Winter 2016 WithinReach Newsletter
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WithinReach Winter 2016

Auction Header
On November 2, 2016 300 guests came to the St. Elias Centre to raise funds in support of Reach’s work for equality and justice for persons with disabilities. Guests enjoyed an array of appetizers from Chickpea's Restaurant & Edible Arrangements- Bank Street during the reception. a delicious dinner prepared by the St. Elias Centre, music by The Wave, glamorous décor designed by Sage Designs, and floral arrangements by Flower Girls.   Throughout the evening, the selection of silent and live auction items attracted hot competition.

Along with emcees James Foord and Lawrence Greenspon, celebrity auctioneers included CBC's Rita Celli and Laurence Wall, 1310 News' Carol-Anne Meehan, Philanthropist Dave Smith, Mayor Jim Watson, Olympic Gold Medalist Katie Weatherston and Reach Volunteer Lawyers Pam MacEachern, Jamison Young and Danesh Rana.

Reach would like to thank McNally Gervan LLP, Gowling WLG, and  TD Bank Group for sponsoring the event. Special thanks to everyone who donated, attended or volunteered at the event. We are very proud to announce that we raised over $75,000!
Reach President Frank McNally
Reach Executive Director Joanne Silkauskas, Councillor Keith Egli, Mayor Jim Watson, and Reach Co-Founder Lawrence Greenspon
Bidding on Live Auction
Silent Auction Tables
Erin McNamara, John D. Richard, Joanne Silkauskas

From the Executive Director

Happy Holiday Greetings!
Seems like yesterday we paused from our daily chores to give thanks and now, suddenly, snow blankets the ground as we start preparing for another festive time of year! In the spirit of giving thanks, the  staff at Reach wishes to express its sincere thank you to all the volunteers who are the backbone of the organization. Whether as student interns, law students, office administrators, auction item recruiters, its our volunteers who make it possible for Reach to accomplish its mission. Over 300 clients have been assisted so far this year to access legal and mediation services, and 200 members of our community gained information about various disabilities and support services by attending our workshops and conference.  In the early hours on a Sunday in April,  90 volunteers worked at City Hall to work at the Run for Reach by supporting, cheering and feeding the 420 runners and walkers during and after their brisk and icy pounding of the pavement! In November, because of our volunteers and volunteer Auction Committee, 300 guests celebrated at the Annual Celebrity Auction and took home amazing art, travel packages, gift baskets, and restaurant certificates. Approximately 50 volunteer lawyers raised a glass in honour of their contribution of expert legal advice to Reach clients, while The Honourable Madame Justice Rosalie S. Abella of the Supreme Court of Canada praised their dedication and commitment to providing much-needed, accessible legal services to many who otherwise could fall between the cracks in our system. On that very day, Mayor Jim Watson proclaimed June 8th Reach Canada Day!

Reach continues to be involved with community projects and committees such as the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee, a Toronto based committee which reviews and proposes best practices in regards to accessible and fully inclusive Courthouses in Ontario. We are also a member of Ottawa’s Connecting on Disability and Abuse (CODA), a crime prevention community-based initiative. Reach was invited to present at “One Young World Summit”, an international conference held in Canada for the first time and attended by thousands of young inspiring community leaders from around the world. On October 1, three panellists gave a very informative and personal presentation on the issues of “Inclusion, Access, and Disabilities in the Workplace”.  The Toronto-based National Initiative on Eating Disorders (NIED) and Reach  partnered  together on October 5 to present a seminar on Eating Disorders as a Mental Health matter.

Reach has much for which to be thankful. In particular, Reach’s Education Chairperson, Lucille Marleau, has  worked tirelessly over the past four years on our workshops, seminars and conferences.  As well, our Board of Directors and Honorary Chairpersons have contributed countless hours and made many gestures of encouragement to keep our ‘little-engine-that-could’ rolling down the tracks towards a more inclusive and accessible community. For this, we are tremendously grateful!

You all know who you are! To you all, the very best for a joyous holiday and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Joanne Silkauskas

Reach’s Annual Celebrity Auction: Reviewing the Importance and Support

Sarah Thiessen, JD Common Law Program University of Ottawa

Reach’s 36th Annual Celebrity Auction was a great success with the theme of Eat, Stay, Play. It was wonderful to see so many lively people out to support a good cause. Reach is a self-funded organization which relies on the support of the community at local events in order to continue providing services for people of all disabilities. There was overwhelming support demonstrated by the over 300 items donated by businesses from Ottawa and Outaouais, along with the hard working volunteers behind the scenes or at hand at the Auction. Guests had the chance to take part in both the live and silent auction. It was a night filled with mystery gifts, creative and inspiring artwork, jewelry and gift baskets.
The energetic auctioneers presented 20 live auction items that included something for everyone. There was great diversity between these items that included visual art, autographed Senators jerseys, Senators tickets, a behind-the- scenes Raptors package, travel packages, an Anne-Marie Chagnon jewelry set, and a  buttercream lamb shearling coat. The list goes on! The night was a memorable one for everyone who attended with the opportunity to take home one of the fabulous auction items and to donate to a worthy cause.
Thank-you again for the ongoing support of Reach! The auction was a great success with a large turnout, all  contributing towards the provision accessible legal services.

