Champions Career Centre: Champions team takes Mental Health First Aid Certification Champions Career Centre: Champions Career Centre: Diversity Champion - TD Canada Trust Champions Career Centre: Using assistive technology to increase productivity

Congratulations to our Executive Director Lisa Moon!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lisa has been selected as a finalist for the 2013 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) Community Impact Awards. This is a testament to the hard-work and dedication that Lisa has shown over her 13 years at Champions. 

Congratulations Lisa, you deserve it!

The Community Impact Awards will be presented on December 3, 2013 (IDPD) as part of the main IDPD celebration, 3-6pm at the Jack Singer Concert Hall lobby, Calgary. There are 10 finalists and 3 awards are given. Fingers crossed for Lisa!

Calgary IDPD Community Impact Awards

The purpose of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is to celebrate the accomplishments, achievements and contributions of persons in the community with disabilities. 364 days a year individuals, agencies and organizations work tirelessly to build capacity in the community, create awareness and inclusion in our city and across the world. IDPD is day where we step back from advocacy and celebrate who we are, what we do and the community that we live in. To further satisfy that mandate, the Calgary IDPD Planning Committee has created the Calgary IDPD Impact Awards. 

About the AwardsThese awards are intended to highlight outstanding contributions to community made by persons with disabilities, spanning a broad selection of areas. Given in tandem with the Premier’s Council Awards, we hope that the Calgary IDPD Impact Awards will add to the celebration and create an awareness of the value of all of our citizens. 

For more information visit the IDPD website

Champions team takes Mental Health First Aid Certification

Monday, November 18, 2013

In September the entire Champions team became certified in Mental Health First Aid with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. The 2 day workshop covered mental health conditions such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders and crisis situations such as panic attacks, suicidal behaviour and reactions to traumatic events. 

Facilitated by Amanda Osborne, who is the Associate Director for The Organization for Bipolar Affective Disorders (OBAD) the team was led through these topics with practical examples and role playing scenarios that will help them better serve Champions clients who are affected by mental illnesses. Champions was happy to partner with the Learning Disabilities Association for these workshops and wishes to thank the Muttart Foundation for sponsoring the delivery of these workshops. 

The next workshop will be on November 28 and 29, 2013 at The Kahanoff Centre, Calgary. Please email Amanda Osborne for more details or visit the OBAD website.

Fast Facts about Mental Illness (from the Canadian Mental Health Association)

Who is affected?
• Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
  20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
  Anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment.
  Almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem.
 Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community.
 The economic cost of mental illnesses in Canada for the health care system was estimated to be at least $7.9 billion in 1998 – $4.7 billion in care, and $3.2 billion in disability and early death.
 An additional $6.3 billion was spent on uninsured mental health services and time off work for depression and distress that was not treated by the health care system.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is on Tuesday, December 3. 

You are invited to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities Celebration – Defining Community! 

What does this year’s event include?  We have 2 events for the day:

Date:                     December 3rd, 2013
Time:                    12- 1:30 and 3- 6:00 pm
Location:             Lobby of the Jack Singer Concert Hall, Calgary (205 8th Ave SE)
Details:         12-1:30 pm – Pride in Citizenship Powered by Petcha Kucha presented in partnership with the Calgary Public Library – IDPD hosts a discussion panel of citizens and experts on a variety of issues affecting Pride in Citizenship of persons with disabilities including Housing, Human Rights, Poverty Reduction and Sexual Health.  This is a lunch & learn event so bring your lunch!

3- 6:00 pm - An Evening of Celebration – A cocktail reception (refreshments & cash bar) showcasing the talents, contributions and successes of persons with disabilities in Calgary. This will include a showcase of 8-10 participants who are active in their community as artists, musicians, dancers, authors, entrepreneurs, volunteers or students, as well as live entertainment and short films in partnership with PictureThis! Film Festival. The Calgary Community Impact Awards and Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities Awards will also be given out during a live presentation. 

