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Celebrating the Next Generation of Accessibility Leaders
By Katie Kirker, Rick Hansen Foundation

Youth are the change we will see in the world, and they take incredible actions daily that deserve to be celebrated.

Annually, the Rick Hansen Foundation School Program (RHFSP) accepts nominations for the Difference Maker of the Year awards to reward the wonderful work youth are doing to make a positive impact in the lives of people with disabilities.

This year, RHFSP was thrilled to award 2 individuals and 3 groups for the work they are doing to make their communities more inclusive.

Mackenzie Agretto, Grade 12: Mackenzie organized an inclusive prom for students with disabilities within the Niagara Catholic District School Board. Alongside her school principal, superintendent, and others, Mackenzie ensured all students could attend and enjoy the event.

Caden Teneycke, 18: Caden is an accessibility advocate, using his platform on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok to spread awareness about living with his rare form of dwarfism, and provide a community for others who face similar accessibility challenges.

Dear Everybody Design Team: This group of 13 Grade 6 students from Havergal College worked alongside students with lived experience at Bloorview School Authority to create accessible carnival games.

Mrs. Boucher’s Grade 3 Class: After reading Rick Hansen’s story, Boy in Motion, Mrs. Boucher’s class of 20 Grade 3 students audited their school for accessibility and potential solutions. So far, their work has resulted in inclusive learning materials and accessible gym equipment.

Dante Accessibility Team: As part of a school project, the Dante Accessibility Team, which is comprised of seven students aged 13-18, created an educational video to raise awareness around accessibility and inclusion.

These are just some of the wonderful examples of students who are making a difference. To learn more about how you can nominate a youth making a difference, please visit

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