Within Reach: Spring 2016

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 Spring Edition
2016 Run for Reach
2016 Run for Reach. For more information about race categories go to  #runforareason
For more information and registration opportunities click HERE
Hounorary Starters Jason and Jon Dunkerely
Jason Dunkerley
Jason Dunkerley is a visually impaired middle distance runner who has competed at 4 Paralympic Games, 5 IPC World Championships and 3 Parapan American Games earning medals at every event. In 2015, at the Parapan American Games in Toronto, Jason, and his guide Joshua Karanja, won the gold medal in the 5000m and silver in the 1500m. Jason is an ambassador for parasport both locally and nationally.
Jon Dunkerley is a visually impaired athlete who has competed in several different sporting events, from the Blind World Judo Championship to the International Paralympic World Championship. In 2012, he qualified for the Paralympic team, finishing 7th in the 400M, and 6th as part of Canada’s 4x1 relay squad. In 2013, he finished 9th in the 800M at the International Paralympic Committee World Championships held in Lyon, France. Currently living in Ottawa Ontario, Jon is a member of the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club working alongside his guide runner Sean Young.
Greetings from the Executive Director

Hello everyone,


We are delighted to provide an early Spring edition of WithinReach newsletter as wishful thinking! The upcoming months are very active ones for Reach and we truly hope you will participate in all or some of these events that may be of interest to you. Details of our upcoming Seminar (March 1) and events are all outlined in this issue.


As many of you know, being long- time friends and supporters of Reach, and as shared in the December issue of WithinReach,  Reach’s dynamic and passionate Executive Director for the past 30 years, Paula Agulnik, retired in December 2015.  After a few travels to warm and non-wintery places on this planet,  Paula is continuing to offer her time and commitment to Reach to help celebrate its 35th Anniversary (Gala) on June 8, 2016 with keynote speaker, Madame Justice Rosalie Abella, Individual tickets (with partial charitable receipts) or corporate tables can be ordered.  Please join us on Wednesday, June 8th, to share in the history of our unique lawyer referral services for people with disabilities and educational programs that pertain to matters of disabilities.


We are very looking forward to the 31st Annual RUN for Reach, to be held  Sunday April 10’s  Run/Walk/Wheelchair races. It has been an annual tradition for friends and supporters of Reach to gather on an early April Sunday morning to run, walk, race in wheelchairs. Many have come to rely on this event to prepare for their summer sporting events. We are very pleased announce that Jon and Jason Dunkerley, Paralympian medalists, are this year’s Honorary Race Starters.


Reach is very proud to present in collaboration with Jewitt McLuckie & Associates LLP, a full day CONFERENCE on “Mental Wellness in the Workplace”. Recognized experts in the area of mental wellness will be speaking on identifying and accommodating what are often called “invisible disabilities” such as PTSD, addictions and depression. As 2016 marks the 35th anniversary of Reach’s work supporting individuals with disabilities, Jewitt McLuckie & Associates LLP will be donating the net proceeds from this conference to support Reach.


This winter, the Lawyer Referral Service continues to be supported by the dedicated and professional law students from the University Of Ottawa Faculty of Common Law and the National Program. Reach is also proud to introduce its first time ever Law Articling Student, Jennifer Mbang, who is articling with us full time from January to end of April 2016. She attended Law School at the University of Hull, England.  Our Lawyer Referral team includes Amanda, Marika, Rachel, Seyoung, Adriano, Sahar, Ashley and Christopher who will be with Reach until early April when final exams take over.


Equally committed and very dedicated volunteer, Jessica, has been assisting all of us since June 2015 on a part time basis on all admistrative duties. She dutifully administered this newsletter and is a contributor to this issue. We also would like to thank a new volunteer, Greg Allan, a first year law student for his contribution to the newsletter and his assistance with the Run for Reach.


