We all learn at school that everyone has to be treated fairly, to have equal opportunities and to feel part of a community. However, we often don’t truly and fully understand the meaning of these words until we live them. Volunteer work brings students this opportunity. It helps them develop new skills, become more empathetic and think out-side-of-the-box.

Rebecca Russo, one of our volunteers from Richmond Hill, is living proof of how volunteering can help you see the world from a different lens and positively impact your life. “Society makes us believe that individuals with special needs are “less than average”, but really they are just the same if not even better”, says Rebecca. “I definitely think that volunteering with The Dance Ability Movement has changed my perspective about inclusion and people of all abilities because my eyes were opened to the potential that they truly have, just like the rest of us. They really do have the ability to do anything they set their mind to!”

Rebecca’s mom, Melissa, also agrees that volunteering with the Dance Ability Movement has been a special part of Rebecca’s growth. “It’s helped her communication skills and leadership blossom. It was also a huge part of her supplemental essays in many of her university applications. As always, we are so grateful for the opportunity that our girls have had volunteering with this amazing organization.”

Recently, Rebecca has earned a scholarship from the University of Western Ontario. In her essay for Western’s National Scholarship Program, Rebecca highlighted that her experience with the Dance Ability Movement made her realize the need for more funding and financial support for people of all abilities so they can have equal opportunities to be fully included in our community.

According to Rebecca, social enterprises and simple altruism can help solve the issue of families not being able to afford the costs associated with a disability in her hometown, while empowering her local community.“ When companies support organizations like The Dance Ability Movement, these services are more accessible to families in need, as the bursary funds can be used for low-income families”, says Rebecca. “This solution is also advantageous for firms as they can differentiate from competitors by being engaged in their community”.

This is definitely not an empty speech. It is based on Rebecca’s experience as the founder of Ignite, a non-profit company that sells apparel and accessories to raise money for local charities. “In essence, I want to be able to give back to various charities and organizations in my community that need extra support and attention”.

We are so proud of you, Rebecca! You truly are an example of how dedication and hard work for a cause can positively impact your life and make dreams come true! Congratulations and best wishes for your next adventure!