Creating a Sense of Community…

Creating a Sense of Community…

Like many students, I kept a journal of my thoughts and experiences during my elementary school years. These books were filled with pictures, words and stories of my time at school. One particular event is captured in these pages.In grade two, my teacher entered our class in a community arts festival to recite a poem. Twelve other schools also entered their primary grades. Now, I do not talk, but that did not seem to matter to my teacher. She believed I could make a contribution.

Creating a Sense of Community…

Creating a Sense of Community…

Like many students, I kept a journal of my thoughts and experiences during my elementary school years. These books were filled with pictures, words and stories of my time at school. One particular event is captured in these pages.In grade two, my teacher entered our class in a community arts festival to recite a poem. Twelve other schools also entered their primary grades. Now, I do not talk, but that did not seem to matter to my teacher.

A Village In My Heart…

A Village In My Heart…

Today, Her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will preside at a ceremony at Queen’s Park in Toronto where I will receive the David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility in the Role Model category.  Foremost in my mind in this special moment will be the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” My “village” will be in my heart today, and with gratitude I will accept the award in your honour.

Inclusive Workplaces…It’s Our Choice to Say “YES”

Inclusive Workplaces…It’s Our Choice to Say “YES”

Every second of every day, we have an extraordinary opportunity to create inclusive workplaces that contribute to the success of our businesses, organizations and corporations. What we know for sure is inclusive workplaces don’t just happen. They are created by inclusive leaders. It’s a simple reality. It’s our choice to say “yes” – as it always has been.

Hey, Buddy...

Hey, Buddy...

Have you ever noticed that words can have a different connotation depending on the context in which they’re used? As a writer, I’m fascinated by the different ideas and feelings a word can generate along with its literal meaning. Take, for example, the word “buddy.” Depending on who is saying it and in what tone, this word can have either a positive or a negative connotation. So here are some things to keep in mind when you’re tempted to call someone “buddy.”

Hollywood Sometimes “Get’s It”

Hollywood Sometimes “Get’s It”

Let’s face it: Hollywood struggles with the way it depicts disability in TV shows and movies. Far too often in these productions the character who has a disability is portrayed as either a hero or a dependent victim. It’s also a well-known fact that most of the characters who have a disability are played by actors who do not have a disability. So when a TV comedy comes along that strives to be authentic in its dialogue on disability, it deserves our applause. 

Accessibility With A (Young) Heart...

Accessibility With A (Young) Heart...

I have to admit there are days (usually Monday mornings before my coffee...) when, for a brief moment, I question whether it is possible to make our communities completely accessible and inclusive. I know I’m not alone. In the cynical and turbulent climate we live in, it’s easy to slip into being a “naysayer” and blame others for failing to lead the way to make the world a better place for everyone. I was having such a morning recently when I heard the story of the children at the Mabin School in downtown Toronto.

Interest and Commitment: There’s a Difference

Interest and Commitment: There’s a Difference

With all my heart, I believe that creating an accessible and inclusive community is rooted in the commitment of everyday ordinary people. By commitment, I’m not talking about a half-baked, politically correct buy-in. I’m talking about following through on a decision to bring about change that turns possibilities into reality.

Leadership Lessons from the Mitten Swooper

Leadership Lessons from the Mitten Swooper

A couple of months ago I received the following letter from a young student:

Dear John,

Thanks for coming to our school. I’ve been thinking about changing the world… not the whole world… just some of it. The halls at our school are a mess. Everybody leaves their shoes and mittens all over the place. It is dangerous for anybody who is pushing a stroller or in a wheelchair to get around.

I have decided to become the “Mitten Swooper”. Every morning I swoop up all of the mittens and shoes in the hallway and make a path. It is a big job so I got some friends to help. It’s going well.

Bye

Jenny