Cosmo Communicator


December 2020 newsletter Any photos without social distancing were taken prior to Covid-19 and reused for this edition.

the cosmo communicator

Volume 40 Issue 12 December 2020

Season’s Greetings and

Happy New Year

What a year it has been!

Another year will soon come to an end, and I will admit I

am not too saddened to see 2020 be over with for many

reasons. I will say I am very excited to welcome 2021 for

over 450 reasons. 400 is for all of the participants that we

have not seen nearly as much as we all would have liked

to in the recent months. The 50 is for Cosmo’s 50 th

Anniversary that we will be celebrating in whatever

manner we can.

The pandemic is truly terrible, our focus throughout has

been to ensure we all stay safe and healthy. Despite

adapting and working through many challenges that came

with COVID-19, we also have had some great

opportunities and exciting things happen in our year.

Before the onset of COVID-19, we were just wrapping up

our extensive bathroom renovations which were made

possible with some financial support from the Ministry of

Social Services. This is one important phase completed of

several more to revitalize our centre space. Timing was

perfect to have this capital project completed as the design

improved accessibility and made cleaning so much easier

during COVID. Without the financial assistance of the

Ministry, as well as the support of our Board, this project

would not have been possible.

I cannot even describe how proud I am of our entire staff

team who have continued to provide programming in new

ways during the pandemic, despite encountering a few

challenges along the way. We have an incredible, talented

and committed team of staff. Throughout the pandemic

and the closure of various spaces be it parks, businesses,

restaurants, it became apparent that space is important to

have. Not only to allow adequate social distancing, but

the purpose it serves to have a central base to go to if

needed. As we continue to slowly transition some

participants back to our various locations, the importance

of accessible space has been critical. Having expanded our

satellites certainly has allowed us more options yet we too

were limited, and we have a lot of space!

Our Senior Leadership team has navigated throughout

COVID, learning more and more each day. All while

Recycling has not skipped a beat. I cannot even begin to

share all that has gone on behind the scenes, many hours

beyond the normal workday have been put in to ensure the

health and safety of everyone. Total team effort, and what

a team we have! Thank you!

Supporting me behind the scenes, has been our incredible

Board of Directors who continue to give their time and

expertise. Reflecting on our past up to now, has been a

committed and dedicated Board of Directors who have

made a difference, contributing to Cosmo’s success for 50

years. Thank you for your support to ensure Cosmo is as

successful in the future as it has been in the past.

I miss the participants, their stories, their pop-ins for visits,

the smiles - just everything they bring to my day. They

energize me and I cannot wait for all to return safely.

Until then, Merry Christmas, stay safe and healthy, and

when I do see you, we will have a lot of catching up to do!

Our focus is still to renovate the upper space at the centre

and it is speeding up! I am really excited for this to start.

We are working on plans for this! Although we do have a

lot more funds to raise to move on to the next phase.

We cannot do it alone and need to keep the momentum

going to renew this space. I encourage each of you to visit

our website (tell your friends and family too!) and view

our inspiration guide or contact us at Cosmo and consider

making a donation to our Cosmo Renewal. Every dollar

counts and will assist us with moving one step closer to

the next phase! We want everyone to have a workspace

that is comfortable, safe, and welcoming!

On behalf of all of us at Cosmo, I wish you and your

families a safe and healthy holiday season. Celebrations

will be different and certainly on a smaller scale than what

many of us are used to.

Happy New Year and I am looking forward to celebrating

Cosmo’s 50 th Anniversary with all of you in some manner

or way.

Sharlene Duquette

Executive Director

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It is my pleasure, as Board President to extend warm holiday wishes to all of our program participants, their families, our staff,

friends, and my fellow board members.

It has certainly been a challenging year for all of us. COVID 19 forced Cosmo to close in March and we were able to reopen at

reduced capacity in September. Many of our participants have found it very hard not to be at work and with their friends at Cosmo.

Know that you are all very missed!

Behind the scenes, staff have been working very hard to make sure all health regulations and protocols are in place and enforced.

We are looking forward to getting back to a “New Normal” in the new year.

Before the onset of COVID-19, the extensive bathroom renovations were being wrapped up. This is one important phase completed

of several more to revitalize our centre space. Timing was perfect to have this capital project

completed as the design improved accessibility and made cleaning so much easier during


May you all have a safe and Merry Christmas!

