Nicole Canzoneri

Nicole Canzoneri is 21 years old and is a disability studies student at the University of Windsor. As a student she has received recognition from Golden Key International  with grades within the top 15% of her program. She attended Holy Names Catholic High School from 2015-2019 and maintained honor roll grades while engaging with the community and promoting inclusion. Throughout the years, she has received (some) awards recognizing her passion for inclusion and leadership including the Dr. Clare R. McLeod Student Volunteer Award, the Inclusion and Bullying Prevention Graduation Award, and The Alishia Liolli Leadership Award. Nicole is a hardworking, team player who uses her leadership skills, creativity, innovation, and communication skills to be an advocate for youth with and without disabilities and the disability  community.

She has been the chair of Community Living Ontario’s Youth Advisory Committee since October 2019. In this time, she has honed her leadership skills, created initiatives/ events, and supported youth with and without disabilities. This is not the only experience with Community Living. In 2020, Nicole was a panelist for their 68th AGM and Conference. She has also been employed by her local community living (branch) agency and has been immersed in the values of CLO ever since then. Her favorite experience with CLO was being a host and youth advisor for the educational project The Truths of Institutionalization: Past and Present. Here she got to travel interviewing survivors of institutions, their family members, and experts in the field to uncover the truths of how institutionalization has occurred in the past, but also how they are still prevalent today.

Nicole also has local connections to the disability community as she is a Supervisor at Autism Service’s Inc Summer Program where she not only leads a team of support workers but coordinates the day-to-day activities of people with autism to ensure that they are not only happy and safe, but also treated with the respect and dignity which they deserve.

Her engagement with the disability community and passion for inclusion started at an early age. Her first organized role as an activist was in high school where she ran and created the Best Buddies chapter. Here she not only organized and facilitated events but ensured that all involved genuinely saw the importance of inclusion and the connections we were creating. The impacts of Nicole’s work at her  previous  high school are still felt today.