Sam’s Story: Light Up the Future

Community Living Ontario’s Family Leadership Series provided the support Sandra and Gary needed to support their son in a new way.

For many students across Ontario, a new world filled with opportunities and interests opens up when they attend college or university. The learning, collaboration, and social interactions with peers are all critical as a young person transitions into adulthood. Post-secondary education has become increasingly important when obtaining employment and a decent standard of living.

Sam Forbes wanted the same opportunities, and thanks to Community Living Ontario’s Anne Stafford Light Up the Future Bursary, his college experience has taken off.

As a young man with autism, Sam didn’t imagine that post-secondary education was a possibility until he was nominated for the bursary. More than a financial award, the scholarship was a recognition that other people believed in him.

With a new-found confidence, Sam enrolled at Humber College this past September, and he walked through the doors as a student of the Community Integration through Co-operative Education program. Designed to provide adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities with the opportunity to experience college life, the program fosters and promotes experiential and transformative learning.

Sam’s classes are helping to advance not only his life skills and goals but also his advocacy work.

“Taking the Introduction to Developmental Social Worker course has taught me a lot about other conditions that I didn’t know about,” he explained, “and it gave me great information on how to approach people and care for people in a really good way.”

As an active advocate for inclusion, Sam also talks enthusiastically about the importance of treating people equally wherever he goes.

Anne Stafford started the Light Up the Future Bursary in 1993 when she retired from Community Living Ontario. After 30 years of tirelessly working to create a more inclusive province, Anne’s bursary was intended to provide opportunities that would support people who have an intellectual disability to pursue professional development through either an educational program or a personal interest course.

Since then, more than 325 people who have an intellectual disability have received the bursary. It has created exciting possibilities and enabled people to gain the skills and confidence they need to seek out their goals.

As the demand for the Anne Stafford Light Up the Future Bursary far exceeds our capacity, we urgently need your support to grow this fund to help young people pursue a passion that leads to a more full and inclusive life within their community— just like Sam!  Please donate today.

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