I’m Back – What a Summer!

Well, it has been a long time since I have shared with all of you. I have mentioned before that I am still getting the hang of this blogging thing. Thank you for sticking with me.

It has been a busy few months. Let me get you caught up on the exciting things happening in my life…

During the long weekend in May the Canadian Down Syndrome Society’s conference was held in Edmonton. My mom helped to plan the conference and get things organized here. When we arrived at the hotel to move in for the weekend my mum and Michelle could not find me in the car! Good thing I am small!

On the Thursday night I meet with my VATA friends and I helped prepare the SWAG bags that all people coming to the conference would receive. It was cool that we got to host families from all over Canada and even some of our favorite friends from the USA in our city.

Saturday was fun! I attended a session by Dr. McGuire and then I went to the film festival. I was able to see three great films that featured people born with Down syndrome. Later in the afternoon my sister and I led a Yoga class for the young adults. What an interesting experience. I got to see once again that while there are similarities between people born with Down syndrome we are all very unique too. That evening my friends and I got all dressed up and went to a Red Carpet event just for us. We walked the red carpet and had our pictures taken. We were all stars!

Sunday was Soul Sister Sunday! My sister Michelle and I presented our session called Soul Sisters. We had over 40 people come and listen to us. I gave people a lot to think about and made them laugh. Humour is the best medicine! Michelle did pretty well too. After our presentation we went for brunch with our good friends Gail and Blair from Los Angeles. Blair is like our brother. We call him “Knucklebean” or “Burger Boy”. I was sad to say good-bye to them but I knew we would be seeing each other in a few weeks in Phoenix. Sunday night we closed the conference with a big dinner and dance. There was lots of food, yummy dessert and dancing! It was a wonderful weekend!

Please stay tuned for my next blog so you can get caught up even more on my life.

Be Inspired,



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“You don’t buy a friend, you earn a friend”. Richard Pryor

What is friendship?







My friend Sydney moved to Edmonton from a small town called Lyndhurst, in Ontario. She moved here to participate in the Ascend Leadership Project.

We first met at the Anglican Parish of Christ Church. The church hosts a Community Dinner once a month and I help by setting tables. I invited Sydney to join me, A few days later my friends from PULP came to film my promotional video. We invited Sydney to come by and be apart of it. During that day we had a great time talking, laughing and learning about each other.

Now Sydney and I see each other at least once a week. When we spend time together we like to make art, go out for tea, be active and tell each other about the important things that happened in our week. The most important part of our friendship is that we encourage each other to be the best we can be.

I believe friendship is about helping, it is about listening and it is about ensuring that your friends are appreciated for who they are.

Be Inspired,


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Education is very important to me and mine started at a young age. I was a part of the first integrated early education program at Mayfield Elementary School. At the age of 3 I would get picked up in a cab and off I would go. This program gave me my start and showed me that I was capable of learning. From there I attended Montessori where I learned to read, write, count and many other life skills. I was very lucky because I had teachers who believed in me and were patient. This type of school worked really well for me and set me up to continue my learning.

I was able to attend the same junior/senior high school as my sister. I went to regular class with an aid. Many times I asked her to sit at the back of the class…I wanted to sit with the other kids. I participated in choir and was able to go on many trips. I made a very good friend in homeroom and we are still friends to this day even though she is a busy mom. My experience was good and I was able to learn many lessons in and out of the classroom.

My mum had to open peoples eyes sometimes and ask then to take a chance on me. I think people find it hard to say “no” to her but in the end they never had to because prove their outdated perception wrong.

I know that some people with disabilities haven’t had similar experiences with education. I think that we are all individuals and that each of us should be set-up for success in all areas of our life. To parents out there…help your children have the most positive educational experience they can even if it doesn’t look the same for each child.

If it wasn’t for my family and my teachers I would not be where I am today. I am a lifelong learner…lucky for me the people in my life think I’m a great student!

