Michael is a young adult and lives and works in the Niagara region. He has an intellectually disability and is a board member of Community Living Welland Pelham and Community Living Ontario. He was also the Co-Chair of the A Million Possibilities: Solo Ocean Row 2017 campaign for Community Living Ontario.
In secondary school, with the support of great staff and a lot of hard work, Michael, after seven years, graduated with honours from Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School and received an award from his high school. While there, Michael became an advocate for students who have a disability to ensure that their voice was heard and they were represented on various teams and clubs. Both staff and students recognized his leadership qualities in the school community.
During his time in secondary school, Michael started to attend a Community Living Ontario’s ReAction4Inclusion Conference. After the event, he talked to the principal about what changes could be made at his school to create a more inclusive environment. His voice was heard and changes were made during his time at the school. He attended all ReAction4Inclusion events during and after high school. Since then, Michael has become a Re:Action4Inclusion Ambassador, helping organize and present at the conference.
Michael has been working part-time at Sobeys as a front-end clerk since 2010 and enjoys being a productive member of society. In addition to working at Sobeys, he is a guest speaker and has spoken to secondary, college and university students as well as parents and teachers about the importance of belonging and the inclusion for all. Recently, Michael has written a book titled Can’t Read, Can’t Write, Here’s My Book. In it, he discusses topics such as learning, inclusion, advocating, independence, and the power of perseverance. Click here for more information on the book.
In 2013, he was honoured to receive Community Living Welland Pelham’s Inclusion Award. In 2015, he became a member of the local organization’s Board of Directors and recently represents the board on the Niagara Catholic District School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee as an alternate.