March of Dimes ~ Andrea Luciani, Conductive Education® participant ~ #WATWB

The #WATWB was created as a mission to negate the overwhelming negativity that has been present in our social media streams. For every negative news story in the world, there are plenty of positive, uplifting stories that show hope, compassion and the resiliency of everyday people who face insurmountable challenges. Our hope is to share heartwarming stories that lift the human spirit.

The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are ~ Sylvia Stein, Susan Scott, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Andrea Michaels and Damyanti Biswas


Andrea Luciani

I was born with cerebral palsy and I assumed from a young age that my parents would always do everything for me. I never thought that someday I would grow up and live an independent life, despite my disability.

But, thanks to March of Dimes Canada’s Conductive Education® (CE) Program, I have been able to turn my disabilities into abilities!

I have been a part of the CE Program since I was 6 years old. I am now 23 years old and the climb has not been easy. Cerebral palsy has affected all aspects of my life, including my mobility, coordination, posture, and my ability to do daily living activities independently.

Today, I like to use the word ABLE when it comes to my progress. I can sit down and get up independently. I am able to walk using single point canes. I am able to get from room to room on my own in my house. Every day, I focus on what I am able to do!

March of Dimes Canada’s CE Program is designed specifically for people with neurological motor disorders and offers an alternative group setting approach to rehabilitation. And I understand that it is the generosity of donors like you that helps make it possible.

The CE Program did not just give me tools to help my mobility; it also provided me with a voice. Instead of my parents or others speaking on my behalf, I learned to advocate for my own needs. I may need special accommodations to aid in that process, but I make sure I am heard!

Thank you! Because of your generosity, and my wonderful teachers at CE, I have grit! I have learned to never give up, keep trying, keep learning new ways to do something, and always strive to conquer! If wonderful programs like CE did not exist due to lack of funding, many of my accomplishments would not have been possible. You have literally changed my life!
My wish is for every person in Canada with a disability to have the extraordinary help that I had through March of Dimes Canada. It can only be achieved with the generous support of people like you.

Andrea Luciani
Conductive Education® program participant

For more information on the March of Dimes Conductive Educational Program.   Please visit.
For more information or to join our #WATWB please click here! 



Professor Owls Book Corners Newsletter ~ December 2017 Edition


Welcome to the December issue of  Professor Owl’s Book Corner Newsletter where in addition to supporting those with special needs and learning challenges, we are also committed to being more focused on YA/New Adult reading and literacy.  We will be featuring tips from a certified literacy tutor to help make your reading experience the best it can be.

We will also be encouraging young writers and artists with tips, writing exercises and will still be updating our Community News Boards with the latest news from Variety Village and The March of Dimes.

Professor Owl’s Book Corner hopes you enjoy our new format! Please feel free to give us your feedback on our new issue, also send us any ideas you may have to help Professor Owl’s Book Corner be all that it can be.  We look forward to hearing from you and to bring you a new, more interesting newsletter.

 Professor Owl’s Book Corner ~ would like to wish all our readers who Celebrate Christmas ~

As we look all around us, we see so many people who have decorated their homes for Christmas. For many of us this is the happiest holiday of the year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
As we enjoy these holidays, we must not forget that many other religions have their own special holidays also.

Holidays Around the World

For two other religions that have celebrations in the month of December, please check out below.

On December 25, 2016, Hanukkah (also known as Chanukah) is the Jewish Festival of Lights started and lasts eight days.


Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah to commemorate the Miracle of the Oil. The Hebrew word Hanukkah means “dedication.” Over 2000 years ago, in 165 BC, the Jews in Judea rebelled against their Syrian ruler, Antiochus, because he insisted that all Jewish people must worship Greek Gods. After three hard years of fighting, the Jews defeated Antiochus and, to celebrate, they restored the Temple of Jerusalem – which had been taken over by the Syrians – and rededicated it to their God.
As part of the celebrations they lit an oil lamp which should have been kept burning all the time, even though they could only find enough oil to keep it burning for one night. However, a miracle occurred, and the oil lamp stayed lit for eight days, which was the time it took to make new oil for the lamp. This was the Miracle of the Oil.
It was then declared that every year, Jews would remember the day with an eight-day Festival of Lights and celebrate the miracle of the oil by placing eight candles in a Menorah (a special candlestick) and lighting one candle for each evening of the celebration. The Hanukkah lights are to remind those walking by the home about the holiday’s miracle, so the Menorah is displayed at a prominent window or near the front door.
During Hanukkah, people exchange gifts and give to the poor and needy.

