University of Windsor

CLEC receives provincial funding, funds evaluation of employment services


By Ron Giofu

Community Living Essex County (CLEC) received $27,400 from Ontario’s Local Poverty Reduction Fund and used it to evaluate its employment service.

The funding was put towards an independent evaluation by University of Windsor researchers into Career Compass, a CLEC-sponsored employment support service geared towards promoting inclusive hiring and finding employment for those with intellectual disabilities.

The research was performed by Kelly Carr, Laura Chittle, Sean Horton, Patricia Weir and Chad Sutherland from the department of kinesiology. Carr, a PhD candidate, along with CLEC executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero and director of supports overseeing Career Compass Rosa Amicarelli presented the results at a media conference April 4.

Community Living Essex County (CLEC) received $27,400 from Ontario’s Local Poverty Reduction Fund and used it to evaluate its employment service – Career Compass. From left: University of Windsor PhD candidate and researcher Kelly Carr, CLEC director of supports overseeing Career Compass Rosa Amicarelli, Community Living Essex County executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero, self-advocate Reggie Wilson and Essex MPP Taras Natyshak.

Carr explained there was a 2004 report that showed that people with disabilities were traditionally paid $8.66 – slightly higher than the minimum wage at the time – and mainly held sales and service industry jobs with no health benefits. The results of the research recommended a “strength-based employment service” which marketed job seekers for their strengths, promoted an untapped talent pool of employees and adopted more of a business-like approach.

Such recommendations would result in increased hourly wages and jobs outside the service sector, further income security by increasing hours of work including at permanent jobs outside the sales and services sector and allow for long-term considerations including medical and health benefits. Carr noted that qualitative and quantitative evaluations of workplace attitudes were taken with a strength-based employment services, as opposed to a social service approach.

Carr added that strength-based employment services resulted in “significantly higher wages” as well as an estimated 55-times greater likelihood of working outside the sales and services sector.

Amicarelli said that the University of Windsor’s results will be shared with the employment team, which consists of herself and four others.

Kelly Carr, a University of Windsor PhD candidate, fields a question during a media conference held at Community Living Essex County’s main office April 4. Carr was one of the researchers that evaluated CLEC’s employment service Career Compass.

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak was also on hand for an official cheque presentation, and said that upwards of 30 per cent of people in the next decade could be faced with some sort of disability. He said it makes business sense to hire people with intellectual disabilities as it is reflective of what is happening in society.

“We were very fortunate to get this grant,” added Wallace-Gero, adding Community Living Essex County was one of the few agencies in this end of the province to receive such funding.

“We will document proven strategies that move people with disabilities toward meaningful employment within a diverse and inclusive workplace,” she said. “This research will demonstrate the real shift occurring for people with disabilities; that is, a shift away from unemployment, isolation and poverty to a real career, inclusion and income security.”

The study originated in January 2017.

For more information on Career Compass, visit, call 519-776-6483, “Like” them on Facebook at or “Follow” them on Twitter at

University of Windsor coach tries to help other hockey coaches



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) offered a chance for some of their coaches to get some coaching tips thanks to the University of Windsor’s head coach.

Lancer coach Kevin Hamlin spoke to a group of about 25 travel coaches from AMHA at the Libro Centre and tried to impart some of the wisdom he has accumulated from his days as a university and pro player as well as from his coaching career. Hamlin’s coaching stops have included the Windsor Spitfires, Cornell University, Belle River Canadiens, Leamington Flyers, Sarnia Bees and St. Clair College as well as the Lancers.

“His credentials speak for themselves,” said AMHA travel vice president Greg Crain. “You are not going to get a better leader with more knowledge.”

Hamlin said coming out and talking with other coaches was something he enjoyed.

University of Windsor men’s hockey coach Kevin Hamlin addresses AMHA coaches during a recent talk at the Libro Centre.

“There are few places I’d rather be than be in a room with a bunch of coaches,” said Hamlin.

Hamlin encouraged the AMHA travel coaches to find something in his presentation they liked “and make it your own.

“You’re a role model,” he told the coaches. “Our athletes are watching us. We’re role models.”

Hamlin outlined his own background, recalling the day when his father enrolled him in hockey to when friend Brad Smith got him into coaching with the Spitfires. He told the coaches there are “four seasons of coaching” and the first one is the end of the season.

At the end of the season, coaches have to evaluate and critically analyze their program. Hamlin acknowledged that it isn’t easy, but “you have to. It’s about the kids we serve.”

Hamlin said that process not only helps make players better, but it actually helped him as a coach.

“It made me a better coach,” he said. “I used to hate it.”

The off-season was the second “season” of coaching, with team building being a part of that.

“The more you know each other, the more you’ll fight for each other,” said Hamlin.

Hamlin added that seasons is also when he recruits players, noting he recruits character first. He also encouraged coaches to find assistant coaches that can help with areas the head coaches may not be strong at so that they complement each other better.

