Next Step: The Special Olympics World Winter Games
- April 20, 2021
Two members of St.Amant’s community, Michael Milani and Jacqueline “Jackie” Trudeau, made the Special Olympics Team Canada (SOTC) 2022 Training Squad!
Michael and Jackie are alpine skiers. For years they have trained to compete in the Special Olympics World Winter Games. Now that they’ve made it on the SOTC 2022 Training Squad the Games are just at their fingertips.
“It’s a pretty awesome accomplishment,” smiles Jackie.
This is Jackie’s first time on the SOTC Training Squad. Michael, on the other hand, was previously on the SOTC Training Squad in 2017.
“I’m very proud of them,” says their coach Ron Struch. “Michael is quite skilled at turning at the gates, Jackie is fast, and they’re impressive skiers.”
In 2020, both athletes were on Team Manitoba. As part of Team Manitoba they competed in the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.
“Their performance at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games is what got them a spot on the (SOTC 2022) Training Squad,” says Ron.
At the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games, alpine skiers must compete in three disciplines: slalom, giant slalom, and super giant slalom (super-G). Michael got a medal in each discipline. Although Jackie only got a medal in two disciplines, she received a gold medal in the super giant slalom discipline, making her the best female giant slalom skier in Canada for the Special Olympics.
Michael Milani with his coach, Ron Struch.
Before qualifying for Team Manitoba and Team Canada, Michael and Jackie were in the Special Olympics Manitoba’s Team Edge Alpine Ski program. Ron has been coaching Michael since 2006 and Jackie since 2012.
“I’ve been free skiing since I was four and when I was a teenager I started training for the Special Olympics,” says Michael.
According to their coach, one of the reasons Michael and Jackie are such good skiers is because they’ve skied in the West. Manitoba’s snow hills are exceptionally small in comparison to the great, daunting mountains of Alberta and British-Columbia.
Due to the pandemic, the athletes of the SOTC 2022 Training Squad are training virtually.
“The Training Squad has a website that gives us access to training videos,” explains Jackie. “The website tracks our nutrition, our fitness and our mindfulness.”
In addition to training virtually, the athletes of the SOTC 2022 Training Squad have been training individually at home or at the gym. Being on the SOTC 2022 Training Squad means that they’ve committed to training five times a week, which is a more intense training program than what they followed when they were on Team Manitoba. However, their coach is confident that they’ll easily adjust.
“Michael is a very focused athlete and Jackie is a physical training guru,” says Ron.
The Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held in Russia in 2022.
“It’ll be a blast,” says Jackie. “I’ve never been to Russia, I can’t wait to see what kind of hills they have up there.”
Jackie with her gold medal.
Update to St.Amant Families – April 16, 2021
- April 16, 2021
Dear St.Amant Families,
We seem to be in a bit of a waiting pattern as we watch the third wave in other provinces; at St.Amant we are continuing to wait and prepare in case Manitoba starts to see a rapid increase in cases. This week we had one Covid-19 positive in a staff person who works in our Autism Programs. That person is recovering at home. We continue to make vaccine appointments as soon as people we support are eligible and are also continuing to educate and support staff to make their appointments.
I want to thank everyone who was able to join us for the first virtual Family Town Hall on Wednesday evening – it was so nice to see some familiar faces. If you weren’t able to join, you can view the Town Hall here https://bit.ly/3wUVCqG. We also wanted to share the mental health and wellness resources the Jennifer Kilimnik referred to:
- If you just need to talk or you have specific questions or concerns, there is a free, 24-hour “warm line” through Sara Riel: 204-942-9276
- Check with your health insurer to see if they provide coverage for counselling, such as EAP (employee assistance program)
- If you would like to register for the Short Course in Mindful Self-Compassion: https://compassionaction.ca/eventscalendar/online-mindful-self-compassion-3/ and you can connect directly to me if you require a bursary to attend at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- There is a free session being delivered on Empathy & Compassion lead by Andrew Terhoch and Jennifer Kilimnik to explore the role of compassion in caregiving. https://www.cham.mb.ca/media/news/CHAM-Empathy-and-Compassion-FINAL.pdf
- To learn more about mindful self-compassion and access online self-compassion meditations check out the websites for Dr. Kristin Neff https://self-compassion.org/category/exercises/ and Dr. Chris Germer https://chrisgermer.com/meditations/
- For a phone app that gives you free access to thousands of meditations check out insight timer, available in your app store for ios and android, or at insighttimer.com.