Betty Anne Fisher

President of the Board

Happy 50 th Anniversary Eve

The main event of Cosmo’s 40 th anniversary was a big public concert and party called ‘The Miracle on 34 th Street Festival.’ We

wanted to do a repeat for our 45 th anniversary but the flood of 2016 washed away those plans. Now it’s our 50 th and planning has to

take COVID into consideration. It’s highly unlikely that getting together in a big public event is going to be allowed next summer

so we are making arrangements to enjoy a virtual concert. Any musicians who would like to contribute to our 50 th Anniversary

concert will be asked to record and submit a video. The submissions will be edited together into a concert for the viewing at the

convenience of participants, families and our neighbours in the community. Saskatchewan has a lot of talent as TeleMiracle proves

every year and we are looking forward to having a mix of professional and amateur musicians for our virtual event. While we’ll be

reaching out to musicians in our extended Cosmo family, anyone who wants to be involved can contact us. COVID or not we’ve

come up with the idea of having each month of 2021 focus on a specific theme to celebrate and build activities around. October is

already Disability Employment Awareness Month and November our theme will be the Spirit

of Cosmo. Staff have been submitting ideas for monthly themes and we’d like to receive

additional ideas from the public. We aren’t just looking for theme months. If you have an idea

for us to incorporate into our celebrations let us know.

Our 50 th anniversary will weave it’s way through much of what we do in 2021. For example

50 th anniversary face masks are being distributed to participants and staff. We also designed a

fanny pack for distribution and all of these items include our 50 th anniversary logo. We might

wind up partying in groups of 5 instead of 500 next year but we are going to party all year long.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Season’s greetings to all participants and staff from

Cosmo’s Health and Wellness department. Christmas is my ultimate favourite time of year, and I am

always so excited to celebrate this holiday by baking my favorite treats, decorating, listening to

Christmas music, shopping, etc. With the current circumstances that 2020 has brought us, the

anticipation and excitement of Christmas is what is helping so many people get through some gloomy

times. Like most businesses, Cosmo has had a very quiet year, and I am sure all staff can attest that we

really miss the sounds of the participants in the hallways, the smiles and laughter heard throughout the

building, and the constant hugs and high fives we normally receive daily. Our Christmas wish and hope

for the New Year is that all participants and staff stay healthy and take care of themselves and their

mental health. From the Health and Wellness department, we wish you a wonderful holiday season, and

we hoped you stayed off the naughty list.

Carmene Carlson LPN-Health and Wellness Manager

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the cosmo communicator

The closing of another year is just around the corner and it is hard to believe that the year

has passed by so quickly. Like many other years with Cosmo, we were presented with a

challenge and we embraced it. We are truly blessed that our staff, participants, families/

caregivers, and Cosmo network are so resilient, supportive, and creative. We were given

many lemons in 2020, and we took those lemons quickly turning them into lemonade by

tweaking, adjusting, and sweetening the recipe along the way. On the program delivery

side of Cosmo, how did we do this?

Our lemonade production started like most years, with just the right number of lemons and

sweetness. Our facilities were filled with routine, laughter, socialization, meaningful

programs, much work to be completed, etc. We welcomed 6 new people to our Cosmo

team with new participants starting at all four of our locations. We celebrated the

retirement of Joanne Corniere with an amazing party. While all of this was happening, the pandemic situation

continued to unfold. We remained calm, strengthened our safety strategies, and chose to carry on for as long as we

could safely do so. By the end of March, we closed all our locations and shifted to remote services.

In March and early April, our Program Managers and Coordinators worked diligently to determine what the best

recipe and production method would be for what seemed like an overwhelming number of lemons now being tossed

our way. It is truly amazing what can be accomplished when such a talented group put their thoughts together. So, in

true Cosmo style, we were back to business – untraditional and outside the box mind you – but still exceptional. For

the next four to five months, with provincial stay-at-home measures in place, Cosmo’s staff team:

Introduced virtual programming with program participants having the opportunity to join in from the comfort of

their homes.

Stayed connected through regular phone calls or video chats.

Provided outreach support with many of our staff team deployed to work in group homes, providing

opportunities from the comfort and safety of the home.

Offered outdoor activities like nature walks and driving tours with our wheelchair van where social distancing

was sustainable.

Developed new program options for implementation when everyone can return to one of our facilities.

Worked with our Supported Employment employers to help address their employment issues.

Initiated outdoor work with our grounds keeping program and the delivery of flyers.

Developed our strategy for re-opening our facilities.

In addition to the above, in September we added the option of returning to our re-opened centers. Like all good recipes,

with a strong starting point, one can always experiment, adjust, and try new ingredients. This is what the Cosmo team

has done this year! And an amazing job at that.