We are very looking forward to RUN for Reach to be held Sunday April 10’s Run/Walk/Wheelchair races. It has been a 31 year tradition of friends and supporters of Reach, gathering on an early April Sunday morning to run, walk, and race in wheelchairs. Many have come to rely on this event to prepare for their summer sporting events. We are very pleased announce that brothers Jon and Jason Dunkerley, Paralympian medalists, are this year’s Honorary Race Starters.


Finally, the Board, Meaza, and I are pleased to introduce our Fundraising/Special Events Coordinator, Josie Fleming. Both Board and Staff are excited to be working with her and sharing our wonderful NGO.

We hope that you enjoy this issue as much as our committee had the pleasure of putting it together. Articles relating to disability and human rights issues are always welcome as is your feedback.

Joanne Silkauskas, MSW, LL.B
Executive Director
Reach Canada, Equality and Justice for People with Disabilities
Upcoming Seminars
Tuesday, March 1st 2016
Wills and Estate Planning, including review of Capacity Assessments:
for Families with Dependants with Disabilities
Topics will include  planning for dependant adult/children; what are Capacity Assessments; the importance of a Will; Power of Attorney; Henson Trusts. This seminar is valuable to persons with disabilities, family members, employers and service/health providers.
When:            Tuesday March 1st, 2016 at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Location:       363 Coventry Rd. Ottawa, Ontario, United Way Office

Presenters:     Paul Hewitt: Barrister and Solicitor,
                         Hewitt Hewitt Nesbitt Reid LLP
                         Elizabeth Lockhart: Barrister and Solicitor

To register on-line, please click  HERE
To download a registration form, please click HERE
Thursday, April 21 2016
Mental Wellness in the Workplace:
Understanding and Working with PTSD, Addictions and Depression
Mental Wellness in the Workplace: Understanding and Working with PTSD, Addictions and Depression is an Ottawa-based conference exploring the numerous issues unions, human resources personnel, employers, lawyers, and disability advocates must consider when representing workers struggling with invisible disabilities and addictions.The conference will focus on the various issues that arise when seeking accommodation for a worker diagnosed with an invisible disability, including when and how to consider Long Term Disability as part of an accommodation strategy.

Experts in the field will discuss current issues dealing with assisting employees with addictions in the workplace including: privacy issues; culpable versus non-culpable behaviour; health and safety; and drug and alcohol testing; advanced accommodation, retraining and reintegration issues.

For more Information and registration click HERE
Celebrate with Reach

The Honourable John D. Richard, O.C., LL.D, Honourary Chairperson and the Board of Directors cordially invite you to join us for the Reach Canada 35th Anniversary celebration.

Please join us in honouring the retirement of Paula Agulnik, founding executive director, in recognition of her 30 years of dedication to the community.

Location: St. Elias Centre, 750 Ridgewood Ave, Ottawa (across from Mooney’s Bay)


For more information and Early Bird registration, click HERE

Articles and Reflections
Carleton University Radio Show: Welcome To My World
Welcome To My World: Radio station 93.1 FM, every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., aims to change the conversation and views about disability.

Devoted to expressing what it means to have differing abilities, join co-hosts Kim Kilpatrick and Shelley Ann Morris each week to hear news, music and interviews. The program is not just for those with disabilities but for everyone.

Listeners can join in with suggestions, commentary, content and participation at and via Twitter @ckcuwtmw

You can listen live at 93.1 FM or at
You can find the blog here:
As well see the facebook page at

Summer Camps for Children, Youth and Adults

Amanda Chan, JD Candidate, University of Ottawa

Ottawa Community Centres Shared Care Programs
Regular day camps for children with special needs. Camps available during July and August. Pre and Post care options may be available.
Visit their page
Explore Therapeutic Recreation
For children (8-12 years old) with a developmental disability to explore interests and develop social skills with art, music, and swimming. Camps available during July.
Visit their page
Spirit Summer Camp
A therapeutic recreation program for technologically dependent children. For ages 7-18. Camps available during August.
Visit their page