Thanks again for joining us and we will plan another family town hall for the early fall
Stay safe and well,
President & CEO
Update to Health & Transition Services Families – April 16, 2021
Dear Health & Transition Services Families,
Although this week’s spring snowfall delayed things, I am happy to share that our team is busy getting ready to restart outdoor visits when the weather allows. Members of our team will be in touch with you once the plans are finalized and we are ready to begin booking these visits. Until then, visits will continue in both our indoor space and outdoor shelter.
People supported in HTS remain healthy, and some have signed up for the upcoming virtual activities organized by Volunteer Services. The Volunteer Services team has done a wonderful job in creatively engaging everyone virtually over the past year, and the last few events have seen some of the highest attendance!
Thank you to those who attended the town hall and submitted questions. To watch a recording of the event, please click here: https://bit.ly/3wUVCqG.
I know that the recent news about the third wave and increasing cases of COVID-19 around us are unsettling. Please know that we continue to keep your loved ones’ health and safety a top priority, and that our staff have become experts in this important work over the past year. Every day I am reminded of how much our team cares about the people you love through their words, actions, and willingness to participate in continuous improvements to our safety practices.
I wish you all a pleasant weekend, and encourage all of you to continue with the fundamentals of staying safe.
Director, Health & Transition Services
COVID Positive within Autism Programs (April 11, 2021)
- April 11, 2021
Dear Autism Programs Families:
We have become aware that an employee working in the Minnetonka Autism Programs classroom has tested positive for COVID-19. We are working with the St.Amant Occupational Health Services team and Manitoba Public Health to complete the contact tracing process. If your child is deemed a close contact, Public Health will reach out to you by phone.
We continue to ensure that the safety precautions we have proactively put in place are followed, which include:
- All staff screening for symptoms before attending work
- All children screening for symptoms and possible close contact before attending the classroom
- Staff wearing Universal Personal Protective Equipment, consisting of a procedural mask and eye protection, at all times when within six feet of children or other staff
- Enhanced cleaning protocols in the classroom
- Following all up-to-date Public Health guidelines
We suggest that all families continue to monitor their child and people within their household for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and self-isolate / get tested if you feel ill.
I want to thank you for your continued support and diligence everyday with screening. We are working hard to ensure that your children and families are safe every day.
Dr. Kerri Walters, C. Psych., BCBA-D
Director Autism Programs and Psychology Services
Update to H&TS Families – April 9, 2021
- April 9, 2021
Dear H&TS Families,
There are currently no active cases of COVID-19 at Health & Transition Services.
With double digit temperatures, we’ve had many people get outside and enjoy the warm spring weather while we take care to remain diligent in the face of variants and increasing cases around us. It has been wonderful to see and hear how the change in season positively impacts both the people we support and staff. The Buhler Gardens will definitely be a busy (and safe) place this summer!
All of you can also play a key role in ensuring the health and safety of your loved ones is a top priority. I encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated! As of today, people 60 years and older, and First Nations people aged 40 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine. As shared last week, designated family caregivers of those supported in H&TS St.Amant are eligible for the vaccine. If you are asked to bring a letter confirming your status as a designated family caregiver, please let us know and we can make that letter available.
You can book your vaccine appointment at 1-844-626-8222 or online at https://protectmb.ca/making-your-appointment-is-easy/.