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National AccessAbility Week 2024

A group of diverse women pose together, smiling and making a heart shape with their hands. Title reads National AccessAbility Week 2024, Forward Together: Accessibility and Inclusion for All. The Empower logo is in the lower right corner.

National AccessAbility Week begins today!

This year, the theme is “Forward Together: Accessibility and Inclusion for All,” emphasizing the need for collective efforts to create a barrier-free Canada.

Join us this week in celebrating the valuable contributions and leadership of people with disabilities in Canada and the work of allies, organizations and communities that are removing barriers to accessibility and championing inclusion. The strength of a country lies in the diversity of its people and we can all be a part of ongoing efforts to become a more accessible and disability inclusive Canada.

Check out our social media this week for accessibility tips from Empower’s staff, through the lens of the services they provide!

May Reminder – Member Services Calendar

A white desktop calendar sits on a stone wall with grass behind. Title reads Member Services Calendar. The Empower logo is in the lower right corner.

Friendly Reminder for May!

With a busy schedule of activities and groups, many new in the last few months, our calendar is a great place to see everything that’s happening for Members in the upcoming months – check out our activities, topics for recurring groups and info on one-time events.

The calendar will be posted here every month and will show future months as well, to help you plan your participation!

Empower’s Member Services Calendar

For questions or information, please email Sherri or call 709-722-4031.

Happy Administrative Professionals Day!

On a desk with pink flowers, a keyboard and a pink notebook, there is a latte with a heart in the foam. Title reads Happy Administrative Professionals Day! The Empower logo is in the lower right corner.

Today we recognize the enormous contributions of Administrative Professionals!

Administrative Professionals work in many diverse roles that support their organizations and coworkers in many ways. Take a moment today to show your appreciation for all they do!

(You rock and we are grateful for you and all you do, Nina, Edna and Sharon!)

Volunteer Spotlight

Photo of Mandy Penney. There are white party lights behind. Title reads National Volunteer Week. The Empower logo is in the lower right corner.

Introducing Mandy Penney! Mandy started volunteering with Empower in fund development in the fall of 2017, then joined the Inclusion Volunteer Crew in the winter of 2018. She started as an employee in 2018, working with InclusionNL in various roles from then until 2023. She joined the Board in August 2023 as the Vice Chair and once again volunteers with the Inclusion Volunteer Crew.

Mandy also volunteers as the Secretary and NL Representative of DAWN Canada and a member of the Hummingbird Feminist Disability Coalition, the Clerk for NewfoundSand Co-op, and a member of the Patient Advisory Council/NL Support.

Mandy says “volunteering has allowed me to demonstrate the skills that I have developed from my education and life experiences as a woman with a disability. I believe that volunteering has provided me with many opportunities. I have developed friendships, as well as gained employment and professional development opportunities. I have developed new skills and interests from volunteering, including accessibility awareness, social justice, entrepreneurship, and feminism. In my free time I enjoy learning new skills, such as coding, working on my business ideas, crafting, spending time with my friends and cat, Tetley.”

Staff Volunteer Spotlight

Photo of Stephen Quinn, Empower's Career Services Coordinator. Text reads staff spotlight - Stephen Quinn. Title reads National Volunteer Week. The Empower logo is in the upper right corner.

Many of you know Stephen Quinn, Empower’s long-standing (over fifteen years!) Career Services Coordinator. But did you know that volunteering is interwoven in almost every aspect of his life? Stephen says:

“I started volunteering at Empower in 2003. My friend Dougie and I walked in looking for Joey Power. Although everyone had moved out, we stayed for a coffee. I’m still drinking coffee here!

Volunteering has been a big deal for me. I met my wife while volunteering, I found a career while volunteering and volunteering gave me the best friend I ever had.

I have also volunteered with the Hoyles Home and Pleasant View Towers. My volunteer work has given me so much. Mostly, it gave me a sense of the community I live in.

I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for Empower.”

Volunteer Spotlight

Photo of Freddie Tucker behind a garden box in the Empower accessible garden. There are white party lights behind. Title reads National Volunteer Week. The Empower logo is in the lower right corner.