Rock, Rattle and Roll
A program for children and adults with a physical disability who require a support staff. Camps available during July.
Visit their page
Summer Success
Therapeutic recreation camp for children ages 8-12 who have ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, and behavioural difficulties. Helps children build appropriate social skills and self-esteem. Camps available during August. 
Visit their page
Snap Summer Camps
Therapeutic recreation camps for children and teens ages 8-18 who have a diagnosis on the Autism spectrum. Designed to help with social, communication, and recreation skills, along with physical fitness, healthy living and self-confidence.
Visit their page
Camp Social 
Social/recreation camps for independent adults ages 19-50 with developmental disabilities. Games, dancing, art, and outdoor activities, with one outing and a special guest. Located at the Carleton Heights Community Centre during Weeks in July and August.
Visit their page
Experience/Adventures Camp
Social program for young adults aged 15-35 with disabilities. Camps available during July and August.
Visit their page
Summer in the city
Summer day program for adults ages 35+ with multiple physical disabilities. Program includes outings within the city and a weekly bus trip to outlying areas. Located at the Jack Purcell Community Centre during weeks beginning at the end of July through August.
Visit their page
Summer Sizzler Summer Camp
Multiple programs available for individuals of all ages (18-35) with developmental disabilities. Activities include sports, games, and cooking. Camps available at multiple locations during July and August.
Visit their page

Easter Seals Ontario Recreational Programs
Camps available for individuals and families. Individual camp activities include kayaking and wheelchair basketball. Family Camp activities include crafts, archery, and swimming. Camp sessions located near Perth, Ontario and London, Ontario.
Camps available for ages 6 -26 years old
Must be registered with Easter Seals Ontario as of July 1, 2016
Visit their page
Spring Action Trampoline
Spring Action Trampoline and Circus school offers trampoline and Circus lessons to individuals with special needs aged 4-15. Activities emphasizing TRAMPOLINE will include acrobatics, foam pit fun, juggling, diabolo, double mini-tramp, games and much more.
 Located at 5515 Canotek Road.
Visit their page
*There were no special needs camps listed, only special needs lessons
Stronger You: Superhero Training Camp summer 2015
Boys and girls of all abilities, aged 5 to 12, learn to become a superhero through martial arts training, crafts and show and tell. One on one training is available for an extra cost. Located in Nepean during weeks in July and August. Information not yet available for Summer 2016.
Visit their page
* those requiring one on one assistance need  to pay an additional fee.
Friends in Sportfishing
Friends in Sportfishing is a volunteer-run charitable organization dedicated to providing free fishing experiences for any group of people with special needs in the community. All the boats, crews and fishing equipment are provided and operate out of a variety of venues in Eastern Ontario.
Visit their page
Spectrum Insights Social Skills Camp
Separate camps available for teens aged 12-18 and adults aged 18-25 on the Autism Spectrum. Weekly Outings focus on developing independent living skills, social skills, and making friends. Camp is based on small groups of 5 students and tailored to individual needs. Each week the camp focuses on taking the bus, time management, finances, social etiquette, shopping, and social planning. Weeks available in July and August. Located at the Astolot Education Centre, 1187 Bank street.
Visit their page
Sunshine Cove
Cove believes that each child or young person should be given the opportunity to participate in as many different experiences as possible. Programs are tailored for the specific age and ability level of each camper. Some programs include diving, waterskiing, tubing, cliff jumping, fishing, boating, canoeing, sailing, paddleboats, hiking, mini-olympics, wagon-rides, scavenger hunts, campfires, sports games, arts & crafts, sing-a-longs, Bible quiz and stories. Pick up from Orleans is available. Located in Notre-Dame-du-Laus, Quebec during July through August.
Visit their page
2016 Summer Camp Schedule:
Special Needs #6 (Girls only): August 19-26, 2016 ($890 + $40 transportation)
Special Needs #5 (Boys only): August 9-16, 2016 ($890 + $40 transportation)
Special Needs #4: August 2-6, 2016 ($560 + $40 transportation)
Special Needs #3 : July 18-29, 2016 ($1,330 + $40 transportation)
Special Needs #2: July 11-15, 2016 ($560 + $40 transportation)
Special Needs #1: July 4- July 8, 2016 ($560 + $40 transportation from Orleans)
**Please note there is an added cost if one-on-one care is needed of $50 – $100 per day depending on the level of care needed. The cost for any accompanying staff is $30 per day for food only.**
Building Blocks
Summer science programs for children and young teens aged 6 to 10 diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Non Verbal Language Disorders and other related exceptionalities. Crazy experiments to be enjoyed by all including group games and outdoor play. Located at Maki House, 19 Leeming Drive, Ottawa (Carling Avenue & Moodie Drive).  Summer 2016 information not yet available.
Visit their page
The Lanark County Therapeutic Riding Program
Offering a specialized form of horseback-riding to people with physical and/or developmental disabilities. Weeks available in July and August.
Visit their page
Cedar Rock Farm                                 Ashland Farm
100 Rathwell Road                               2622 Derry Side Rd.
Perth, ON                                              Beckwith Township

