Do Not Hold Us Back: Seeking Accessibility in Hamilton

When I was a teenager I started volunteering with the Adapted Aquatics swim program at Dalewood Recreation Centre. I started going with some friends who, like me, wanted to get out of going to early Sunday morning Mass. My swimming experiences were more of a blessing than church in my opinion; I have blogged about that experience previously.

While participating in the swimming program I learned a lot about the general public’s attitude to disability; for some it was normal and others not so much. I was also struck by the attitude of some of the adults that organized the swim program and how they thought some youth with disabilities would not have ‘normal’ lives. Continue Reading

Volunteering to Opportunity: Heather Beale ’01

After moving from a small town to attend Mohawk College for Radio Broadcasting in the late 1990’s, graduate Heather Beale (nee McClellan) had no intention of moving back home. She recalls telling her mom when returning to Mohawk for her third year, “I’m hoping not to return home. Nothing against you, but I’m hoping to branch out on my own and be my own person.” Continue Reading

Adapted Aquatics Lessons

swimming pool funAs a teen, I considered myself fortunate that some of my Catholic friends invited me to the ‘Adapted Aquatics’ swim program for youth with disabilities at the Dalewood Pool. These friends were volunteering through their high-school but more importantly were trying to avoid early Sunday Mass. I was just trying to avoid church. Truthfully, I think the life lessons I learnt in that pool as a volunteer have been as strong as the ones I have learnt later in life when I did return to church.

What I witnessed during those years volunteering was dedication to someone outside oneself, exuberant joy, tears, confidence building and teenage silliness in full force. There was occasionally a bit of pity for those who were ‘different’. The dedication started with the organizers from a local service club, adult leaders, volunteers and families.

There were some tears when a youth could not do something on land. Once in the pool however, there was such a transformation! Some of the youth just wanted to be normal kids with no restrictions, some just wanted to quietly float. Continue Reading

Giving back to the community this spring

clean-upproject-May2014

Found during Escarpment Clean-up.

After graduating from the post-graduate Public Relations program from Mohawk College in 2011, I dived right into a career in the for-profit sector. When I left Mohawk, I thought this business life was for me – I had my heart set on working in an agency and never thought about the not-for-profit sector. Little did I know, I was ignoring what I had always been truly passionate about.

Last year, the business publication I worked for shut its doors. This was my chance to plan out what I truly wanted to get out of my career and the job I would spend five days a week at. Continue Reading

There’s a Buzz Going On In This City

hamilton globeSo I had this wonderful idea in my head about my next blog; how awesome Hamilton truly is! And then one week before mine was to come out on ABC, Laura Herbert, a fellow blogger, posted her May 3rd edition titled “A City to Be Proud of”. For a split second I was a little bummed out that I wouldn’t be able to put in words and share with others how my heart belongs to Hamilton, and then I snapped back into reality and focused on how wonderful it is to know other’s feel the same! So here I am, fully understanding that my blog is not unique and that for two weeks in a row, Alumni will be reading about Hamilton, and I wouldn’t change the topic if I had to!
Continue Reading