The pre-season is the next stage and then it is the in-season portion of the coaches’ life. Hamlin said he spends about 15 minutes planning a practice, saying it is very important to plan for a good practice. He went over various hockey skills with the coaches and advised them on what drills can be used with players.

“Repetition is absolutely essential,” said Hamlin. “Make sure they got it before you move on.”

University of Windsor men’s hockey coach Kevin Hamlin (left) spoke with a group of AMHA travel coaches recently. AMHA vice president of travel Greg Crain (right) presents Hamlin with a plaque to thank him for his visit.

As for developing goalies, Hamlin encouraged coaches to not try and mold goalies into something they aren’t and said they can defer to a goalie coach for development at that position.

Most of all, Hamlin said he wants players and coaches to have fun.

Hamlin said he was asked to come by AMHA and said he enjoys speaking with coaches at the grassroots level. He indicated he would be willing to return if a request is made.

“This is the very least I can do,” he said. “They are doing tremendous work. They are making differences in the lives of young people. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re here to do.”

Two Amherstburg residents inducted into University of Windsor Alumni Sports Hall of Fame



By Ron Giofu


A pair of Amherstburg residents have been inducted as part of this year’s class in the University of Windsor Alumni Sports Hall of Fame.

Ritch Coughlin and Stephen Gibb were recently inducted into the Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held earlier in October.

Coughlin graduated from the University of Windsor’s human kinetics program 1986. He played football at and ran track and field for four years while in university. Since graduating, Coughlin was an assistant coach for the track and field team from 1989-98, an assistant football coach in 1994 and 1995 and has also coached many other athletes including Lancer long jump and triple jump record holder Kelly Dinsmore as well as three others who made over 6m in the women’s long jump for the first and only time in OUA history in 1995.

Coughlin has also won other awards, including the Gino Fracas Coaching Award in 1996, the Lancer “A” Award in 1985-86 and was the Canada Summer Games opening ceremonies flagbearer in 1986.

Ritch Coughlin (Photo by Dongjie Lai)

As for being inducted into the Alumni Sports Hall of Fame, Coughlin said he was “honoured and humbled” but it was “great to represent track and field program especially the jumper group that I worked with for ten years.”

Coughlin said he received a call a few months ago about the award. He said he was proud at first but his second reaction was “an uncomfortable feeling of being singled out in front of so many other worthy candidates through the years. I spoke with Steve Gibb about this and he felt the same.”

Coughlin added he never gave such an award a thought.

“My successes were really the successes of the student athletes and was always proud of their growth and improvement in the sport. The Hall of Fame stuff was never on the radar,” he said.

Noting he is “proud to represent and bring light to the amazing accomplishments of the kids I worked with,” Coughlin said one of them is in the Hall of Fame and his goal is to get more recognized in the future.

Coughlin still coaches a few high school track athletes and also managed the Amherstburg bantam travel baseball team that won a provincial title a few years ago. He still runs marathons and half-marathons.

Gibb played volleyball, basketball and did track at General Amherst High School before moving on to the University of Windsor where he played track and volleyball.

“It’s been 32 years since I graduated so the experience of reflecting on those distant memories has been very nostalgic,” said Gibb. “It’s nice to be recognized for your achievements and contributions and I really am proud to be part of the track and field legacy at the University of Windsor. But to be honest, I never thought I’d get the call.”

Gibb stated this award didn’t exist until after he graduated so he wasn’t even aware of it until he was nominated a few years ago.

“In the intervening years, the university has built some really strong track and field teams and I felt my time had passed and the dust had settled on the small mark I left on the program. So, I was pretty shocked when I got the news,” he said. “I was involved with the track team from 81-86 and played on the men’s varsity volleyball team from ’84-’86 so this was a few years ago. Being recognized for my track contributions would have made more sense to me back then instead of today, but I do still hold the fifth best all-time high jump mark and ninth best triple jump mark for the University of Windsor, so I had that going for me.”

Steve Gibb (Photo by Dongjie Lai)

Gibb pointed out he won the OUA provincial championships in high jump and has more than a dozen other OUA medals for high jump and triple jump, both indoors and outdoors. He was fourth at the Canadian championships a number of times. In 1984, Gibb was awarded the Demarco Award at the University of Windsor for being top male student athlete.

“The Hall of Fame nod was pretty sweet especially getting to share the day with my old pal, teammate and training partner Ritch Coughlin,” said Gibb.

Gibb said he never did compete in track after university, which at that time seemed the norm.

“Today athletes compete into their mid ’30s and older,” he said. “I continued playing volleyball until my knees started yelling at me, but now I really like walking and people always comment they’ve seen me around my neighbourhood with my wife Jacquie.”


University student aims to honour past, help other students’ futures


By Ron Giofu

Addolorata De Luca grew up in a poor family, obtained a Grade 3 education and was widowed, forcing her to bring up five children.

De Luca came to Canada and provided for her family, doing whatever it took to provide for her family including washing dishes, planting vegetables for local farmers and working long hours picking tomatoes.

