The HOT Wire

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Volume 7

HOT Wire
Spring 2009 From the Desk of the ED – Cindy Accardi
Hi Again! Since the last HOT Wire quite a bit has been happening in and around RCH. At the end of October Patricia Grant, CHKC’s Director of Training Programs, followed her heart to Florida! Taking Patty’s place are Jennifer Robbins as the Administrative Coordinator and Andrea Radcliffe as the Seniors and Training Coordinator. Congratulations to Jennifer and Andrea. A welcome party will take place at CHKC on May 20 between 4pm and 8pm. As well, CHKC honoured ICICI Bank Canada on April 9th with its 5th Annual Award for outstanding corporate support. The lunch took place at the Royal York with close to 400 people in attendance, including consumers, ICICI’s incoming chief executive officer Chandra Kochhar and Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty as the keynote speaker. Congratulations to ICICI Bank Canada for their continued support of CHKC and special thanks to the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons. Until the next edition of the HOT Wire, happy spring everyone. Winter might have finally left us!

Cindy Accardi, Executive Director RCH and CHKC Consumer Profile – Craig MacLean
Hello! Who is Craig MacLean you might ask? Well, let me tell you about him! Craig is Deaf-Blind from nerve damage. His hearing and vision is getting worse, but he does not let that stand in his way! Craig is originally from Vancouver, BC, and now lives in Etobicoke (West Toronto).

In Vancouver Craig was involved heavily with the BC Association of the Deaf-Blind, serving as President, Vice-President, Social Director as well as Deaf-Blind Awareness Week Chairperson twice. Craig is also involved with CNSDB. Did you know that? He has been involved since 1998, serving president twice as well as vice-president. Craig loves giving workshops! He has done a few for CHKC. But, did you know he has also given workshops at the Helen Keller World Conference in Colombia in 1997 and New Zealand in 2001? In 2002, Craig married Carrie, an intervenor, and five years later, they had a beautiful son, Chase. Chase is now 2. During the day you will find Craig taking care of Chase, while evenings is for family time. Weekends are busy as that is when Craig works. He tutors as many as 6 students. And, Craig was just hired temporarily to teach ASL at a Deaf Organization. Craig’s personal goal for now is to become more involved with the DeafBlind community again. Craig wants Deaf-Blind people to get what they need, when they need it. Ask and you shall receive!

Board Profile – Kim Wrigley-Archer
Hi! My name is Kim Wrigley-Archer. People ask me if I am related to the Wrigley’s gum company. I wish!! The only relationship is between my mouth and their gum. I have been on the RCH Board for a decade and am proud to see the changes in recent years. Thanks to MCSS funding, I now have access to intervenors through RCH’s Community Outreach. I have also been on the CNSDB Board for the last 5 years. I grew up in Scarborough. I attended classes for hard of hearing students from nursery school to grade 4. I was mainstreamed into my local school from grade 5 on. It was hard because there were no supports in place. I found out about my Usher Syndrome II when I was almost 21 years old. I decided to go to Brock University to prepare for my future. It was very hard because I could not hear the lectures and nearly dropped out. Luckily, I met my husband, Bruce, at Brock and he was a big help in encouraging me to stay in school. I appreciate having a good education. It is a very important privilege I wish for all deaf-blind persons.

After months of job-hunting, I got a position in a large retail company. The company trained me to work in computer systems analysis and programming. I worked for 3 large companies over the years. Eventually, I wanted to do something different. In 2000, I enrolled parttime at Ryerson University’s School of Disability Studies. I loved this education! It is NOT about “how to live with my disability”. It is NOT about rehabilitation. It is about how society (people) responds towards persons with disabilities and why. It was very empowering just like when women take Women’s’ Studies or black people take Black Studies. Many of the Disability Studies courses are online and I did them on my computer. In the classroom courses, the professors were very accommodating. RCH provided intervenors for the last two classroom courses I took. In some ways, Disability Studies has some of the same principles as Deaf Studies (but without the sign language). Bruce and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary this fall. We have a beautiful teenage daughter and a cute 2-year-old dog named Sam. He is a schnoodle (half schnauzer and half poodle). He has curly hair just like me!

Intervenor Profile – Gordon Johnston
Hello everyone! I have worked as an Intervenor at RCA from the time it opened its doors many years ago. My introduction to intervention occurred about one year before that when I listened to a deaf-blind individual being interviewed on CBC radio. I was hooked. Over the years I have done a number of interesting things both paid and as a volunteer. The volunteer jobs have included sitting on a couple of boards such as the Friendship Centre, a downtown agency that assisted people living on the streets in downtown Toronto. Another fun volunteer gig was in a LINC class where I taught an ESL class in sporting terms and sayings once a year. My working life has included a wide selection of jobs from working up north with Falconbridge, a mining company, to Second Harvest, a Toronto organization that helped supply organizations like soup kitchens who feed the hungry in our community. My passions are beekeeping and gardening. At my house 6 months of the year we grow almost all our own vegetables. For the last number of years I have participated in the Garden Club at CHKC as an intervenor. Gardening is good for you in many ways including the fact that it is one of the best

physical activities that you can do. Beekeeping was and will be again, in the future, a passion that combines my interest in the environment and where our food comes from. My partner Sylvia and I also try to rescue the occasional stray cat that wanders into our lives. One of these cats was adopted by one of the tenants at RCA. We also adopted two ourselves and they are named Tom and Simon.

The Spirit of Intervenors: The Quest Continues
This year marked the third time intervenors from across Ontario, and beyond, had the opportunity to come together in a learning environment. Niagara Falls was the venue for the conference which took place from February 18 – 21, 2009. This year’s event was the largest convention of its kind for intervenors with more than 300 people in attendance. The symposium was organized by the Deafblind Coalition of Ontario with RCH as the lead agency. For the third year, the Minister of Community and Social Services, the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, was on hand to speak. She referred to the continuing transformation of intervenor services in Ontario and applauded participants for their successes. A new twist to the meeting this year was Peer-to-Peer Presentations. These presentations gave intervenors the opportunity to learn from their peers about techniques and teaching strategies that have been successful in work with persons who are deaf-blind. Three sessions were presented by people who are deaf-blind and these reports were well received along with a presentation by a mother of a child with Usher Syndrome. Participants learned about the latest technical devices, braille and other tactile marking systems, seniors’ issues specific to deaf-blindness and understanding mental health. The conference organizers provided time for networking among colleagues through social events which took place in the evenings. A motivational speaker, Alvin Law, closed the conference on a high note with his keynote address, “No Such Thing as Can’t”. He related many stories about himself and the different challenges he has faced as a man born without arms. People are already talking about and looking forward to next year.

Up-Coming Events  May 8th – Mayfest from 9 to 4 at the St. Lawrence Market (north)

 May 20th - CHKC Welcome Party between 4pm and 8pm  June 16th - JuneFest –from 12 noon to 6pm in Mel Lastman Square. Come and join the fun; bbq, silent auction, displays and more. For up-to-date information go to the website at

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