Spring 2021

Dates to Remember

G.R.O.W. will be closed:

  • Monday, May 24th - Victoria Day
  • Thursday, July 1st – Canada Day
  • Monday, August 2nd - Civic Day

G.R.O.W. News

We continue to provide critical services to participants, and advocate for additional services as needed.

Please reach out if we can assist in any way or if circumstances have changed.

As clinics and pharmacies receive the vaccine, please be aware of any opportunities for getting the vaccine that may present. Dr. Michelle Feierstein,’s clinic is offering to vaccinate participants and family members as they become eligible, more details will be communicated when available.

Staff Highlight

The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists Fieldwork Educator Award of Excellence

The purpose of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists Fieldwork Educator Award of Excellence is to acknowledge the contribution of a practice educator who demonstrates exceptional performance in student practice teaching and in student mentoring in the workplace, and who represents a gold standard in inspiring students to passionately pursue professional practice.

Cindy Yamamoto, part of our G.R.O.W. Team is a 2021 recipient of the Fieldwork Educator Award of Excellence offered by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists. The award is given annually to one individual per Canadian institution offering occupational therapy practicums. G.R.O.W. continues to be a leader in student mentoring and teaching in the workplace and is dedicated to involvement in the education of future professionals in the area of disability studies and autism practice.

Congratulations Cindy from the Board, Staff, Participants and Families.

Participant Highlight

Image of a quote from Rachel, a GROW program participant.

Thank you Rachel!!!

G.R.O.W Day Program

While at G.R.O.W, participants continue to diligently follow health and safety practices by wearing masks, frequent handwashing and sanitizing the house throughout the day. Along with health and safety, participants have had the opportunity to complete other home management tasks such as learning about kitchen gadgets/utensils, fire safety, resetting clocks and of course… cleaning! We have spent time learning the difference between Needs and Wants as well as price comparison using flyers through various money management activities. Themed book and lyric clubs have also been a weekly highlight. Recently, participants have had the opportunity to prepare HelloFresh meals, a meal kit delivery service which was a refreshing change in the kitchen. To help support local businesses, participants ordered from various Winnipeg restaurants including Falafel Place, Monstrosity Burger, Stella’s and Leopold’s Tavern. Doing so, allowed for the opportunity to learn how to order from food delivery apps like SkipTheDishes and place takeout orders over the phone.

The Rady Centre generously lent exercise equipment to G.R.O.W while the facility was shut down due to Code Red restrictions which was greatly appreciated! Participants took part in circuits in the basement using the equipment along with virtual workouts including Zumba, yoga, and cardio exercises. Participants were happy to return to the Rady upon it’s reopening at the beginning of March.

G.R.O.W Community Outings

GROW has been taking advantage of the nice weather and enjoying some outdoor activities. During our community outings, we have enjoyed visiting the Zoo, a walk to Sargent Sundae, The Forks and roasting s ’mores over a bonfire in the back yard. As we head into spring and summer, we will continue to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Some upcoming activities include, mini golf, Forte Whyte, walk in the Assiniboine Forest, picnic in the park, and a BBQ with a Bocce ball and Bean Bag toss tournament. We are inviting participants who are not attending G.R.O.W. to join us on our outings. We continue to follow all protocols of outdoor restrictions.

Image of GROW participants at the Zoo.
Image of GROW participants at The Forks.
Image of GROW participants at a backyard bonfire.

Zoom at G.R.O.W.

As we partake in Zoom sessions twice a day, our facilitators continue our educational programming such as money management sessions, kitchen tips, cooking videos, and reviews of Zoom etiquette. Additionally, we have lots of fun playing a variety of games including Charades, Scattergories, and Hangman, as well we have introduced Participant Spotlight sessions once per week in which the participants have shared many wonderful photos and facts about themselves.

Image of GROW participants on a Zoom call.

In addition to our daily education and engagement, we have welcomed several special guests including radio host Ace Burpee, Jansen Harkins of The Winnipeg Jets, Mitchell Lambson of The Winnipeg Goldeyes, G.R.O.W. founder Karyn Lazareck, firefighter Derek Grignon, police officer Constable Marty, and comedian Adam Schwartz. We hope to host more guests in the weeks to come!

We would like to thank Akiva’s mom, Dr. Michelle Feierstein, for a special appearance on Zoom to provide us with COVID-19 vaccine information. As well, a special thanks to Mikhail and Martina for organizing and hosting our Zoom sessions.

Image of GROW participants on a Zoom call with Special Guests.
Image of GROW participants on a Zoom call with Special Guests.
Image of GROW participants on a Zoom call with Special Guests.
Image of GROW participants on a Zoom call with Special Guests.

Vocation in G.R.O.W.

