Celebrating inclusive communities | Célébrons nos communautés inclusives
Inspirations Articles

The Simonizing continues!

The Simonizing continues!
Montreal - Thursday, May 19, 2022

by Wendy Singer

Fun fashion at Mackay 

Fun fashion at Mackay 
From left, Faye Swift, Chang’s business partner; student Bella Flanz; Simon Chang and teacher Christina Sollazzo met to discuss the Fun Fashion for All show at the Mackay Centre School on March 22.

Simon Chang is sharing his fashion expertise at the Mackay Centre School of the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) in preparation for their Fun Fashion for All show, scheduled to take place on June 9. This project is spearheaded by Bella Flanz, a Grade 5 student in the school’s reverse integration program, with the support of teacher Christina Sollazzo and her colleagues, classmates and the school’s administration. Bella’s mission is to make sure that all of her classmates in Cycle 3, who will be the models in this show, have access to fun and colourful fashion.

Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli will work his magic choreographing the show, and Laurier MacDonald Career Centre’s (EMSB) Hairdressing and Aesthetics students will be on hand to do the models’ hair and make-up before they hit the runway. Stay tuned to Inspirations’ social media and website for a recap of the show. 

Atme addresses educators on speaking tour 

Simon Chang and Steven Atme
Steven Atme, left, and Simon Chang met at Chang’s showroom on October 19. Photo: Pickle Creative

Last November, Chang recognized Steven Atme with the Simon Chang Difference Maker Award, recognizing his leadership in motivating people to reach for their dreams. To honour Atme and the 10th anniversary of his speech “Special People Have Dreams,” the Simon Chang Foundation for Change sponsored and organized, in collaboration with Inspirations, a special speaking tour where Atme, who most often presents to students, would address educators. 

From January to April, Atme spoke at McGill University’s Faculty of Education, EMSB schools, and addressed resource staff through the Centre of Excellence in Autism at the Lester B. Pearson School Board. Atme shared his childhood experiences, from being bullied to having difficulties speaking, and explained how critical the support of his family and teachers was in leading him to the platform he now has to influence others.

He encouraged staff to never give up in searching for and nurturing each student’s passion. Atme was celebrated at an award ceremony that he attended via videoconference at Galileo Adult Education Centre on April 1.

Creating calming spaces at Perspectives 

Creating calming spaces at Perspectives
Simon Chang and Lorena D'Alessandro met to discuss the divider decoration project at Chang’s showroom on Chabanel St. on April 8.
Photo: Pickle Creative

Chang is consulting with Lorena D’Alessandro, head teacher at Perspectives I and II of the EMSB’s Outreach Network, to decorate new dividers that are being used in classrooms to provide students with a space to focus and lessen distractions, relax, quietly read or reflect.

“Many of our students can benefit from a space where colour, texture and images can bring them peace, joy and comfort,” said D’Alessandro. 

Perspectives staff and students will be preparing mood boards over the summer, detailing colour and theme (animals, the ocean) for each divider. This project will be continued in the Fall.

Moment in Time recognized for innovation

momenting time
From left: Gary Stoopler, Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre (DBM) and the Donald Berman Jewish Eldercare Centre (DBJ); Danny Baum, vice-president Randi Gitnick and director Karen Flam, DBM and DBJ; and Don Shulman, president and CEO of Association of Jewish Aging Service (AJAS) at its conference in Beverly Hills, California on April 5 as the team accepted the Jewish Programming Award from the AJAS.

On April 5, The Simon Chang Foundation for Change’s Moment in Time Program received the Jewish Programming Award from the Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS), a global association of not-for-profit community-based organizations, rooted in Jewish values, which promotes and supports the delivery of services to an aging population. The  award recognizes programs developed and implemented by AJAS organizations that are innovative, creative and specifically designed to enhance the spiritual well-being of the older adults they serve. 

The Moment in Time Program services the elderly at the Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre and the Donald Berman Jewish Eldercare Centre by giving residents the opportunity to have a simple wish come true. Wishes have ranged from enjoying a meal from a favourite restaurant to watching a sports match in person. It is a key component of Chang’s foundation’s Arc of Life Program.

Thank you 

Special thanks to David Byer from Orly for the assortment of buttons and to Susan and David Bloomfield from Damar International and Jeff Feldman for donating fabrics and furs to the Galileo puppets project, John Grant High School’s apron project, Perspectives divider project and the Mackay Centre School’s fashion show.