Camp Otonabee/Y Neighbourhood Day Camp
Various camps at different YMCA-YWCA Ottawa locations for ages 4-16. Camp Otonabee activities include kayaking and swimming. Y Neighbourhood Day Camps include crafts, swimming and various games.
Provides financial help and integrates children with special needs while giving them one-on-one support.
Summer 2016 Camp Registration is open for camps in July and August
Dovercourt Summer Camps
Various camps for ages 4-16 such as swim camps, science camps, overnight camps, leadership camps, and performing arts camps. Dovercourt is strongly committed to inclusion of campers with special needs.
Camps available between July and August.
Visit their page

Easter Seals Camps

Greg Allan, First year Common Law Student, University of Ottawa

Reflections from a pas t  Counsellor:

"For the past two summers, I have worked at an Easter Seals camp, or as anyone who has been there for more than a day likes to call it, the Best Place on Earth! Founded in 1922, the Canadian branch of this worldwide organization is further divided by provinces. My experiences are with the regional organization in British Columbia and while each camp has a unique manner of operation, they are united by a desire to create an escapist location. "Whatever you want to do, whoever you want to be, we can make that happen" is not lip service to the Easter Seals, but the standard that staff strive to enable for their campers every day.

In my time as a counsellor I have dressed up as an old lady, sung all kinds of silly songs, created scavenger hunts, referred to campers as Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana (per their request), been painted on too many times to count, and met some of the most interesting and inspiring people. And that’s just my experience as a counsellor! Easter Seals camps have a wide range of activities that make them the perfect place to spend a week. Canoeing, talent shows, arts and crafts, basketball, trampoline, and swimming in pools and lakes are just a few of the things that happen every week! A personal favourite of mine is the more traditional camping, where campers will tell stories by the campfire and sleep outside in tents, as opposed to the cabins they are in for the rest of the night.

One of my favourite people is a former camper and a friend of mine, named Vinnie Potvin. He’s a professional rapper (YouTube channel:, stage name Skinny P) and is beginning a business as a speaker to young people on seeing beyond disabilities. Vinnie also has cerebral palsy and has been attending Easter Seals camps for 20 years, since he was six years old. He continues to attend on an annual basis. One of the best representatives of the effect Easter Seals camp can have on people with disabilities, Vinnie’s favourite part about camp is that for that one week a year, he feels able to be anybody he wants and do anything, as well as showing people that they shouldn’t judge based on initial appearances. His favourite story from the past summer is when he pied a counsellor in the face, although meeting his best friend Robert at camp is his all-time favourite. Vinnie’s philosophy is one I endeavour to meet every day: everyone should be treated fairly, regardless of ability.

