ABLE2 Newsletter

Monthly Moments

March 2023

Girl with a Goal

By Frank B. Edwards

Ottawa has no shortage of remarkable women to celebrate during this month’s International Women’s Day (March 8th). But Able2’s office chat this month also includes the tale of a gutsy one-handed goalie from Edmonton who fulfilled her dream to play ringette for Strike, a team in the city’s U-16 A league.

Fourteen-year-old Callie Bizuk was born missing the lower part of her right arm. A series of protheses through childhood served many needs but when it came to her favourite sport, she needed something truly extraordinary. When a makeshift glove that her parents taped to her arm failed to block shots effectively, Callie found a more sophisticated solution with the help of two amazing women.

A former national ringette goalie, Keely Brown, worked closely with Lisa Peters, co-owner of Northern Alberta Prosthetic and Orthotic Services, on the design of a special right-handed blocking glove/protheses. With a secure glove that was angled properly, Callie started making the saves she needed to win games. (She says she loves the hugs from her teammates at the end of a game.)

When she decided to become a goalie at age nine, some well-intentioned adults suggested it would be too difficult, but Callie persisted. She recently told Edmonton City News that “having a limb difference has caused me to become resilient.”

Meanwhile, Coach Shelley Derewianka is happy to have a solid goaltender between the posts, telling the CBC, “You don’t even know she has a prosthetic on… we have a solid person in the net.”

While there are a few inspiring elements to Callie’s story — a gritty youngster overcoming adversity, technology being successfully matched to personal determination — we particularly like the part where a community of women pooled their talents to help a young girl pursue her dream.

Next year, Callie hopes to rise to the next level of Edmonton’s ringette league and has set her sights on playing for Canada’s national team someday.

You can read more about Callie here.

A Merger to Better Serve People with Disabilities in our Community

What better way to serve the disability community with their legal needs than to bring two amazing organizations together! ABLE2 and Reach are pleased to share they have joined forces to foster access to justice for people with disabilities in Ottawa and the Champlain region.

“We are thrilled to be merging with Reach to increase access to services and make a greater impact in our community,” said ABLE2 Executive Director, Heather Lacey.

Reach Legal Services will now be a program of ABLE2. Reach mobilizes a network of more than 200 lawyers, mediators and paralegals in the Ottawa region and connects with community resources to assist people with disabilities in dealing with legal issues. Issues which clients frequently contact Reach about include wills and power of attorney, family law, criminal law, and human rights. Clients who are referred to a lawyer, paralegal, or mediator may receive up to 3 hours of free, confidential, and personal legal services.

Reach’s legal education workshops will continue as part of ABLE2’s Grow Education Series. Each month, ABLE2 offers an inclusive webinar series for people with disabilities, parents, caregivers, professionals in the community. Topics range from finances to mental health and everything in-between. 

To read the full announcement please click

Faces of ABLE2

Anna Bilsky

In honour of Women’s History Month, we would like to recognize one of our many amazing volunteers. Anna Bilsky has been a volunteer with ABLE2 almost from the beginning. Wanting to set an example of volunteerism for her young children, she felt the Matching Program would be a good fit for her. For the past 40 years Anna has balanced volunteering with raising a family and a very accomplished career.

Her first match, Michael, was very shy and reserved when she met him. Michael never had a person in his life who was not a family member or a paid support worker. Together they began a 12-year journey of friendship and learning. Michael’s world opened up and his life was soon full of activities and friendships. “I would like to believe that I played a role in that,” says Anna. “Michael was so busy it was hard to get time with him.” The match had accomplished what it set out to do and they ended the match after 12 years but not the friendship. Michael passed away but Anna will never forget how kind and wonderful he was.

Anna was next matched with Ruth. Ruth loved to shop! They spent a great deal of time at Carlingwood Mall, especially Coles. When it came time for Ruth to move into a home Anna was right there helping Ruth’s sister to find the right place for her until her death. Ruth lovingly referred to her as the “third sister”.

Anna’s third match was Marjorie. After Marjorie’s husband George passed away, she felt utterly alone in the world. Her grief was compounded by various health issues. Anna helped bring her out into the world with weekly coffee meetings and scratch cards (they called their moment of hope). Anna provided Marjorie with support and was often the voice of reason in her life until Marjorie's recent passing

Anna is currently matched with Veronica. She has never really felt like Veronica is a “match” as they have been friends for 30 years after meeting while serving on ABLE2’s Board of Directors. Anna has been a big part of my life and has accompanied me to medical appointments and family weddings. She has really helped me,” says Veronica.

Anna’s friendship has had a profound impact on her matches. Anna is a true leader and ABLE2 celebrates all she has done for her community.


ABLE2 Matching Program Survey

The Queen's University PhD-Community Initiative is a program in which teams of students partner with community organizations to support an issue of strategic importance to their operations. ABLE2 has asked the team to assess the impact of its Matching Program on the wellbeing of Friends.

To help us better evaluate the program, we invite all matched Friends or those on the waiting list to participate in a survey. By participating, you will be given a chance to win 1 of 5 PC Optimum gift cards valued at $25. Please reach out if you have any questions or need assistance completing the survey.

Start Survey

Take your place at the starting line!


Join the ABLE2 team for the Ottawa Race Weekend on May 27 and 28!

And bring a friend or two! With 9 different categories, there is a place at the starting line for everyone to run, walk or roll! 🏃 🏅

This year’s fundraising goal is $20,000. Be part of the fun and raise funds to support people with disabilities in your community.

By using this link to register ABLE2 receives an additional $5 per registration

Selecting the Green bib option is a good choice for ABLE2 and the environment. Making this choice means a portion of your registration fee ($5) goes to the charity your choice instead of receiving a medal and race t-shirt. PLUS, your contribution will be matched by the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend Green Bib Fund. You always have the options to purchase the medal and t-shirt online separately.

When you raise over $500 for your charity of choice, you receive free entry to any event in Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2024!

Get ready to run, walk, roll, donate, cheer or volunteer.

Register Now

Join us for Evening in the Maritimes - May 11, 2023

More Details

The FASD Group of Ottawa is an open group and an opportunity for people with FASD, or suspected FASD, their caregivers and all those in their life circle, who are touched by FASD to receive support from peers and professionals. 

Upcoming Dates: Wednesday, April 5, 2023 | Wednesday, May 3, 2023 | Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Time: 7:00-9:00 pm

Learn More


ABLE2 is also pleased to announce that we are a recipient of a $12,353 grant from the Ottawa Community Foundation to support the ABLE2 and Reach with the transition plan for the organisational integration. Thanks to the support of the Ottawa Community Foundation, we are helping the most vulnerable citizens by building a more robust and streamlined service delivery system!

New Blog Post

Have you seen our Executive Director's comments on additional barriers that people of colour with disabilities face?

Read the Blog

Community Resources & Events

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Join the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (CHRLP)’s Disability and Law Student Colloquium being held at McGill’s Faculty of Law 

OC Transpo Travel Training Program

211 Ontario

Developmental Services Ontario:

Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services: Services for adults with Developmental Disabilities

Thank you to our funders!

Do you have a concern or questions about ABLE2's programs or services?

We have an external feedback and complaints resolution policy and procedure in place.

More Information

ABLE2 | Website

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