Summer 2021

Dates to Remember

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

  • Thursday, July 1 – Canada Day
  • Friday, July 2 – Program Closure
  • Monday, August 2 – Civic Holiday
  • Monday, September 6 – Labour Day/Rosh Hashanah
  • Tuesday, September 7 - Rosh Hashanah
  • Wednesday, September 17 – Yom Kippur
  • Monday, October 11 – Thanksgiving
  • Thursday, November 11 - Remembrance Day

G.R.O.W. News

Congratulations to Martina Erdstein who was accepted into medical school at McGill University in Montreal. Martina has been a pleasure to work with and we wish her all the best!

We are also saying goodbye to Cassie Halpenny who has taken a full-time O.T. position at Community Therapy Services, but will continue to be part of the G.R.O.W. program.

Congratulations to Natalie Johnson who is moving on to be the Communications Director at Westgate School. Thank you for all you have done for G.R.O.W. and SIL. Natalie hopes to still be a part of SIL.

G.R.O.W would like to welcome two U of M students Jenna Langlais and Lovejot Mann, who will be completing their advanced fieldwork placement for Occupational Therapy.

We also welcome Micky Mandlebaum who will be working as a facilitator for the summer months.

G.R.O.W. Board News

Congratulations to Karyn Lazareck who has received the 2021 Lieutenant Governor’s Make a Difference Community Award.

The award will be presented this summer we will keep you updated!!

G.R.O.W Day Program

Despite fewer participants attending the day program in the last few months, it is still business as usual. Participants and staff continue to diligently follow health and safety practices; wearing masks and frequent handwashing and sanitizing the G.R.O.W. houses throughout the day. Along with health and safety, participants have been practicing relaxation techniques during Healthy Mind and Body group work including yoga, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and mindful eating. Participants have been taking part in Money Smart activities, such as price comparison during Money Management. They have been able to apply these skills during weekly grocery shopping at Safeway. With the change of season, participants have also been reviewing the weekly weather forecast and discussing how to dress for summer weather.

We have been trying our best to get outdoors as much as possible to enjoy the warmer weather. Eating lunch and taking breaks outside have been strongly encouraged! As well, participants have been going on leisurely walks to Assiniboine Park, along Wellington Crescent and into Wolseley. The summer weather has also permitted for Thursday book and lyric club to occur outside which has been a welcomed opportunity for participants to see each other from both G.R.O.W. houses.

Facilitators continue to meet with participants who are unable to attend the program during weekly one-to-one Zoom sessions for goal work. As it is nice to see participants on Zoom it goes without saying that we are all looking forward to the return of participants, in person, when it is safe to do so!

G.R.O.W. Community Outings

Image of a G.R.O.W. Participant baking challah.

Friday Outings

GROW continues to take advantage of the nice weather and has been enjoying some outdoor activities when the weather permits. During our community outings, we have enjoyed getting Slurpee's at 7-Eleven, mini golfing, playing back yard games, baking challah and crafting on rainy days. Some upcoming activities include, golfing, water balloon games, lunch in the park and a splatter paint craft. We continue to follow all protocols of outdoor restrictions.

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

Zoom at G.R.O.W.

As we continue to Zoom our Program sessions twice a day, our facilitators continue our educational programming, games and activities, and a much-needed virtual place for everyone to connect and have fun. This past Spring/Summer we continued to teach of our regular program lessons including Money Management, Kitchen Tips and Social Skills, and we added more fun games including Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, 5 Second Song, Emoticons, and Deal or No Deal.

As always, we would like to thank an array of amazing special guest hosts including Constable Marty, Yoni Coodin, Aaron Black, Danielle Pahud, Nick Goszer, Stephanie Okabe, and Lindsey White. Your lectures, group activities, art classes, music sessions, and group exercises classes are greatly appreciated!

A very special thank you to Martina Erdstein, our amazing Program Facilitator. Your dedication, your creativity, and your hard work will be missed by everyone here at GROW. Good luck with your studies and we wish you all the best!

“This past Spring/Summer we continued to teach our regular program lessons including Money Management, Kitchen Tips and Social Skills, and we added more fun games including Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, 5 Second Song, Emoticons, and Deal or No Deal.

Vocation in G.R.O.W.

Image of Chef Rachel making a large order of honey cakes.
Image of Chef Rachel proudly completed a large order of honey cakes for a young girl's Bat Mitzvah.
Chef Rachel proudly completed a large order of honey cakes for a young girl's Bat Mitzvah.

Here at G.R.O.W. we take baking honey cakes to heart. This is more than a cake; it connects the Jewish community to Torah, holidays, significant events and the sweetness of life. As honey is a symbol of hope during Rosh Hashanah, the opportunity to be a part of the celebration of a Bat Mitzvah has done the same for our participant. Rachel proudly completed a large order of honey cakes for Julia’s Bat Mitzvah. As the world is on pause, this experience gave Rachel hope during this unprecedented time. "It was fun to finally do something during a time of craziness". Julia will be making a donation to the G.R.O.W. program as well as to the Ready, Set, Swim Foundation which provides swimming lessons to children, including newcomers to Canada. For more information about vocation, please call Vocational Coordinator Lucy Pontes-Botelho at 204-505-3799 or at

G.R.O.W. Supported Independent Living (SIL)

Happy summer everyone (finally!). A time to begin to see family/friends, to be outside, and to enjoy the nice warm weather. These are all things that the SIL staff and participants have been able to do recently. Facilitators and participants have kept things interesting by working on personal goals, learning new skills, and as the city begins to slowly open up, getting outside and attending socially distanced activities. For example, Jordan, a car fanatic, and facilitator have gone to Sunday evenings car shows on Portage Avenue. We excitedly anticipate a time we can all be together again soon! Until then, stay safe and a giant thank you to the participants and facilitators for continuing to go with the flow.

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

G.R.O.W in Gimli Program

The G.R.O.W. in Gimli committee is excited to share that the program will indeed run this summer! Like many things during this pandemic, the program will look a little different than usual as we have had to adapt. Instead of Gimli, the program will take place at Balmoral Hall in Winnipeg. Balmoral Hall offers many amenities that will allow for participants to develop a variety of life skills including meal planning, meal preparation, laundry and cleaning!

Sessions will run daily (Monday to Friday) over the course of two weeks. We will be running two, two-week sessions in July; July 5th- July 16th and July 19th-30th. Applicants have been contacted to confirm their spot at the program.

Two  Occupational Therapy students from the University of Manitoba Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences will be completing their advanced placement during the program. G.R.O.W. will be hiring a summer facilitator and will welcome day program facilitators to assist when needed.

G.R.O.W. Outreach

Image of Outreach activities over Zoom.

Outreach over zoom has been a huge success and we will continue to offer these events until we can get together in person. We have enjoyed activities such as cookie decorating, talent show, beading bracelets, games such as Deal or No Deal/Family Feud, and the biggest hit a Magic Show with Brian Glow!

Please reach out to Camille Ushy at with any questions about the program.

Image of a box of ingedients for the cookie decorating activity.

Upcoming Summer Outreach Dates

  • Saturday, July 10th
  • Thursday, July 29th
  • Saturday, August 14th
  • Thursday, August 26th