Now, many years later, her granddaughter is remembering her struggles and wants to give back to the community in her name.

Cessidia DeBiasio created the Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship two years ago with the aim of not only giving back to University of Windsor students, but to honour her ancestors and the ancestors of others.

DeBiasio, who was born and raised in Amherstburg and is a graduate of St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School, said people in Windsor-Essex County have many stories of how the generations before them came to the area to make lives for themselves.

“Everyone has a story you can relate to,” said DeBiasio, “whether they have stories of where they came from or where their family came from.”

Cessidia DeBiasio, an Amherstburg native now attending the University of Windsor, has created the Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship. She holds a sponsorship card that is given to those who donate to her cause.

Cessidia DeBiasio, an Amherstburg native now attending the University of Windsor, has created the Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship. She holds a sponsorship card that is given to those who donate to her cause.

DeBiasio is fundraising to help establish the scholarship, which she hopes will become an annual award. The endowment has to raise $40,000 in order that a deserving student can receive a $1,500 scholarship. She said the recipient will be selected by the University of Windsor’s student award and financial aid committee.

A graduate of the University of Windsor’s School of Social Work in 2015, she is still at the university pursuing a business degree and hopes to have a career involving corporate social responsibility.

While she has created the scholarship two years, she has been actively fundraising for the last 18 months in addition to her studies and other aspects of her life.

“It’s been a lot of work doing this,” said DeBiasio, with the 23-year-old believing she is one of the youngest people to pursue such an endeavor.

DeBiasio pointed out she has raised almost $20,000 thus far towards the scholarship. She has no timetable to raise the remainder of the $40,000, but would like to do so sooner rather than later.

“The sooner I can raise it, the better,” she said. “All donations are appreciated.”

For further information or to donate to the scholarship, visit, or e-mail People can also visit the scholarship’s Facebook page by searching “The Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship.”

B.C. Lions select Amherstburg native in CFL draft



By Ron Giofu


Nathaniel O’Halloran’s football talents led him from Centennial Park as a member of the General Amherst Bulldogs to the University of Windsor and, now, to the Canadian Football League (CFL).

The 24-year-old fullback was drafted in the seventh round of last Tuesday night’s CFL draft by the British Columbia Lions. O’Halloran heads to Vancouver later this month to suit up for his new team.

“It feels good but it’s nerve-wracking,” he said. “It’s like a full-time job now.”

O’Halloran was streaming the draft on the internet but his connection was a bit slower than the draft was actually happening. He learned he was drafted when the phone rang about 10 p.m. and a British Columbia phone number came up.

“I don’t know too many people in B.C. that are going to call at 10 p.m.,” he joked.

Amherstburg native Nathaniel O'Halloran, who played fullback at the University of Windsor, was chosen by the B.C. Lions in the Canadian Football League draft. (Photo: Special to the RTT)

Amherstburg native Nathaniel O’Halloran, who played fullback at the University of Windsor, was chosen by the B.C. Lions in the Canadian Football League draft. (Photo: Special to the RTT)

O’Halloran knew there was interest in his football talents when he competed at the March 11-13 national combine. There were sit-down interviews with teams, including the Lions, and that was the last time he spoke with anyone from B.C. before the draft.

Even though he was told there was a 99 per cent chance he would get drafted, O’Halloran said he didn’t approach last Tuesday night with a lot of expectations.

“I didn’t hang my hopes into any one thing in case it didn’t happen,” he said.

Knowing that fullbacks aren’t generally high draft picks, he said he thought he may get selected in a later round.

“I wasn’t sure where I was going to go,” he said.

Since the draft, his phone hasn’t stopping ringing and he said his mother also is experiencing the same thing at her home.

“For me, it hasn’t sunk in yet,” said O’Halloran. “I’m the same guy I was.”

O’Halloran has received a few e-mails from the Lions congratulating him on being chosen and giving him an itinerary for rookie camp, which begins May 25.

“I’m more or less competing for a back-up spot on offense and a starting spot on special teams,” he said.

A pro football career was something that was on his radar only in recent years. He said he was sent to an East-West Bowl game two years ago by Lancer coach Joe D’Amore and that is when he learned there was interest in him.

O’Halloran said he has to make the team and his goal is to dress for the Lions for as many games as he can and he plans on working hard to achieve that goal. He already has spoken with CFL players who train in Windsor on how to approach getting ready for a pro career.

His family is very excited for him, he added, and that “it’s really cool” to come from Amherstburg and now have an opportunity to play pro football.

“I try not to think about it too much. The more I think about it, the more nervous I get,” he said.

O’Halloran said he is glad his hard work has paid off but is thankful to everyone that has helped him along the way. In addition to family and friends, he thanked his coaches which include D’Amore and former Bulldogs head coach Jim MacDougall, the latter now a teacher at Kennedy.

“(MacDougall) was one of the main reasons I went to university in the first place,” said O’Halloran.