Despite a very different year for vocation, this additional time has offered the participants a chance to explore other opportunities. Some of which include the volunteer training program at Winnipeg Humane Society. The training begins with a virtual volunteer interview followed by a series of training modules and quizzes. We are proud to share that Allie has successfully completed the training and is now ready to fulfill her role once the restrictions are lifted! It's been a period of resilience building and improving technology skills for all. This is a great example of how one could embrace change and make the absolute best of a challenging situation. In the meantime, she is working on creating the best G.R.O.W. puppy environment for our new fur friend Larry. For any inquires feel free to call the Vocational Coordinator Lucy Pontes-Botelho at 204-505-3799 or email at lbotelho@growourway.ca.

Image of Allie with her new puppy friend, 'Larry'.

G.R.O.W. Supported Independent Living

This March marks one year of Covid, changing everyone’s world. The SIL staff and participants continue to show up, put in incredible work towards their goals, and keep persevering! G.R.O.W. has been so impressed by the creative ways the participants and staff have made use of their time together. Participants have been getting creative in the kitchen, learning new home management skills, and getting outside with this beautiful spring weather!  

If you are interested in learning more about SIL, or would like to get involved please contact Natalie at njohnson@growourway.ca

Excerpt from Protect MB:

Ruth Joseph misses hanging out with her boyfriend and friends at her Winnipeg condo, where the 35-year-old likes to play board games and card games. “I like Monopoly Deal: it’s quicker than the actual board game.” She also misses going to the gym and hanging out at her favourite coffee shop. COVID halted Ruth’s volunteer jobs at a personal care home and Sam’s Place bookstore and café. But Ruth continues to volunteer along with her mother, Susan Cearns, 66, who is retired, with a breakfast program at an elementary school.

Image of Ruth and her mom, 'Susan'.

What Susan misses from before COVID is seeing family members: “I haven’t been able to see my grandchildren except from afar since November,” says Susan, who lives in a house in East St. Paul, outside of Winnipeg. When COVID hit in March 2020, they decided that Ruth would temporarily move in with Susan. Ruth says she moved in because her mother was “lonely.” Susan says she felt nervous that the support workers who normally help Ruth at her condo with meal planning, grocery shopping and other chores could bring a risk of COVID exposure.

Because Ruth has Down syndrome, her mother fears Ruth is more likely to be hospitalized and more likely to die if she gets COVID-19. Along with other disability advocates, Susan has been asking the provincial government to ensure people with Down syndrome are prioritized for the vaccine. Right now they’re eligible in the 50 to 64 age range, meaning Ruth will have to wait for her age range to be called.

Susan has her vaccination appointment booked for mid-April. “I’m signed up. I’m happy. But it’s not for two weeks. It’s the only time in my life I wished I were older,” says Susan. “If I could, I would give my appointment to Ruth. Like other parents of young adults with Down syndrome, I want her to be vaccinated.” Once Susan has gotten the shot and two weeks have passed, she looks forward to feeling a little more comfortable when she goes to the grocery store and pharmacy. “I hope my daughter in Calgary can come home this summer. Her trip home for Christmas was cancelled,” says Susan. “What I’m really looking forward to is resuming our weekly Sunday dinners when it’s safe to do so. My kids in Winnipeg and grandkids normally come over then.”

As the pandemic eases, Susan hopes that people will be understanding as everyone resumes their normal activities in their own time: “Be kind and understanding when people are nervous about getting together. Some may still be coming in by Zoom or turning down social invitations. I may be one of those.” Susan also reminds people who are deciding if they want the vaccination that the goal is to keep the community safe: “You’re not only getting vaccinated for yourself, but to keep your kids, your neighbours, and your grandmother safe. There’s a whole group of people around you who you’re keeping safe.” That will let both Ruth and Susan get back to the activities that they miss.

G.R.O.W in Gimli Program

The G.R.O.W. in Gimli committee continues to meet and plan in hopes of operating the program in Summer 2021. The committee is awaiting changes to current restrictions from Public Health to proceed with the program. Currently, the potential dates being considered for the program are as follows:

  • Session #1: Sunday, July 4th to Saturday, July 17th
  • Session #2: Sunday, July 25th to Saturday, August 7th
  • Session #3: Sunday, August 15th to Saturday, August 28th

An alternative daily life skills program held in Winnipeg (from Monday to Friday) over a 2-week period is being considered if G.R.O.W. in Gimli is unable to take place this summer.

G.R.O.W. Outreach

Image of the GROW Outreach on Zoom.

We are incredibly pleased to announce that outreach is being offered over zoom and will continue to do so until we can once again meet in person. Some events that participants have been able to enjoy these past few months are 90’s Finish That Lyric and Dance Party, Jets Game, Crazy Bingo, and Glow Party with Guess the Emoji Game. Please reach out to Camille Ushy (cushy@growourway.ca) with any questions about the program.

Upcoming Spring Session Outreach Dates:

  • April 10th
  • April 24th
  • May 8th
  • May 29th
  • June 12th
  • June 26th

Please feel free to send a write up or pictures of any stories you may want to share in our next quarterly newsletter!

Have a great weekend everyone stay safe.