Say hi to Freddie Tucker. He became involved with Empower through his sister Sherri, our Member Services Coordinator. He’s been a volunteer with us for two years, building raised garden boxes and assisting at the Frosty Festival. In his free time he likes to play pool, hunt, fish, hike, lift weights and do yoga.

“After graduation I joined the Canadian Armed Forces as a combat engineer, and served 16 years with deployments in Afghanistan and Bosnia. During this time, I married my wife Tannis and had two wonderful children. After my service concluded, our family moved back to Newfoundland and I became a stay at home parent.

Upon my release with the forces, volunteering fostered a sense of fulfillment and purpose. The lifetime of skills that I learned as a combat engineer are utilized to assist others and provide a service to the community. This act of giving back instills a sense of pride and satisfaction in making a tangible difference in the lives of others.”

Volunteer Spotlight

A photo of Joy Ejabena smiling in front of the ocean. There are white party lights behind. Title reads National Volunteer Week. The Empower logo is in the lower right corner.

This is volunteer Joy Ejabena. She became involved with Empower in 2023, as an intern during her graduate program. She also volunteers with the Autism Society, St. John’s Status of Women Council and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Eastern NL. She loves to travel and learn new recipes.

“Volunteering has provided me with a sense of fulfillment and purpose, knowing that I am making a meaningful contribution to my community and the lives of others.

I am a mom of two boys and a child and youth care advocate, my life revolves around creating a nurturing and supportive environment for my family while also advocating for the wellbeing of children in my community. I am grateful for the love and support they provide me everyday.”

Volunteer Spotlight

A photo of Susan Barrett over a background of white party lights. Title reads National Volunteer Week. The Empower logo is in the lower right corner.

Meet Susan Barrett. She has been a Board Member of Empower since June of 2023. We assisted her stepson in finding full-time employment, so she decided that she wanted to give back. She also volunteers on the Board of The Children’s Grief Foundation of Canada and is the Secretary for the Board of Independent Living Canada. She loves to camp, travel and spend time with her two German Shepherds.

“I live with my husband and my 21 year old stepson and I raise chickens. I have been a licensed Funeral Director for 24 years and currently work for an Ontario based Trust Company, working with Funeral Homes in Atlantic Canada providing pre-arranged funeral funding.

In my volunteering, the people that I have met are definitely a highlight! But it also feels wonderful to support such important groups and their causes.”

Staff Volunteer Spotlight

A photo of Joby Fleming, Empower's Advocacy Services Manager sits over colorful party lights in the background. Title reads National Volunteer Week and text reads Staff Spotlight - Joby Fleming. The Empower logo is in the upper right corner.

Many of you will recognize Joby Fleming as Empower’s Advocacy Services Manager, having worked with us for over 9 years! Joby has worked and volunteered in the disability community for 25 years and currently volunteers with the Town of Portugal Cove/St. Phillips Inclusion Committee.

Joby says “I am passionate about working to make our community more inclusive. I also take every opportunity to meet with community leaders to advocate for more inclusive practices. Over the years I have had many rewarding experiences and have worked with some amazing advocates both here in our province and across Canada. I have learned so much and supported so many along the way. Volunteering has opened so many doors for me and I found what I was meant to do in my career. I feel that both my work and volunteer experience is quite rewarding.

In my free time I like spending time with my friends/family, especially my wife and our two boys. I also enjoy going for walks with our dog, Bailey.”

Volunteer Spotlight

A photo of Paul Morgan over a background of white glitter lights. Title reads National Volunteer Week. The Empower logo is in the lower right corner.

Say hello to Paul Morgan. He became involved with Empower through CODNL and other people who had other disabilities. He’s been involved with us for over twenty years, serving on many committees, such as the Garden Committee, Governance and Nominations Committee, Peer Support, Volunteers, Board of Directors and now Acting Board Chair. He enjoys swimming, bowling and playing cards and other games.

“I was born and raised in Kelligrews, CBS and attended St. Peter’s until the teacher discovered that I could not see. In 1996, I went to the Halifax School for the Blind and learned braille and other subjects. In Halifax I was a Boy Scout, Adventurer and a Rover which was very interesting. I also did door duty and answered the telephone and assisted people that came into the school.

I volunteer because it is nice to interact with others with disabilities and help them out whenever I can.”