 In the week between 26 December and 1 January each year.



1. Kwanzaa an African-American holiday celebrated mainly in the US. The holiday was established in 1966 to help African Americans remember and celebrate their heritage. The word “Kwanzaa” comes from the Swahili language and means “first fruits.” Each day of the seven days is dedicated to one of “The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa,” which are1. umoja – to maintain unity in the family and community.

2. kujichagulia – self-determination, to be responsible and speak for oneself

3. ujima – collective work and responsibility, to build and maintain a community

4. ujamaa – economic co-operation, to help and profit one another

5. nia – purpose, to build and develop the community for the benefit of the people

6. kuumba – creativity, to do everything possible to leave the community more beautiful and beneficial for future generations

7. imani – faith, to believe in parents, teachers, and leaders.



Lesson one: Laubach Way to Reading Book 2 ~ Vocabulary Word List

Make sure you turn your sound on: Then click the link to learn your words for this month.

Read an interactive story ~

Books for reluctant teen readers ~

Lesson 1

book-of-the-monthInto The Web
by Simon Rose
Shadowzone #2


On a doomed version of Earth, the sinister schemes of the Ministry are moving ever closer to completion, with dire consequences for the inhabitants of two worlds. For Ben and Charlie, an unlikely alliance, unexpected reunions, and the mysterious prophecy of the Chosen One offer a glimmer of hope, with the ever-present prospect of betrayal, as they embark on an unpredictable journey into the unknown.

This is the second book of this series “Shadowzone” written by one of Professor Owl’s  favourite young adult authors. After finishing book one, I could not wait to start this one, I was not disappointed a great story with good a character structure and as usual well written. The storyline kept me focused until the very end where it left me wanting to read the next book in the series. Watch next months book of the month ~  “Shadowzone #3.”

Available from, and

We would love to hear about your favorite books and your views on the ones we recommend here… send them


Writing prompts are a wonderful way to kick-start your creativity and generate ideas. There isn’t a right or wrong way respond, just be honest, be creative and use your imagination!

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”~William Arthur Ward

The holiday season is about giving and receiving but material gifts aren’t everything. What is the greatest gift anyone has ever given you that wasn’t a thing.  Write them a Thank You letter, thanking them for their gift. Reflect and write about what their gift meant to you in your life.

“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.”

~Brian Tracy

Writing Prompt~A picture is worth a thousand words…

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Write about your perfect gift! Is it an object, an experience or something for someone else?





Initially, journals were kept as a matter of record.  People would document events that happened to keep a historical account to pass down to future generations.  Now newspapers, blogs, vlogs and social media are the mainstay.  Many do still use journaling as a tool for documentation but many more seem to use it as a form of expression.

The process of putting pen to paper is therapeutic as it allows one to get the mass of emotions, ideas and information that is often jumbled and bouncing around inside one’s head out and in some structured form.    All of the clutter that is in a person’s mind can cause turmoil, stress or just distract one from the important things that need to be their focus.

Journals contain private thoughts committed to paper and need not be shared with others, which allow you to get your emotions down without censoring or fear of condemnation.  Creating a dedicated time throughout the day to journal is also therapeutic in itself; by giving yourself permission to spend time on yourself is a healthy indulgence.  Journaling also helps with planning and transformation.  Recording dreams, goals and wishes helps you keep your focus on your desired outcome, plan how to get there and keeps you honest with yourself about your limitations and progress.

When it comes to healing, many people keep one or more journals.  General journals record hopes, fears, anxieties and are a great tool for learning about yourself.  Dream journals are great for tracking what recurring themes are presenting themselves in your dreams, thus helping you identify and address things that could be causing stress.  Gratitude journals are daily listings of things one is thankful for. Keeping a gratitude journal helps you focus on the positive things that are going on in your life and helps improve both your mood and attitude.  Idea journals are helpful for sparking creativity and problem-solving.

The written word is a powerful thing. Words provoke thought, act as a release, ignite creativity, and hold within them the power to heal.  Journaling can be an incredible life-changing process.

