April Manitoba and Saskatchewan Newsletter


In this issue:

Staff Profile

Lisa Telfer has worked at CNIB as an orientation and mobility specialist for 15 years in the Regina office. After applying to an ad in the newspaper, she was offered the position and was sent to Brantford, Ontario to go to school. For a year, she learned the skills needed to help clients travel independently which included traveling to guide dog schools in Oakville, Ontario and in New York. 

Previous to her career at CNIB, she drove and dispatched for Paratransit in Prince Albert. Telfer aspired to have a job that was more fulfilling. "I asked the universe to send me something different and it did," she laughed. 

There are a number of skills she teaches clients when she works with them. "First off," she said "People need to understand their eye condition." Then  other skills need to be developed like mental mapping, finding unique stable landmarks like the shape of a building and concept development so they understand what is in their environment so they can navigate. 

Choosing to work for CNIB has brought Telfer some very rewarding experiences. "I like working with my coworkers and clients. My job is so unique and I am always learning something new." 

When asked what the best part of her job is she stated, "Seeing someone become confident enough to do what they want to do and travel where they want to go that's pretty rewarding." 

CNIB clients and staff alike benefit on an ongoing basis from her positive attitude and her drive to motivate people to their highest level of performance. 

Client Profile 

Winnipeg resident Veronika Kanya is thankful for the services she received from CNIB when she lost her sight. Without them she wouldn't have finished university and become a biologist.

"Thanks, and it is a very large THANKS, to CNIB and their staff in Winnipeg, I was able to continue my university education after a year and a half. I managed to find hope after all went dark, and I was very fortunate to both find a great position right after school, as well as getting into the Martial Art of Aikido towards the end of my education."

In 1997, Kanya's retina became detached in her right eye due to diabetic retinopathy and after two unsuccessful surgeries she lost all light perception in that eye. Six months later, the retina detached in her left eye. By 1999 what little sight that remained was lost and she now has zero sight. 

Over the years, Kanya participated in all that CNIB had to offer which included: recreation programs, career services, orientation and mobility, independent living skills and technology training. She found her time with the orientation and mobility staff at CNIB to be a really intimate experience because of the level of trust it involves between the client and staff. 

"I am sure they must take special training on motivational coaching and normalization of anxious feelings because with all four instructors I worked with at CNIB, they always said the right thing. They always supported me in a way that met my needs at the time." 

Because CNIB gave Kanya so much she now gives back as a volunteer board member and is presently training to be a spokesperson. 

Client/Staff Advice 

Ideas to consider when helping a person who has vision loss:

  1. Always remember to offer help first.
  2. If the person prefers to do it on their own, step back graciously;
    1. When you step back, you assist the individual who has vision loss to achieve even greater independence. Keep this in mind;
    2. a personal sense of accomplishment is more important than saving time. In the grand scheme of things what's a few more seconds?
  3. Continue to encourage independence by acknowledging or recognizing things the person is still capable of doing.
  4. Try helping only when asked.
  5. Let individuals develop their own skills by providing accurate verbal feedback.
  6. Practice being supportive by giving verbal feedback or instruction rather than taking over. Sit on your hands if you need to and use a hands-off approach.
  7. Step back gradually as skills increase.
  8. Let individuals make mistakes when trying or learning new things. Also, let them take the time to problem solve before jumping in to help. That is part of the human experience.
  9. Especially in the beginning of vision loss, a person may need time to integrate skills and new learnings. Sitting quietly may be a great way to relax. All people do not have to be busy every moment. 
  10. Give people a choice when you need to assist with touch cues – try hand under hand or let them take your arm this gives more control to the person who has vision related needs.
  11. Sit further away. If you have been sitting within arm's reach, try sitting within earshot. If you are still helping too frequently try sitting across the room.
  12. Congratulate yourself every time you assist with seeing not thinking for the other person. Your job is to provide information. Not do it for the individual.
  13. Some times less is more and less may be better. Even though helping can feel right for you, providing opportunities for an individual to demonstrate competence may be even more valuable.
  14. Acknowledge your own needs. There's a reason you are a helper.
  15. Learn how to be a good sighted guide. When guiding let the individual answer questions for themselves even if the person asking the question looks to you for the answer.
  16. Remember if you have come to help a person who is visually impaired put things back where you found them or leave it for them to put away. They know where it belongs and then they can find it when they need it.
  17. Think about other ways you can be supportive without being intrusive. 

By Ann Harry BSW RSW, Co-ordinator, Client Support Services

CNIB Manitoba/Saskatchewan Division

Vision Loss Rehabilitation Saskatchewan and Manitoba

CNIB is proud to launch Vision Loss Rehabilitation Saskatchewan and Manitoba, a new brand for our rehabilitation services. With a commitment to the highest standards of care, we help to enhance independence, safety and mobility for Canadians with vision loss.  While this new brand is an important change, what won't change is our services themselves, and how we provide them. For more information, visit sk.visionlossrehab.ca or mb.visionlossrehab.ca

Upcoming Fundraising Events

Regina is holding its first Scotiabank Dining in the Dark event on Thursday, May 11. The evening starts at 5:30 p.m. with the reception then supper and the program to follow at 6:30 p.m. The entertainment that evening features the comedic talent of Big Daddy Tazz. For ticket or sponsorship information contact Nanette Ermel at (306) 525-2571 or email: nanette.ermel@cnib.ca

Brandon Programs

Stay tuned for new program information in our next newsletter.