Last summer, one of the girls from another group, whose disability was not visible, asked me if one of the campers in my group was at camp because he had problems. This is a common type of question at camp; kids are curious and many do not have a very strong filter. I prepared to give her my standard answer, that it did not matter why someone was at camp, that while they were here we were not concerned about that, but about having the most fun possible while we’re together. However, she surprised me by not giving me a chance to speak and continuing, enthusiastically saying, "Because that’s why I’m here; I’ve got all kinds of problems!"

Initially, I tried to downplay what she had just said, telling her I thought she was pretty cool regardless. On reflection later that day, I felt tremendously sad that such a wonderful young girl had been made to feel that way. With the benefit of perspective, however, I think she really nailed it. The Easter Seals camps are for people with problems, because everyone has problems.

We’re not perfect. But for a week, we can feel like we are, because that’s the effect Easter Seals has on so many people."
- Greg

Reflections from a past Camper:

"I started attending Easter Seals overnight camp when I was four. At that age, it was family camp,  which meant my mother,  father and sister were welcome to join and partake in all activities. Easter Seal camps are very special; they are specifically designed for children and adolescents with special needs. Everything is designed to be barrier free, even the playground and pool.

I began a new journey at six when I started going to camp on my own. This can be intimidating when you are child with a disability, but I always felt welcome and comfortable with the support of the camp counsellors. I continued to go to the same camp until I was 18.

Going to camp was one of the best experience I have ever had. Not only did I get to meet other children like myself,  but I learned a lot. I was able to join in on all the activities, even in my electric wheelchair. I not only learned about activities such as boating, swimming,  nature and arts and crafts (my favourite at the time), but I learned about myself as well. I developed skills that I still use today, particularly how to advocate for myself and how to direct my own care.

As campers, we were encouraged participate in all activities, regardless of perceived limitations.  This promoted confidence and adaptability. One of my favourite memories was being encouraged and gaining the confidence to singing in the talent show in front of the entire camp.  I am grateful and  blessed to have had the opportunity to go to such a wonderful camp. The energy, care and companionship  from the staff and other campers is something that will never leave me."

- Jess

To learn more about Easter Seals, please visit

Ottawa Community
Cube Gallery

Solo Gerald Trottier exhibition Wounded Creatures of Earth is coming soon to Ottawa’s Cube Gallery.  This exhibition will take place from March 1 to March 27.

Nancy Baele, former journalist at the Ottawa Citizen, reflects on Trottier’s wounded creatures and their provocative and stark nature:

‘They are paintings about human isolation and community.’

‘Every painting or drawing seems to ask “What is the nature of humans, those poor forked creatures of King Lear’s health, as they live and contemplate their lives?  What is their purpose, their end?”’

‘The paintings that respond to that question aren’t the kind most people want hanging over their sofa.  But they have balance, atmosphere, a sense of fate and destiny.  In a curious way they help us bear reality.’

‘Although Trottier’s paintings, particularly the Easter Series, have storytelling elements, they are less about stories than about the universal nature of the human condition – human follies, appetites, despair.'

Advanced Seminars

Reach would be pleased to organize speakers for Federal and Provincial Government offices through our Advanced Seminar Series Program. Please contact Joanne Silkauskas  at Reach Canada for more information on speaking at our seminars!  Topics include: Duty to Accommodate; Invisible Disabilities;  Adaptive Technology; Mental Health in the Work Place, among many others.
Find out More

Want to learn more about Reach? Have a topic you would to see covered in our next newsletter? We welcome comments, questions and concerns. Contact us today at 613.236.6636,, or e-mail us at   
The Reach Staff

Joanne Silkauskas, Executive Director

Meaza Negassi, Financial Administrator

Josie Fleming, Fundraising and Special Events Coordinator

The Reach Team

Jessica Franklin, Volunteer Administrative Assistant

Jennifer Mbang, Articling Student

Lawyer Referral Team
Copyright © 2016 Reach Canada, All rights reserved.

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