Rainbow Swim for special needs families set at Stettler pool

Rainbow Swim for special needs families set at Stettler pool

Local woman starts support group to help others

By Emily Jaycox For the Independent

A free swim time for special needs families and seniors with disabilities will be held at the Stettler Swimming Pool from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28.

All ages are welcome.

The “Rainbow Swim” is being hosted by Rainbow Angels, a newly-formed support group for special needs individuals and their families, as well as the elderly with disabilities and their caregivers.

The founder and organizer of Rainbow Angels, Kelsey Strandquist, has a four-year-old son on the autism spectrum and a grandmother with a disability so she knows how important finding connections can be.

“I was looking for other parents in the community to talk to and I couldn’t find any,” said Strandquist.

When she couldn’t find a support system, she decided to build her own.

“I finally asked the right people and got [the support group] going.”

The group started up in September and has already held an evening on self-care, and a park play date.

Her goal is to make a place where people can come for some empathy or just to have a break from their day, she says.

“I know it can be tough,” said Strandquist.

“It’s always nice to have someone to talk to.”

The name Rainbow Angels represents how everyone is unique and has something unique to give, she says.

“A rainbow has a bunch of different colours, and we’re a bunch of different people with different abilities … everybody has a rainbow and everybody is an angel.”

The group already has a few members, and lots of interest, says Strandquist.

The support group will strive to fill needs, whatever they may be, says Strandquist, and she has a lot of ideas on how to do that.

If the swim time is well-attended, they may do that again, or have coffee dates, craft days, games nights, or date night for parents and she even hopes to start a dads’ night, she says.

Strandquist is currently working with the high school on a cooking day for parents and older children.

“As the need comes, we’ll fill it.”

The group will have monthly meetings to start.

The Stettler Parent Link Centre has come forward and dedicated space and staff to facilitate the meetings.

If interest grows, the meetings will be held more often.

The date for the next meeting will be announced at the Rainbow Swim.