Be inspired,


Being a “Folkie”

Hi Friends,
I had a new experience on the weekend of August 9th. My sister Michelle took my mum and I to the last day of Folk Fest. I wasn’t too sure how I felt about going. Michelle has always made is sound fun but I felt uneasy beacuse I’ve never done it before. On Sunday Morning, I put on a cute sun dress while mum and Michelle packed up everything we would need for the day. I thought they were nuts!
We set out on our adventure. When we arrived, there were lots of people but everyone seemed like they were having a good time. After putting all of our stuff down on the tarp Michelle had gotten earlier we went to get some lunch. I had Chicken Adobo. It was yummy.
At 2pm we sat on our tarp to hear a band from Cuba called Septeto Santiaguero. Their music made me want to dance and reminded me of Desi Arnaz. It was a very, very hot day so it almost felt like we were someplace tropical.
From there we walked to another stage to hear the Masters of Hawaiian Music. This brought back many memories of my trips to Hawaii.
The rest of our day was filled with music, food and a trip to the beer garden. I even got ID’d.
Later in the day we went back to our tarp and Michelle explained to me that the evening on the hill is very special because everyone comes together in friendship and to listen to the music. Many people were holding candles. They also had a parade of lanterns that were carried by volunteers. The lanterns were so pretty and creative. The last band was Blue Rodeo. There music was beautiful to me.
My favourite memory of the day was sharing something new with my mum and sister.
 P.S. I do have to share that my least favourite part was using the outhouses. They are disgusting!!!! I do not like germs so this was not the place for me. Somehow I think they need to make this better.
Be Inspired,
 Tanya on The Hill Image 2

On The Road Again

Summer has been very busy and interesting.
A few weeks ago I travelled to Indianapolis, Indiana to attend the National Down Syndrome Conference. If you are a sports fan you already know Indianapolis is famous for the  Indy 500 Car Race. This year is the 98th running of the race. On the conference floor they had a car which we sit in for fun and pictures. I am happy that they didn’t start the car – too much noise!

On our way to the conference we had a delayed flight out of Toronto. When we arrived in New York we had to rush to catch our next plane. I do not walk very quickly so my Mum explained that I needed to ride in a wheelchair to get to the next terminal. WOW that was embarrassing!! Mothers! My mum always has a plan! We did make the flight…barely.

The weekend was all about families and friendship while learning new idea’s. My American friends and I spent time catching up on what we are busy with in our home towns. There was lots of time for fun,  laughter, eating, and course dancing.

Part of the conference is a film festival. We viewed many new  films staring actors born with Down Syndrome. My favourite was, Produce: Where Hope  Grows. This movie tells a story of how a young man working in a grocery store helps a stranger turned friend how to deal with the struggles of his life. Everyone should see this movie. Next year they should think about giving everyone Kleenex. This was a wonderful and real story line.

Friends are so important to me even if I only see them in person once a year. I know I am blessed to have such good friends. Smile and think of all the amazing people in your corner.

Be Inspired,


My Thoughts on Travel

Hi Friends,

Looking outside and seeing the sunshine makes me think about many memories that I have of travelling. Edmonton is lovely in the spring, summer and fall but the winter makes me feel blah!

I feel very lucky that I was able to go to Honolulu with my mum and sister this year. It is beautiful and warm. When I spend time there my favourite thing to do is hang out by the pool, have a cute guy bring me drinks and then walk to Yogurtland.  Those are the best days!

Another thing I love to do there is see my friends who live on the island. It is a wonderful thing to be able to have friends in different parts of the world.  My Hawaiian friends are doing some wonderful work on behalf of people with Down syndrome.  As a family we have been able to help them and the families they support.  I have been able to show people that their child with Down syndrome will grow up to have hopes, dreams and goals.

I have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit. Some of my favourites places have been Scottsdale, Grand Cayman (not during Hurricane season), and to visit family in British Columbia.

As much as I like to travel I feel that it can throw off my routine. What this has taught me is that when I am away, if I need something, that I need to speak up for myself. This way people can understand me a little better.

One day I really hope to visit Jamaica because that is where “Cool Running’s” was filmed, Greece and Italy. Hopefully, if I get the chance to visit these places I can spread my message of hope for people with developmental disabilities.

Be Inspired,


Tanya’s 1st Blog

Welcome Friends!

This is a very exciting day as this is my first time writing on my blog. I want to welcome you to my website and to ask you to please come back and visit often.

I want my website and blog to inspire people in their lives by sharing my life experiences.

When I made my entrance into the world I was born with Down syndrome. What this means is I have 3 copies of the 21st chromosome.

