accentuates differences, this program serves as a poignant reminder that, together, we can build a world where everyone belongs.

Prairie Sexuality and Disability Conference featured in SARC Update (Winter 2023)

We are excited to share an article featured in the SARC Winter Update on the 2022 Prairie Sexuality & Disability Conference. We are still beaming with pride when thinking back to the event made possible because of all our incredible partners, sponsors, presenters, caterers, and resource distributors! We look forward to seeing everyone at our 2023 conference in Saskatoon. Stay tuned!

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