Winter 2021 Newsblast

Curious about what we have been up to for the past few months? You have come to the right place! Our newsblasts are designed to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ enabling you to quickly get the scoop on goings-on, new projects, and exciting opportunities.

Call to Action

Schedule a Virtual MyCompass Planning Session!

MyCompass Planning is a secure, web-based, planning tool that helps people with disabilities chart the course towards all things good in life. This platform is used at Skills Society to provide a way for people with disabilities to plan, strategize, and communicate with their supports, allies, and family. You can read more about MyCompass Planning here.

One thing we’ve found that can be tricky for people with disabilities and their supports is identifying meaningful goals to put into their MyCompass plans. To support the process of generating meaningful goals for folks at Skills we’ve tweaked the “Think Tank” Citizen Action Lab process. Team Leaders and Managers can now request a 1.5 hour My Compass Planning Lab that brings key people from the individual’s life together online to explore and generate ideas for meaningful activities, roles, and employment opportunities.

PS: Did you know that there is a new direct video upload feature within the private timeline feature. Video helps make communication more inclusive and fun especially during these times. Only people with a proper release of information can see timeline. Check out the feature and try uploading a video to stay connected with family and your supports.  

Email Rebecca at to book a MyCompass Planning Lab today!


Story of Engaged Citizenship

At Skills Society, citizenship is at the heart of what we do. Citizenship is about belonging, meaningful participation, and sharing your life with others. At Skills, our work focuses on strengthening belonging and encouraging and celebrating meaningful opportunities for individuals. Read on for Ariel’s story about engaged citizenship – how he gives back to his community and the valued relationships he’s built. 


What does citizenship mean to you?

For Ariel, volunteering in the community is an important part of being an engaged citizen. Over the years he has volunteered for a number of events in Edmonton including the Fringe Festival, Taste of Edmonton, and the Street Performers Festival. Ariel embodies a giving spirit. He loves helping others and being there for people; “I love to care for people and help them out as much as I can”. Another reason Ariel enjoys volunteering is because it offers opportunities to “make new friends. See what’s out there, be with other people, and get new experiences, trying something new”. 

A red locker with helmets and jackets hanging inside


    For over 15 years, Ariel has been volunteering with two          fire halls in the city. As a volunteer, Ariel offers his skills        and time helping the fire crews out with a variety of jobs      around the fire hall, such as prepping when a call comes        in and washing the trucks. Ariel has been interested in          firefighting from a young age and over the years working      with the crew he has learned a lot about the fire                  department and firefighting. Ariel loves opportunities to        share his knowledge with others and recalled a fond              memory teaching his nephew about fire trucks.


Ariel’s locker at the fire hall

Volunteering at the firehall provides a sense of inclusion and belonging

What Ariel values most about volunteering at the fire halls are the relationships he’s built with the crews. Enjoying spending time or sharing a meal together and the opportunity to get to know one another; “just being there and being part of the family”. Ariel will sometimes surprise the crew by stopping by with coffee and sweet treats, and if it’s late the crew often gives him a lift home – they look out for one another. Though COVID-19 has put volunteering at the fire hall on pause, Ariel and the crew continue to stay connected, keeping in touch by phone and visiting outdoors.

Ariel is smiling and holding a black sweatshirt that reads Pride of Downtown Pump 1 Ladder 1 Pump 1A
Ariel holding a Fire Station 1 sweatshirt

Ariel’s story is a great example of engaged citizenship and belonging- through volunteering, Ariel generously shares his unique gifts and talents and time with the community and in return is a valued part of the fire hall. A big thank you to Ariel for taking time to share his story!

Ariel loves spending time with family and friends. He works for Hughes Car Wash, and in his free time enjoys bowling and going for walks in his neighbourhood and around the legislature grounds. Ariel has been part of the Skills community since 1995.


Helping Our Community Feel Connected

CommuniTEA Infusion logo on a green teabagCOVID-19 and all the changes associated with it have made it challenging for people to remain feeling connected to others. This is why we at Skills Society have been spearheading new initiatives to help our Skills community stay safe and connected! 


Virtual CommuniTEA Events

We are offering weekly virtual events that the people we support can join in on. These include things like preparing a recipe together, having a conversation around a specific topic, or doing a guided art project. These events are hosted by the coordinator Jessica, community volunteers, or people we serve – anyone who has a special skill or talent they would like to share with the Skills community!