Regina Programs 

For information on all Regina groups and programs contact Ashley Nemeth at (306) 565-5413 or email: ashley.nemeth@cnib.ca  

Regina Support Groups and Support Programs

Peer Support Group (Teleconferencing opportunities for those outside of Regina are available)

For individuals 55+ who are blind or partially sighted, this group allows participants to connect with others who are experiencing similar circumstances, to participate in social gatherings, and the opportunity to learn from guest speakers about a variety of relevant topics.

Where: CNIB, 2160 Broad St., Regina, Multipurpose room

When: Every second Tuesday

Time: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Care Partners (Teleconferencing opportunities for those outside of Regina are available)

This program is designed for family members and partners who are supporting a loved one with vision loss. This program offers participants the opportunity to share their experiences and gain coping skills.

Where: CNIB, 2160 Broad St., Regina, Multipurpose Room 

When: September 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2017 

Time: 6:00– 8:00 p.m. 

Vision Mate Program 

Our Vision Mate Program matches individuals living with vision loss with specially-trained volunteers who offer companionship and one-on-one assistance with day-to-day tasks and errands. 

Vision mate volunteers assist individuals with a variety of activities, including reading mail, grocery shopping, errands, labeling and organizing household items, as well as enjoying leisure and recreational activities together – like playing cards and going for walks.

Beyond the Classroom (Teleconferencing opportunities for those outside of Regina are available)

This program will guide and support families, ensuring blind and partially sighted children and youth have access to the same educational and experiential learning opportunities as their sighted peers.   It will teach parents to navigate the school system and empower them to effectively advocate for their children changing what it means to be blind.

Where: CNIB, 2160 Broad St., Regina, Multipurpose Room 

When: Every third Tuesday of the month September 19, October 17, November 21, December 19, January 16, February 20, March 20 

Time: 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. 

Youth Leadership (Teleconferencing opportunities for those outside of Regina are available)

This program is designed for to provide youth who are blind or partially sighted opportunities to develop leadership, advocacy, and compensatory skills in a social setting with the goal of building self-esteem, confidence, social and community engagement, and self-efficacy (empowerment). 

Where: CNIB, 2160 Broad St., Regina, Multipurpose Room 

When: Every second Tuesday of the month in September 12, October 10, November 14, December 12, January 9, February 13, March 13, April 10, May 8, June 12

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 

Family Fun Days

These days provide opportunities for families (in which one or more individuals has vision loss) to meet with others for a fun activity.

Where: Girl Guides Building, 1530 Broadway Ave, Regina SK (with the exception of May 7 which will be at the Science Centre)

When: May 7 – Science Centre, October 29 – Halloween Party, February 12 – Valentines Party 

Time: 1:00 - 3:30 p.m.  (with the Exception of May 7 which will run from 9:00 a.m – 12:00 p.m. at the Science Centre)

Regina Sports and Recreation Programs

Fitness Program

For adults ages 18+, provides a variety of physical activity options for blind and partially sighted participants.  Each week the group will embark on a new adventure from spin classes and goal ball, to yoga to judo and everything in between.

Where: CNIB, 2160 Broad St., Regina, SK or alternate location 

When: Every Wednesday Evening from October to November (8 weeks) October 4, 11, 18, 25, November 1, 8, 15, 22 

Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Times could vary based on instructor/venue availability

Arts and Culture Night 

Budding artists ages 18+, who are blind or partially sighted. Join volunteers at a CNIB Centre for an evening of arts and crafts such as painting, sculpting and socializing. Art supplies are provided. 

Also included in this program are cultural experiences/activities which could include, learning a new instrument, taking a cooking class, taking in the symphony, going to a tactile art exhibit or a museum or going as a group to a musical performance.

Where: CNIB, 2160 Broad Street, Regina, SK or alternate location

When: Thursday evenings (January to March) January 18, 20, February 1, 8, 15, March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 

Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Self Defense 

Individuals who are blind or partially sighted age 16+, learn basic self-defense maneuvers and ways to increase their confidence and sense of safety in the community. 

This two-day class provides training to equip individuals with the skills to better deal with safety threats and circumstances where they feel vulnerable. 

Where: CNIB, 2160 Broad Street, Regina 

When: November 4 and 5, 2017

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – participants should bring lunch and will be provided with a lunch break. 

Kids Camps 

Our summer day camps in Regina provide an opportunity for kids aged 8 to 18 to enjoy recreational activities with their peers while both enhancing and building life skills. The camp also focuses on travelling safely, socializing, preparing meals independently, keeping active and self-advocacy. 

