If you walk west on 118 Avenue and look up to the second storey of the building on 94 Street, you will see a new mural. It is called the Create YouR Awesome Community Mural Project and is part of the recent changes to the Qi Creative building.

Qi Creative works with special needs children and their families “in home and school environments to celebrate their talents and strengths in overcoming challenges,” said Jonathan “Jon Jon” Rivero, the chief energy officer, chief executive officer, and founder.

“We [Qi Creative] are occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, physical therapists, behaviour and trauma specialists, and human ecologists dedicated to helping others create meaningful learning and embrace their awesome selves,” said Rivero.

He continued: “We are creating awesome 24/7, though our office hours are currently by appointment. We also run programs in partnership with other businesses, schools, and organizations through Qi Adventure Club, which is adventures for people of all abilities.”

Qi Creative staff and clients on a downhill skiing adventure. | Provided by Paula Rivero

These adventures include learning how to downhill ski, skate, skateboard, ride a bike, or dance. Activities also include learning capoeira or taekwondo, which are often run at Alberta Avenue Community Centre.

Planning the renovations began in 2014. The roof came off in December of 2015 to add a second storey and the team moved back into the building on January 11 of this year. The added storey includes four meeting rooms, a full kitchen, and a lounge with colourful modular seating in front of a glass garage door that opens onto a balcony. The main floor has a media room with a green screen for movie making and an open multipurpose room for larger meetings or playing ping pong.

Founder Jonathan “Jon Jon” Rivero (left) and Paula Rivero (right) have helped grow Qi Creative since 2012. | Provided by Paula Rivero

“These renovations have been years in the making,” Rivero explained. “Qi Creative is a practice that grows a little more each year in terms of the clients we serve and the coaches we hire to meet their needs.”

With the growth came an increased need for space for things such as offices for the coaches to complete paperwork and answer phone calls and a larger communal space to work with the children.

Since 2012, Qi Creative has grown from a local business to an international training company. In 2016, Rivero was the recipient of the TED Talent Showcase, and because of this has been invited to speak at TEDxYOUTH@NIST and TEDxYouth@Austin.

In 2012, Qi Creative launched Qi University, a seminar/workshop for parents, caregivers, and professionals. They also work with schools to provide educational consulting and therapy services and provide an educational support model that “is a strength-based approach that helps children and students to be successful,” Rivero said.

Costs for the services may vary depending on where you live in Alberta, but a free online community called Qi iQ provides access to resources and material.

The community mural project on the side of Qi Creative’s renovated building. | Stephen Strand

Additionally, financial aid is available for families and help with the cost of Qi Creative’s services, such as the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), the Child Disability Benefit (CDB), and the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

Header image: The Qi Creative team poses in the newly renovated space. | Provided by Paula Rivero