At 14, most young girls are busy getting ready for high school, dreaming about boys, and thinking about pretty clothes. Well, I was doing all of that, but thanks to a couple of pretty incredible young men, I also had a wonderful opportunity to take a leadership role in improving services and built environments for people with mobility disabilities. These young men were the highly regarded Henry Enns and Jim Derksen.
The goal was to develop a chapter of the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities. The desired outcome was to convince Brandon City Council to agree to create a Handi-Transit system in Brandon, such as just had come to Winnipeg.
Well, the group needed a Chairperson. So there I was at 14, leading a group of adults to this goal. A summer project grant saw Jim Derksen hired to lead the way based on the Winnipeg experience. But little 14 year old me had to also make a presentation to City Council, take calls from MLAs and MPs, and deal with media.
Because I am used to just doing what needs to be done as things emerge, I never thought much about what this achievement meant or about the skills I developed in undertaking this task, but our success there changed the lives of a lot of people. Of this I am very proud.
The MLPH (MLPD now) chapter in Brandon continued on to do many other activities over the years, and I was a part of it until I left the city to attend university.