Diversity Champion - TD Canada Trust

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

This month we are pleased to recognize TD Canada Trust as our Diversity Champion, our monthly feature where we acknowledge forward-thinking businesses and leaders who embrace inclusion and diversity in our community.

In late October, Champions  Career Centre was pleased to host a ‘Meet and Greet’ session featuring TD Canada Trust. ‘Meet and Greets’ are informal and open forums where Champions clients and community partners are invited to meet and talk with HR and hiring managers from Calgary businesses at the Champions office downtown.

Attendees arrived promptly and were dressed to impress. All were armed with resumes and portfolios ready to meet Natasha, TD Canada Trust’s Recruitment Officer and the facilitator of this event.  The positive attitudes and confidence that exuded from the group was outstanding. Natasha began by presenting an overview of TD Canada Trust, the opportunities for employment and its hiring process. She also gave a personal view of her own career path.  She then gave attendees an opportunity to meet with her one-on-one in a 5 minute screening interview.

“I am really glad that I had the opportunity to participate at the Champions event.  It was a great experience as I had the opportunity to meet candidates from different walks of life.” Natasha commented.

Some attendees were invited for second interviews and were given career advice and constructive feedback. Attendees were also directed to complete the online application and assessment for future consideration.

Champions is striving to open doors for job seekers and welcomed attendees from other agencies and community partners. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with TD Canada Trust by putting the right candidates forward and working together to create opportunities and promote success for our clients. 

TD Canada Trust’s approach to diversity in the workplace sets an example to others, “We are working to create and sustain a diverse and inclusive workplace that reflects the people, cultures and languages of the communities we serve: a place where people can be their authentic selves and flourish without barriers. This is how we will ensure that the TD of tomorrow is even stronger than the TD of today.” Visit their website

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Using assistive technology to increase productivity

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

When Gaylord experienced retinal detachment as a result of his diabetes, his life changed. Suddenly the vision in his right eye deteriorated and there was little that surgeries or medications could do to prevent this. A deterioration in his left eye followed and this gave him no choice but to change his career path as an electrician. A job he loved for its hands on and practical nature. 

Thinking outside the box, Gaylord saw a connection between becoming a mortgage broker and his previous trade and had the courage and determination to pursue this idea. In this new position Gaylord provides a valuable service to his clients, with the added bonus of expertise both in mortgages and with his background in trades in the building industry too. But what of his vision?

With his new visual impairment, Gaylord was struggling to read and fill in forms, and get through the paperwork required to provide the best and most efficient service for his clients and to run his own business.

“Filling in the forms that usually would take an hour, took me half a day or even more. I just couldn’t see and I had no help.  I decided enough was enough and contacted my local MLA Alana DeLong to see if anyone could help me. And that’s when I found Champions.”With the help of Lori James, Champions’ Client Services manager, Gaylord was able to find the help he needed. Lori helped Gaylord to apply for Disability Related Employment Supports (DRES) funding. DRES is a provincial government program which provides assistance to people with disabilities, and to employers, to help make the workplace more accessible. Modifications may include specialized software, workstation modifications, accessible work areas and washrooms, or ASL interpreters. In Gaylord’s case he needed assistive technology.

On the service he received from Champions Gaylord commented, “Lori was just great, anytime we needed anything or had any questions, she was there like a dirty shirt, she was really excellent.”

Lori assisted Gaylord in his DRES application, guiding him through the paperwork, communication with Alberta Human Services and the requirements including letters of support and medical documentation. As for Gaylord, he’s the proud new owner of a Merlin 24” HD  and a Compact HD7 electronic magnifier which is a portable device he can take when visiting clients.

Now that Gaylord has been able to get back into the workforce, his productivity has increased by 60%. His new assistive technology enables him to see more clients which, in a commission based job, has led to more security.  Outside of work Gaylord and his wife are happier and more at ease. The anger and frustration as a result of his vision loss and the resulting barriers he faced at work are no longer there. He’s proud to be helping people with their housing decisions and is proud of himself for being pro-active and breaking through his personal barriers.

We’re proud of you too Gaylord, congratulations.

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