Our team in business services have been working to complete the backlog of work created by our closure, with

everyone pitching in where possible. We are so thankful for the support and understanding of our customers. Among

all the lemonade experimenting and production, we managed to carry on with our DEAM celebration recognizing our

employer champions.

In conclusion, I think you will agree that 2020 has truly been a year like no other. It has been very difficult at times but

as Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Opportunity is what our Cosmo team has facilitated. We converted an abundance of lemons into lemonade. I look

forward to 2021, and to ‘the new normal’ and to seeing which lemonade ingredients we carry on with or maybe what

new ingredients are yet to be tried. Cosmo worked 50 years at creating a strong foundational recipe to build on, so I see

nothing but opportunity moving forward.

To you and your family, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year.

Randine Graf

Program Sr. Manager

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the cosmo communicator

Season’s Greeting from Recycling

I am sure there are a good number of these articles that start off by bidding

farewell to 2020, so why not do the same. Goodbye 2020! Things have been quite

different in recycling for most of 2020. When the building closed for programs in April,

no one expected the shutdown to be as lengthy as it was, but Cosmo found a way to keep

providing good for our community. Recycling stayed open and operating and had to

quickly adapt to the new normal to keep staff safe and in masks. Masks my kingdom for

an N95! The staff here, as always, were great through all the changes and we kept

humming along through the worst of the pandemic. We saw a large spike in recycled

material as people turned to online shopping and bought supplies needed to hunker

down. The change that no one got used to is not having program participants on the belt.

While Jason and Patrick are the only regulars on the belt, they have been greatly missed.

Especially this time of year, when dancing to Christmas carols and decorating the sort

area with decorations that come across the belt becomes Jason’s main work task and

Patrick requesting Boney M. to be played on a loop while working.

Shred also stayed open and operating through the COVID shutdown. Business slowed down a fair amount

giving drivers a chance to help in other areas of work. The participants in shred were also missed, both in production

and of course, team spirit. Again we got through and the guys have started to come back. Customers that were shut

down and working from home have also steadily been returning and some have been increasing their service levels and

are grateful that Cosmo Shred has been willing to work with the ever changing schedules.

COVID did play a bit of an affect on recycling markets as there was a healthy bump in the price we receive for

material. It was one of few bright spots during the COVID shut down, it was also very short lived and only lasted a

couple of months. Since then, pricing has flattened out and while it could always be better, we are not seeing record

low prices that kicked off 2020. We continue look to ways to grow shred and new revenue streams, and in 2021 that

includes Cosmo taking on a rather hefty dedicated route of cardboard bale pickups from businesses around Saskatoon.

It is an exciting opportunity that we are confident will create revenue and a new success stories.

Now is a good time to look back at 2020 and be mindful of the good things that 2020 brought and look

optimistically at 2021. I am sure not all of us are big on Stoic wisdom, but Marcus Aurelius said, “You have power

over your own mind- not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.” Our reason for happiness and living

without fear need to come from inside us as that is what we control. Be safe and take care during the holidays.

David Troesch - Recycling Manager

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the cosmo communicator

Cans4Cosmo Update

After 6 months of collecting deposit containers

Cans4Cosmo has picked up from 800 homes. Residents

have donated $40,000 of cans, bottles, jugs, and

cartons. Of those donating to Cosmo, 345 of them have

signed up for continuing service with collections taking

place every 8 to 10 weeks. It’s a 50 th anniversary goal for

Cans4Cosmo to have 1000 subscribers for our regularly

scheduled collections and we are already one-third of the

way to that target. We’ve designed two posters and local

businesses have started to put them up to raise awareness

of our at-home pick up service among their customers. If

you know of a business who would like a poster, let us

know. We’ve also begun accepting donations of deposit

containers dropped off at Cosmo. These drop offs are by

appointment only. Any containers left outside without

our knowledge will most likely be taken by others. To

make arrangements to deliver deposit containers to

Cosmo please email

or call 306-260-7093.

December 24th - Early closure

Dec. 25th - Cosmo Closed -

Christmas Day

Dec. 28th - Cosmo Closed in Lieu of Boxing Day

Participants visiting with Mr. and Mrs. Claus via


Changes @ Cosmo

December 31st - Early closure

Jan. 1st, 2021 - Cosmo Closed -

New Years Day

Cosmo’s Rhythm Band director Clare running the first Rhythm Band

Practice via zoom, with some participants from Supported Work.

Staff Good-byes:

Bryce Dwyer-MURR CSR and Cosmo Shred


Marla Klaassen

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