Feature Stories

Astellas Canada Employees Foster Environment of Inclusion to Support People with Disabilities

Nov 29, 2017

On Oct. 25, 2017, 140 Astellas Pharma Canada employees from across Canada came together to focus on diversity and inclusion by volunteering at the Abilities Centre in Whitby, Ontario for Astellas’ global day of service, Changing Tomorrow Day. The Abilities Centre is an internationally renowned, innovative and fully accessible community hub where people of all ages and abilities enrich their lives by engaging in sports, fitness, arts and life skills programming.

Volunteers began the day with a training session on inclusion that also demonstrated how the Astellas culture works to foster an inclusive mindset. Then volunteers participated in a variety of activities, from cleaning gym equipment to working on art projects that will be showcased at the facility.

The art projects were designed and led by members of the Abilities Centre's Thrive program — a program in which adults with developmental disabilities participate in activities that support well-being and independence. These art projects provided select members of the Thrive program with a unique opportunity to hone their leadership skills. At one art station, volunteers used a wheelchair, sensory balls and various other objects to create a colourful canvas. A second art station involved assembling butterflies from a variety of materials, highlighting the beauty in diversity. The third station was a 'motivation board' comprised of inspirational messages that community members will be adding to over time.

Everyone also had the chance to experience the importance of inclusion in recreation through activities like wheelchair basketball, bocce ball and aerobics adapted to those with physical disabilities.

Volunteer Amanda Henderson, senior sales manager, Oncology, really enjoyed the day and said, "I was very inspired by the mission to create an accessible and inclusive environment for people of all abilities. It has inspired me to commit to being more aware of recognizing obstacles for people and proactively contributing to a more inclusive world."​​

The day closed with a short awards ceremony recognizing the efforts of the Thrive program members in making the event so enjoyable and a success for the volunteers. The Thrive team was brought on stage to thunderous applause, beaming with pride as they were presented with certificates acknowledging their achievement.

About Changing Tomorrow Day
Throughout the year and around the world, Astellas Changing Tomorrow Day events mobilize employees to commit to an entire day of service. A series of company-sponsored volunteer events, Changing Tomorrow Day is a collaborative effort with local nonprofits to provide employees diverse opportunities to make a positive, measurable impact. Learn more.

Living SMART™ is the Astellas approach to preparing communities today for what can happen tomorrow. The Living SMART framework brings together the strength of the charitable Astellas USA Foundation and our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work to find the areas where we can make the most impact to improve lives. Astellas USA Foundation and Astellas CSR collaborate to create a positive impact on society through three overarching focus areas: health and well-being; Science WoRx (STEM education); and disaster response. To read more about Living SMART, see the Astellas Americas Corporate Social Responsibility Report Card.

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