Where: Girl Guide Building, 1530 Broadway Avenue, Regina, SK 

When: July 6-7 (ages 5-11) and July 20-21 (ages 12-18)

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

Saskatoon Programs 

Saskatoon Support Groups and Programs

Please stay tuned for new program information in the next newsletter.

Saskatoon Sports and Recreation Programs

For information on all Saskatoon sports and recreation programs contact Bobbi Janzen at (306) 374-4545 ext. 6461 or email: bobbi.janzen@cnib.ca  

Spin Class

Join us for eight weeks of spin class. 

Where: Mawson Health and Fitness, 119 105 St. East, Saskatoon

When: Saturday mornings, in April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29th May 13, 27 and June 3rd 

Time: 10:00 -10:45 a.m.

Yoga Class

Where: CNIB, 1705 McKercher Dr., in the auditorium and on certain dates at an alternate location at Saskatoon Salsa Dance Co, 107- 3521 8th St. E.

When: Sunday Mornings, April 2,9,23,30, May 7(alternate location)14,28 and June 4th(alternate location)

Time: 1:00 -2:00 p.m.

April Strength Class

Where: CNIB, 1705 McKercher Dr., in the auditorium and on certain dates at an alternate location at Saskatoon Salsa Dance Co, 107- 3521 8th St. E.

When: April 2, 9, 23, 30, May 7(alternate location) 14,28 and June 4th (alternate location)

Time: 2:00- 3:00 p.m.

Winnipeg Programs

For information on all Winnipeg groups and programs contact Joanne Fabian at (204) 789-0954 or email: joanne.fabian@cnib.ca

Winnipeg Support Groups and Support Programs

Sharing Group

Join in and share your experiences with vision loss and learn about community resources.  There will be a different guest presenter each month.

Where: CNIB, 1080 Portage Ave, Multipurpose Room, Winnipeg 

When: First Wednesday of each month starting April 5th

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

Winnipeg Sports and Recreation Program

Walking Group

A chance to exercise and practice your mobility and travel skills.

Where: spring-summer Meet at CNIB, 1080 Portage Ave:  fall and winter Polo Park Shopping Center, Winnipeg

When: Monday's ongoing

Time: 10:00- 11:00 a.m.

Book Club

If you love to read, this is for you! A new book each month.  Each participant will be registered for library services.

Where:  CNIB, 1080 Portage Ave, Multipurpose Room, Winnipeg 

When: The second Tuesday of each month

Time: 1:00- 3:00 p.m.


Improve your overall health with yoga. Manitoba Blind Sports Association membership fees will apply.  Contact Cathy for more info or to register 204-925-5694.

Where:  CNIB, 1080 Portage Ave, Multipurpose Room, Winnipeg 

When: Every Tuesday and Thursday

Time: 10:00- 11:00 p.m.

Fibre Arts Knit and Crochet

With help you can knit or crochet again - or learn how.

Where:  CNIB, 1080 Portage Ave, Multipurpose Room, Winnipeg 

When: Every Wednesday

Time: 10:00- 11:00 p.m.

For ongoing information on CNIB's recreational programs in Saskatchewan and Manitoba go to www.cnib.ca/en/mb-sk/programs-services/leisure/Pages/default.aspx

Follow this page on Facebook for Saskatoon Recreational Program information​

Volunteer Opportunities

Possible volunteer opportunities could include:

administrative duties 

program facilitators 


children's activities

day camp counsellors 


instructors could include:  yoga, judo, cooking, leadership, public speaking, media relations, resume writing, managing money, investing, painting, pottery, music, self defense, advocacy, accessibility, community resources, etc…

In Brandon and Winnipeg contact: Dan Vodon at dan.vodon@vlrehab.ca or (204) 727-0631.

In Regina and Saskatoon contact: Ashley Nemeth at ashley.nemeth@cnib.ca or (306) 565-5413. 

Upcoming Volunteer Appreciation Events

Brandon Volunteer Appreciation

Join us for some light refreshments and a brief presentation.

For more information please contact: Ruth Baker at (204) 727-0631 or email: ruth.baker@vlrehab.ca

Where: CNIB, 354 10th St., Brandon

When: May 4, 2017 from 1-3 p.m. 

Regina Volunteer Appreciation

Come and join us for a come and go event to show our appreciation for all you do for our organization. There will be tours of our new space and a chance to meet other volunteers. We hope you will be able to join us for refreshments and cake.

For more information please contact: Ashley Nemeth at (306) 565-5413 or ashley.nemeth@cnib.ca

Where: CNIB, 2160 Broad St. Regina 

When: April 25, 2017 from 2-4 p.m. 

Winnipeg Volunteer Appreciation

Join us for some light refreshments with a brief presentation at 2:00 p.m.. Guests are welcome.

Where: CNIB, 1080 Portage Ave, Winnipeg

When: April 27, 2017 from 1-3 p.m. 

RSVP: by April 20th to Kayla DeBaets at Kayla.DeBaets@vlrehab.ca 

or call 204-774-5421.  

Make sure to follow the Manitoba Saskatchewan page on Facebook and Twitter.​

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