What a great campaign. “Special” is a word that’s always made our family gak just a little bit when people use it to describe Jim and what he needs to live a good life. This wonderful campaign by CoorDown, Italy’s national advocacy organization, was premiered at the United Nations on March 21. Have a look! It’s brilliant. That’s Lauren Potter as the narrator; Jim met her at a Best Buddies conference in Bloomington, Indiana, when she starred on Glee. Nice woman. This article is by Alexandra Jardine:

CoorDown, Italy’s national organization for people with Down syndrome, examines the euphemistic term “special needs” in its latest PSA, using humor to highlight how their needs might not be so different from those of anyone else.

A film by Publicis New York, directed by Wayne McClammy of Hungry Man, imagines various humorous scenarios where Down syndrome people have “special needs” with a twist. They’re massaged by a cat, they eat dinosaur eggs, are woken up by a celebrity or have to walk around in a giant suit of armour. It ends with the message that what people with Down Syndrome really needs is “education, jobs, opportunities, friends and some love.”

The film stars Lauren Potter, the actress with Down syndrome who played the role of Becky Jackson in “Glee,” and John McGinley, best known for his role as Dr. Perry Cox on “Scrubs,” and whose 18-year old son Max has Down syndrome. Also in the cast are Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt, two friends with Down syndrome who created the movie “Spring Break Zombie Massacre,” and Jared Kozak, an actor with Down syndrome known for “Orson’s Last Dance,” “Leader of the Pack” and “Teens Wanna Know.”

The campaign, running on YouTube, directs viewers online to www.NotSpecialNeeds.com, where they can find out more about the real needs of people with Down Syndrome.

It will be presented to the Conference of the World Down Syndrome Day, which takes place March 21 in New York, at the headquarters of the United Nations.



HOME is ready for you

The Spring issue of Saskatoon HOME magazine is out and will hit the streets next week. If you just can’t wait to see what we’re offering you in this issue, you can have an online look here. Each issue is my new favourite; this time around I had a lot of fun on two pieces in particular. My cover story, The Urban Farmhouse, and the courageous team of Rhonda, Crystal and Brielle (not to mention their menagerie) and a feature on the loving restoration of the Pettit House, University Drive, by the brilliant Karen and Steve duo. I love my job; I get to meet great people and their dragons and turtles, and a great excuse to visit my neighbours in their grand mansion just three doors down.

And there’s other fun stuff, too! Pick up your copy at the various rack locations throughout the city. Do tell us what you think!

Thanks Roxy Theatre

If you’re anywhere near Saskatoon during next year’s Academy Awards, take a seat for the Oscars at the Roxy Theatre. Thanks so much to the Roxy for a fun evening on Sunday night with the Awards on the big screen, complete with Envelopegate. And free admission! Thank you! The Karpinka Brothers were fun, the popcorn is great and there are even prizes. Always fun to go to the Roxy and get a taste of what an old tyme theatre experience was once like, and we always look forward to this event.


Thanks, Stuart


Stuart left me a message on our answering machine once.

We had been back and forth, trying to figure out how I could use one of his stories that involved a character with a disability. I offered to edit, he agreed. He wasn’t sure. He fiddled. I fiddled. Back and forth. He was gracious, but concerned. I was just hoping for the story. As was Stuart’s way about telling the story right, he called and said “I’ve been reading this and it’s one way to read it in print, one way to say it out loud. I could do it, but I…. I just won’t.” Ultimately, we couldn’t come to an agreement on editing it for print, so he offered tickets to his Christmas show in Saskatoon as an apology for how it didn’t work out. We loved the show. And we loved him.

Rick and I have lost count of the times we have listened to Stuart on CBC Radio on our drive home from shopping, errands or some trip. If it wasn’t quite finished, there were times we sat in the garage, the engine off but the battery still pumping juice so we could listen to the rest of the story he was telling that week. He had a perfect mixture of anticipation and familiarity, the knowledge of the characters and where they were going that made his storytelling so wonderful.  His audiences would start to murmur and laugh when they could see what was coming; he’d say, “Wait for it!” Brilliant and authentic. We think Stuart knew that it was better to go to your grave being beloved than being famous. He didn’t tell chest-beating Canadian stories – he didn’t seem to be that kind of guy – but the stories he told were a celebration of gentle Canadiana. He didn’t tell you this was a story about Canada or Canadians, you just felt it. The stories were real, his characters were warm, flawed and believable, and funny as hell.

My god, how we will miss those times we sat in the garage to wait for the end of the story.

Sundays will never the same.

We are so smearing turkey gravy on the lightbulbs this Christmas.

How about you?

Nominations are open!

The YWCA’s Joy-Ann Allin and I appeared very, very early this morning on Global TV with Lisa Dutton. We had a chat about the upcoming Women of Distinction Awards. That was fun. Did I mention it was very early? Do I look like I had a cat sleeping across my face most of the night, because I did. I believe I was relatively coherent and Joy-Ann and Lisa were wonderful. And I got to enjoy a beautiful sunrise on the way home!

Nominate a woman you respect and admire for her contributions to her profession, to community, to family. Nominations are open until March 3. It’s like donating blood; very good for you and makes a big difference in the life of the recipient!

Nominate a Woman of Distinction

Save the date! The 2017 Women of Distinction Awards Dinner is Wednesday, May 31 at TCU Place. 5:30pm Cocktails, Silent Auction and Raffle 6:30pm Dinner and Awards Program

Nominate someone you respect and admire; it’s easy, and a memorable way to recognize and honour someone for her contribution to our community. The nomination deadline is Friday, March 3rd, so you’ve got time to get it done!

The Annual YWCA Women of Distinction Awards® are a celebration of the best in women’s achievements, across industry, culture and public service, honouring ordinary women for their extraordinary contributions to the Saskatoon community. The YWCA Women of Distinction Awards® are proudly presented by PotashCorp. Funds raised every year through the Women of Distinction Awards® Dinner continue to be a major source of financial support for YWCA Saskatoon services, touching the lives of thousands of women and children right here in our community.

In 2013, I was dumbfounded to first be nominated, and then to receive the award in the Arts, Culture and Heritage category. To meet so many creative, caring, talented and down right smart women was the big honour, and it moved me to nominate someone I admire in 2015. Whether given to someone out there or someone who contributes quietly, these Awards recognize the wide array of contributions that so many women make in Saskatoon.