Throughout the weekend you will be invited to attend interactive workshops, educational sessions and panel discussions on engaging and inspirational topics that matter to you. There will be plenary sessions that everyone will attend and targeted sessions just for youth and for caregivers and parents.
There will be a variety of topics, including:
- Panel presentations on current trends and employment opportunities
- Financial Planning
- Living Independently – Transitioning to adulthood
- Self-Advocacy and Navigating Systems
- Dance the night away with B-Boy Luca “Lazy Legz” Patuelli
- Building your employment plan
That’s not all! You will have the opportunity to connect with a variety of post secondary education institutions and access centers and discover community resources, supports, programs and technologies that can enhance your quality of life at the Post Secondary Education Expo and Vendors Market
Translation and Interpreter Services
Please note that all sessions will be delivered in English, unless otherwise noted. Simultaneous translation and interpreter services will be offered for the majority of sessions.
Our Youth Lounge will be open all weekend long. Connect with really cool people from all over the Atlantic Canada, learn from each other and share your knowledge and experiences.
Luca ‘Lazy Legs’ Patuelli
Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli was born with Arthrogryposis (multiplex congenital) and was later diagnosed with scoliosis. At the age of 15, Luca discovered “B-boying” also known as Breakdancing. Although quite challenging at first, he began to learn moves and modified them to create his own unique style that incorporates both extreme upper body strength and the use of crutches. “Lazylegz” was born.
He had a massive impact in the Montreal dance community when he began representing Canada in top-level international events. In 2004, Lazylegz joined forces with Canadian breakdance crew, Illmatic Styles.
In 2009, after pursuing his studies for seven years, Lazylegz finally graduated from Concordia University with a major in Marketing. Today, he uses his marketing degree to promote himself as a professional international motivational speaker, and as a result, has spoken and inspired thousands of audiences of all ages and all abilities around the world, promoting his motto that “It’s about taking the bad and making it good”.
No stranger to television audiences, Mary Walsh may be best known for her work on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, CBC’s wildly popular take on current affairs. The series, which she also created, earned her many of her numerous Gemini awards and showcased her dynamic range of characters, including the flagrantly outspoken ‘Marg Delahunty’.
Walsh wrote, produced and starred in the Gemini award-winning Hatching, Matching and Dispatching, and was nominated for two Genies for her performances in feature films Crackie (Official selection at TIFF) and New Waterford Girl.
Walsh’s recent credits include CBC’s Republic of Doyle, TMN’s Sensitive Skin; and Global’s Rookie Blue.
Select feature film credits include Mambo Italiano; The Divine Ryans with Pete Postlethwaite; Violet, in which she played the title role; and most recently the The Grand Seduction (Official selection at TIFF).
Outside of the film, TV and theatre world, Mary is an outspoken advocate for mental health and addiction awareness. Among the many charities and organizations she supports are the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa, the CNIB, St. Joseph’s Hospital and CAMH.
Among her many awards and doctorates, Mary is also the recipient of the Order of Canada and the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award in the Performing Arts.
Honourable Kent Hehr
Native of Shippagan, I came into the world on March 20, 1991, at the Caraquet hospital. I have cerebral palsy because of the lack of oxygen when I was born. I graduated from École Marie-Esther in 2010 and enrolled in the Bachelor’s degree recreation management program (2010) at Université de Moncton. I have been living at the MacDonald Centre for Independent Living in Moncton since June 2012. Drawing became a real passion when I became able to hold a pencil. I’m very active and my disability doesn’t stop me.
I was never concerned by my condition because I’m a distinctive part of my family: I was brought up just like my two brothers and two sisters. I have been giving conferences on accessibility to public places and my personal journey since 2010. I was invited to several places, such as the Shippagan Campus of Université de Moncton, to speak to future teachers. I also gave a conference at École Marie-Esther as part of the young drop out program. In 2011, I was invited by NBCC Dieppe to celebrate the International Day of People with Disability.
My biggest dream is to study and earn a living doing something that I’m passionate about and to become as independent as possible.
Kristen was born legally blind with Aniridia. She underwent cataract removal at 18 months and was diagnosed with glaucoma when she was 13. She struggled with fitting in and being accepted throughout childhood and school, with others not understanding the challenges of her disability and not seeing her as equal.
Kristen is currently the Operations Manager for the Canadian Mental Health Association of NB in Moncton. In 2013, Kristen was selected as one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 Emerging Leaders of the 21st Century through 21Inc.
Diagnosed with macular degeneration at a young age, Andrew has always been passionate about technology – especially assistive technology. Throughout his career, he has found a way to combine his passion for technology and love for helping others.
In 2008, Andrew obtained a Bachelor of Economics from the University of New Brunswick – and in 2011, he received his Learning Disability Education Specialist, Assistive Technologist and Learning Strategist Certification from Cambrian College. Andrew is also an active volunteer with the Premier’s Council on the Status of Disabled Persons and CNIB.
Emily, originally from Kentville, Nova Scotia, is a project manager/inclusion specialist with ADDvocacy ADHD and Life Skills Coaching. She has Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus and co-occurring conditions. She currently holds a Master of Sociology and a Bachelor of Arts, honours in sociology with a double major in psychology from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
Emily was the first ever full-time student in a manual wheelchair, without a full-time assistant, to graduate from Acadia – and it had been open for 172 years at the time!