A schedule of events for February can be found here. Keep an eye on our website for the monthly events calendar:

Want to Sign Up or Host an Event?

Contact Jessica, Virtual Community Building Initiative Coordinator, at ltai @ or 306-450-3168 to sign up or for more info.


MyCompass Skills Society Employee Connection Corner & Monthly Events

Skills Society has leveraged MyCompass to support employees connect with each other, share resources, and set up monthly virtual events. If you are a Skills Society employee, check out the MyCompass Employee Connection Corner! All employees are welcome to share and interact on the timeline and join any of the monthly virtual events. Check out the MyCompass Employee Connection Corner for this month’s planned events and daily posts to connect us with each other! 


Sector News

Inclusion Alberta Virtual Family Conference 2021Families the Heart of Community The Inclusion Alberta Virtual Family Conference April 16-17, 2021

Registration is open for Inclusion Alberta’s 2021 Virtual Family Conference April 16-17, 2021. The conference brings together families, educators and service providers from across Alberta to deepen their knowledge and commitment to supporting community inclusion and belonging of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Click here for more info or to register. 


Virtual Experiences and Connections through co-make-do

Our friends at Kudoz, in partnership with co-make-do are offering a range of free daily experiences that the people we support can join! These experiences are free and connect folks with self, community and the wider world. Experiences include things like chats, classes, and digital cafes. For more info and to see the full events calendar click here

Want to Join an Event? 

Simply click on the Zoom link in the event’s description at the time of the event to join. *Note- the time displayed is PST. Events will start one hour later than the time displayed if you’re in Edmonton (MST). 


Moments of Gratitude

January Shout Out Wall Winners 

Congratulations to the January 2021 Shout-Out Wall draw winners Mirabel & Mattisen! Thank you for being one of the many tokens of appreciation shared amongst the Skills community for January.

Shout Out Wall board displaying January shout out cards
January Shout Outs

Shout out to Amy and the weekly mail-out crew for making the Shout Wall possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to all Skills employees for continuing to cultivate and contribute to a culture of gratitude!


We would like to give a BIG shout out and thank you to the Edmonton Community Foundation for their generous donations of reusable masks for the people we support AND for supporting our projects such as the Virtual Community Building Initiative and Art Program!

We are so grateful for the generous support of so many in our community. Check out our website to see some of the folks we’re giving shout outs to for all that they’ve done to help us during the pandemic!


Fall 2020 Highlights at Skills

Day of Giving 2020 in Support of Edmonton Food Bank

On December 11th, Skills Society community members and staff gathered online to celebrate the holiday season at the 5th Annual Day of Giving. Though the event looked a little different this year, the spirit of the holidays was felt through music, singing, holiday photos, and reconnecting with those we hadn’t seen in awhile. This incredible group of people also generously gave back to our community through donations to the Edmonton Food Bank. Nearly 400lbs was donated! 


Rotary Club of Edmonton Whyte Avenue Stuffs Stockings for Outreach

Holiday gift bags with red and green tissue paper in front of a Christmas treeOn December 14th members of the Rotary Club of Edmonton Whyte Avenue spread holiday cheer and distributed 100 stockings for people supported by Skills Society’s Outreach program. These stockings are so much more than a gift; for some people without family or who are isolated, it reminds them that someone cares about them over the holidays. This is the 3rd year that Skills Society has received donation and volunteer support from the Rotary Club, and we are so grateful for their continued support to our organization and community! A HUGE thank you to all the volunteers! 


Virtual Art Program for Residents of Melcor Up and Running for a 2nd Year

The inclusive art program offered to residents of Melcor is up and running for a 2nd year. This program is offered through a collaboration between Skills Society, Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts, and the YMCA Melcor Welcome Village. Normally the program is held at the YMCA Melcor Welcome Village. This year, due to COVID-19, we have decided to take the program online. Classes are taught virtually by Anica, an artist from the Nina, and are offered twice a month. Just like before, residents of Melcor can get creative, experiment with a variety of different mediums, and connect with one another!


Do you, or the person you support, have something to share in the next newsblast? Send me a note at I’d love to hear from you!