We're Moving!

On January 5th, 2017 Reach will have a new home at 554 King Edward Ave at the University of Ottawa. Please note that our office will be closed on that day to accommodate the move. We will re-open on January 6th with a new phone number. See our website for updated contact information.

To make the move easier, we are selling off our collection of art. Visit our website to see a gallery of pieces available or contact our office at 613-236-6636 to inquire.

Remaining auction items, such as sterling silver jewelry, memberships and gifts are also available to purchase on our website. Click here to view the full list.
Art Print Available for Purchase

Save the Date

We're working on an exciting music fundraising event to be held Friday, February 3rd, 2017. Follow us on Facebook & Twitter for first access to the event details!

R.I.P. Leonard Cohen

Like thousands of others around the world, I was and remain devastated to learn of the death of Leonard Cohen: author, poet, songwriter, singer and artist.

Several years ago, I saw a piece of his art, a limited edition, at another gala. They kindly provided the contact information and for the past many years, we have been blessed with receiving several magnificent signed pieces for the Annual REACH CELEBRITY AUCTION.

During the 2015 Auction, I bid on a strong and wonderful self-portrait. Another successful bidder took it home. With encouragement, I wrote to our amazing contact and asked if they would consider donating a second similar piece and I would purchase it from Reach adding to their revenue and enjoying what would be a gift from my husband in recognition of my retirement as Reach Executive Director and in celebration of my 30th anniversary with this magnificent non-profit, charitable organization.

In my letter, I assured them that, if it interfered with Reach obtaining a piece for the next year, I would withdraw my request. The answer did not arrive within the next weeks so I assumed that it would not be positive. I was thrilled to receive an email from the gentleman saying that with "the heavy mail at the holiday season and wanting to meet Leonard, “he would send me the limited edition in the new year.”

Imagine my shock when I opened the package to receive a signed lithograph with the words, "To Paula Agulnik- warm regards from Leonard Cohen” with (his) additional stamps. The piece is called “Follow Me" and is dated 2012.

Along with his music, I will treasure this artwork for the rest of my life. He was truly a gentle man and a gentleman. His and his colleagues' contributions to Reach remain a blessing in our community.

In gratitude and with continued appreciation of the Board, Executive Director, Joanne and the volunteers, I submit this epistle,

Regards and best to all for the holiday season,

2017 Race Weekend


Run for Reach to further access to justice for persons with disabilities! Prizes awarded to the first 50 participants who register to fund raise for Reach as well as to the top three fundraisers.

Help Reach achieve its goal of $7500! Sign up for any of the events during Ottawa Race Weekend and register as a fundraiser for Reach. For more information, visit or click here to view the Reach fundraising page.

Events include:

Saturday May 27th
Ottawa 2K
HTG Sports Ottawa 5K
Ottawa 10K

Sunday May 28th
Scotiabank Ottawa Kids Marathon for CHEO
Scotiabank Ottawa ½ Marathon
Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

A New and Exciting Opportunity: The Canadian Access and Inclusion Project

Reach has joined with 27 other not-for-profit organizations to form the Canadian Access and Inclusion Project.  Our purpose is to listen to Canadians with disabilities to learn more about barriers and solutions and together to present recommendations for solutions directly to Minister Qualtrough. You can learn more about the Canadian Access and Inclusion Project and the Government of Canada's goals at our project website- .

By early January 2017, Reach will begin a consultation process with people with to gather insights and solutions on the creation of new federal accessibility legislation. Please visit for soon to be posted dates, times and venues for these consultations.

Reach Committee Member and Volunteer Wins the Education Award at the Annual Celebration of People event organized by Ottawa Citizen Advocacy, December 1

With more than 20 years of experience as a certified teacher with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board( OCDSB,) Kevin Brown has worked tirelessly and creatively to strategize and advocate for the rights of students and staff with disabilities. In particular, Kevin's willingness to share his experiences with his learning disability and his self-advocacy, has made him a tremendous role model and leader for students and staff, both with and without disabilities. As an employee representative on the District's Accessibility Working Group for many years, Kevin has been active in leading and promoting the district's efforts not only to meet but exceed the legislated requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).  Kevin also co-founded the Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorders and Allies Employee Resource Group (LDAD/HD&A) which has provided employees with disabilities who work for the OCDSB with expanded opportunities for personal, professional and leadership development.  For the past four years, Kevin has been a member of the Education Committee for Reach Canada.
Copyright © 2016 Reach Canada, All rights reserved.

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