Emily has a great passion for learning and for helping others to succeed.
Keith Gelhorn struggled through all levels school and into his early 30’s with undiagnosed learning differences. It wasn’t until the age of 34 that he was diagnosed with ADHD, Depression and Anxiety. In 2010, following a back injury and being fired for telling his boss he had ADHD, Keith relocated to Nova Scotia in 2011 to retrain to be an ADHD Coach and start his business called ADDvocacy ADHD & Life Skills Coaching ltd.
ADDvocacy provides strADDegies for youth and adults living with ADHD, LD, ASD, EF, Mental Health Challenges, etc. who are in transition to: Post-Secondary, Career Exploration, Skilled Trades or Entrepreneurship. We also provide peer-led Diverse-Ability and Inclusion training for Employers, Educators and Support staff throughout the Maritimes and Canada alike.
Early in life, Mark recognized the important role the arts and sports play in young people’s lives in terms of developing talent and fostering confidence. His current ambitions involve working with communities to create financially sustainable programming that helps young people connect the dots between their dreams, their careers and communities. Mark was voted the 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network.
Kim Korotkov has been a learning specialist for Education Support Services at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development for the past 8 years. With over 15 years of experience as a classroom and resource teacher at the middle and high school level, she is passionate about ensuring the needs of all students are met within an inclusive education environment. Kim is currently completing her PhD, exploring interrelated factors in healthy and inclusive high schools.
Charles Levasseur is a Regional Manager for Assistive Technology and Learning Disability Services. Since 2011, Charles has been working on a special Assistive Technology project to assess individuals who require funding from the province to receive their Assistive Technology. He also worked with Elections NB as the Project Coordinator for the Disability and Seniors Community for the 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 Municipal and Provincial Elections. Charles has taken a hands-on approach to assisting persons with disabilities find employment, and providing one-to-one training using complex assistive technologies, both in a classroom setting and in-home training in various locations in New Brunswick.
Miriam McLaughlin is a Project Manager with the Strategic Services Branch at the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour. Her non-traditional career journey has shaped her interest and enthusiasm for providing labour market information (LMI) to youth and families in New Brunswick. Within her first year of working on LMI related initiatives, she has overseen more than a dozen projects specific to LMI for youth and families. In addition to her work with the Department, Miriam is somewhat obsessed with dogs of every variety and enjoys gardening at home.
In 1991, at the age of 15, Kevin was in a bicycle accident and suffered a spinal cord injury leading to paralysis from the chest down. Through perseverance and determination, as well as community and family support, Kevin graduated from Horton District High School in 1995 and continued his post-secondary education at St. Mary’s University. These days, he’s a Coordinator of Disability Services, helping provide supports and services to students with disabilities attending post-secondary.
Kevin is also the president of Sail Able Association of Nova Scotia and in 2014 started his own wheelchair van rental business in Halifax. Kevin enjoys travelling, being an advocate for persons with disabilities, and has a “minor addiction” of sailboat racing and has competed across Canada at several regattas for persons with disabilities.
Christine ‘Coco’ Roschaert
Diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2 at 10 months of age, Jeff was not expected to live past the age of two. Today, at age 39, he is a quadriplegic and relies on 24-hour attendant care – but there is no holding him back.
Jeff works full-time, has a graduate degree in Human Resources and is a certified Human Resources Professional. He has been identified as one of New Brunswick’s 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, attended the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference and has been the recipient of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award, NB Disability Awareness Week Award and the YM/YWCA Leaders to Watch.
Christian Whalen is a native of Fredericton and holds a bachelor of arts degree (1987) from Carleton University; a bachelor of law degree (1989) from the University of New Brunswick; and a diplôme d’études approfondies (1993) from l’Université Robert Schuman in Strasbourg, France. A member of the bar in Ontario and New Brunswick, Mr. Whalen worked as a lawyer in private practice and as legal counsel to the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission before joining the Office of the Ombudsman in 2005 as legal counsel. He has been responsible for systemic investigations and acted as lead investigator on several reports of the Office of Ombudsman and the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, including Connecting the Dots, Hand-in-Hand and Staying Connected. He was also the project lead on the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate’s annual State of our Children and Youth reports. He served as Acting Child and Youth Advocate for New Brunswick from April 1, 2011 to August 1, 2013. He founded and serves as secretary to the Working Group on Children’s rights in the Francophonie and is founding chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Sections Council Committee on Children’s Law. In 2014 he received the Children’s Rights Champion Award from the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children and in 2015 was awarded the John Tait Award for distinguished service as public sector counsel by the Canadian Bar Association.
Maayan Ziv is a visionary young leader, activist and social entrepreneur. From a young age, Maayan challenged norms and worked within her community to increase awareness of disability issues and improve accessibility. Whether it was paving ramps at her schools, promoting awareness through her photography, or acting as an ambassador for Muscular Dystrophy Canada, Maayan has broken down barriers and advocated for inclusion. After obtaining her Master’s degree, Maayan founded AccessNow, working out of the DMZ at Ryerson University. AccessNow harnesses the power of crowdsourcing to pinpoint the accessibility status of locations around the world. Maayan’s innovative solutions and media outreach continue to improve the lives of people of all abilities and ages.