Writing has always been a huge part of my life. When I was a child, I kept a journal. I would write about what bothered me,  what I feared, and what I dreamed for my future.  I would doodle, write down things of interest and solve my problems.  As an only child, it became a way for me to work things out for myself; I could think, rant or dream on the page. I found the more I wrote, the better I felt. I have never looked back, my journal is never far from me and it now holds more than ever.  Recently, a friend asked me about what I write and how they could start journaling for themselves. Here are some basic topics:

1) Write down your strengths and how you can use them to improve the world for yourself and for others.

 2) Write down things you are grateful for.

3) Write down what inspires you.

4) Write down what you dream about.

5) Write down ideas for projects.


“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you’ve got something to say.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald



Variety Village

 Variety Village2


3701 Danforth Ave., Scarborough, ONM1N 2G2416-699-7167

Everyone has the right to live a fit and healthy life and at Variety Village in Toronto, they believe that fitness facilities should be available for everyone regardless of their ability level, age, or financial situation. With this in mind, they created a welcoming fitness facility that was designed to welcome everyone in the community with an ideal set up designed to promote healthy, active lifestyles.

Variety Village was built over 65 years ago with one goal in mind: To provide a facility that would allow people of all ages and ability levels with the perfect place to pursue a healthier, happier life. Their success in improving the quality of life for families and individuals is evident in their charity-focused organization that has faithfully worked with young members with developmental barriers in order to see them achieve their goals.

Their facility offers everything you need for your fitness and activities from heated swimming pools to a rock climbing wall. Their site has a 76,000 square-foot field house, three basketball courts and dedicated rooms for weights and cardio. They even have a MONDO indoor track.

They encourage everyone in the community to join in the fun by offering many fitness classes and programs including Yoga,/fitness-wellness/yoga/Pilates and Zumba. Members can also participate in classes and activities such as Taekwondo and Tai Chi.

Additional programs and services include:

  •  Kids’ camps
  •  First Aid training
  •  Active Aging swimming for those over 55
  •  Full aquatic program
  •  Wellness classes
  •  Drama
  •  And much, much more!

Fitness club memberships are very affordable. Special rates for seniors and financial subsidies for those that qualify are also available. They strive to keep their facility up-to-date with ongoing improvements. Free Wi-Fi is available.

Variety Village is located at 3701 Danforth Avenue in Scarborough. For more information, please visit their website, call 416-699-7167 or send an email. You can also follow Variety Village on Facebook.

upcoming events

 for December,  2017.


On Sunday, December 3, Variety Village will host its signature annual fundraising event. Over 1,000 people enjoy tasty treats and a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Craft and vendor’s markets, face painting, arts and crafts, entertainment, games and activities round out the event. The party is an affordable way for families to celebrate the holiday spirit in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment, while helping Variety Village raise funds for its specialized programs to support people with disabilities.

ADMISSION: $8.00/at door
10:00 am-11:00 am

Tickets at the door or online!
Proceeds support of programs and services for people with disabilities right here at Variety Village

March of Dimes

 logo March of Dimes

upcoming events for December, 2017


OpportuniTEA with Kate Linder and Y&R Friends

High Tea with Kate Linder & Friends
from The Young and the Restless
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Fairmont Royal York Hotel
100 Front Street West, Toronto, Ontario

VIP Meet & Greet 12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
High Tea 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Autographs & Photos for all guests 3:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Kate Linder
(Esther Valentine) March of Dimes Canada’s sixth-annual Toronto “OpportuniTea” High Tea will take place at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto on December 3, 2017. The event features actors from the top-rated North American soap opera The Young & The Restless, including Kate Linder (Esther Valentine), Abhi Sinha (Ravi Shapur), Daniel Hall (Scott Grainger) and Christian LeBlanc (Michael Baldwin), who will be co-hosting the event along with Carolyn MacKenzie, Anchor of The Morning Show on Global.


High Tea & Show tickets $100
Patron preferred seating tickets $125
VIP Circle of Friends tickets $250
Co-Host Christian LeBlanc
(Michael Baldwin) Abhi Sinha
(Ravi Shapur)

Daniel Hall
(Scott Grainger)


Thank you! ~  to our Spons0rs
2017 OpportuniTeas Co-Host
Carolyn MacKenzie
Anchor of The Morning Show
on Global

For more information on any of the above events, please contact

wise-picks ~Lauback website, resources for Tutors and Student.

www.alphca aplus .ca ~ In these pages you will find resources and information to enrich your learning experience. ~ Register with this site and you get information on: Online tutoring, words and vocabulary, homework help and much more. ~ Lots of fun and challenging activities for you and your family.





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