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.

This kindergarten class has a friend who visits the school who is a wheelchair user. Witnessing how her wheelchair has to be carried up the stairs at the school entrance opened their eyes to the issue of fairness: it simply wasn’t fair that she couldn’t get everywhere they could. “When something is unfair,” they decided, “you have to try to fix it.”

These aspiring, and inspiring, five year olds believed they could make a difference. They partnered with Luke Anderson, Founder of the StopGap Foundation, a charity that builds one-step ramps for street-level businesses. Together, they engaged the neighbourhood in a project to build a ramp to improve the accessibility of a local coffee shop.

These young leaders realized their community needed them – it needed their imagination and innovation, and their passion. Together, the Mabin School students and the StopGap Foundation inspired leadership and created a legacy.

Their story will steal your heart (watch the video at http://stopgap.ca/). More importantly, it will inspire you to ask yourself: what did I do today to promote a world that is accessible and inclusive of everyone?