*Down syndrome commonly results in an effect on learning style, although the differences are highly variable and individualistic, just as in the physical characteristics or health concerns. The most significant challenge is to find the most effective, productive methods of teaching each individual. The identification of the best methods of teaching each particular child ideally begins soon after birth, through early intervention programs.

Position Statement on Redefining Down Syndrome
, Canadian Down Syndrome Society, Approved November 2003

The way that I like to look at it is that I was born with Designers Genes and my sister has to buy them!

I feel that I have had an interesting life full of happiness and some challenges. Which does not make me much different than anyone else.  Something I know that connects all of us is that we are all given special talents and gifts. One of my gifts is that I have been given the ability to have a voice and to be an advocate on behalf of people born with Down syndrome. Life is not all about me but through my experiences I can lead the way for others and to help my friends be who they are meant to be.

My reward for being an advocate is knowing that I have done something to help others. It makes me feel that I have something to offer to our community.

As I get older and understand life a bit more I realize that people with disabilities are not that different from everyone else in this world. We are unique! We all need to be loved, cared about, and understood and to know that we have good people in our corner. This contributes to our well-being.

Thank you again for visiting my site. I hope that you will come back often and feel inspired and happy about life.


Be Inspired,








“Gorgeous and gifted” young Anglicans live faith, change world

Archbishop Sentamu shares a hug and handshake with Tanya Ponich.

Archbishop Sentamu shares a hug and handshake with Tanya Ponich.

In December 2013 Tanya was featured in the Edmonton publication the Messenger.

Below is the copy from the article by Margaret Marschall

“I am gorgeous, talented, gifted; fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loves me!” a chorus of voices echoed in unison at All Saints’ Cathedral. Pumping their fists in the air, the young Anglicans and their leaders joined the refrain of their impassioned dinner guest, the Archbishop of York.

As part of the Centennial celebrations of the Edmonton Diocese, the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Dr. John Sentamu and his wife, Margaret, sat down October 20 to a Sunday dinner of chicken stew and dumplings with more than 100 youth members from many parishes throughout Edmonton and surrounding communities.

Young people were invited by Bishop Jane Alexander, who prepared and hosted the meal with a little help from Cathedral clergy, Synod Office staff and several culinary assistants, to share with the Archbishop and their peers the ways faith has enabled them to be the change they want to see in the world. One woman said she discovered her heart for serving others while pursuing a Christian post-secondary education. A high school student said that his youth group is passionate about “meeting people where they are and going out beyond the four walls of their church.” A self-described “twenty-something” said her decision to become an active steward, rather than a passive spectator in church, has led to meaningful relationships and a richer faith experience. A young adult ministries leader said that learning to pray has been life-giving: providing her with a sense of self and direction.

“I work every day for acceptance,” said Tanya Ponich, 34, sharing her faith story. Confirmed at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Victoria, BC, Ponich is now an active member of Christ Church, Edmonton, where she attends with her mother Rosalind Mosychuk. She serves at the 8:00 am BCP service and volunteers at the monthly community dinners. The young woman born with Down syndrome is committed to helping others. She takes joy in working with pre-school age children in speech therapy at the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society. As a motivational speaker and advocate, Ponich says she uses her God-given talents to inspire hope, “just like the Archbishop.”

A strong believer in young people as leaders of change within their local communities, church and society, Sentamu, who has more than 40,000 Twitter followers, established the Archbishop of York’s Youth Trust (www.archbishopofyorkyouthtrust.co.uk/youth-trust/) in northern England. He is also Founder of Acts 435 an online Christian charity that connects people in need with people able and willing to provide assistance.

Most dinner guests hung around after the meal chatting in small groups and meeting youth from other parishes while waiting for a chance to greet and shake hands with the Archbishop, who happily gave out high-fives and hugs.

“This has been a thrilling evening,” said Bishop Jane. “My prayer is that we allow this enthusiasm of our young people to breathe in the communities they come from and that we truly listen to them and offer encouragement as they live out their vision of God.”

Tanya Shares a laugh with the Archbishop.

Tanya Shares a laugh with the Archbishop.


Tanya Ponic in front of microphone speaking at All Saints.

Tanya speaking at All Saints.

The article as it appeared in The Messenger.

The article as it appeared in The Messenger.