Drayton Heights PS teacher wins award for leadership in accessibility, inclusiveness
For Immediate Release
December 3, 2015
GUELPH, Ontario – A teacher from Drayton Heights Public School has won a prestigious award for his leadership in accessibility and disability issues in the community.
Grade 7 teacher Andy Speers was presented with the AODA 10th Anniversary Champion Award on Monday at the Township of Centre Wellington council meeting.
This is a one-time award that recognizes an outstanding individual who shows passion and commitment “in the promotion of awareness of accessibility and inclusiveness in their community.”
To quality, nominees must have demonstrated leadership in promoting awareness of accessibility in their community. Speers was nominated by the Township of Centre Wellington, Mayor Kelly Linton and was supported by Matt Tucker, manager of parks and facilities operations for Centre Wellington.
Speers spearheaded a project that saw the first fully accessible playground open in Fergus, Ont., in September 2013 and an accessible playground open in Elora in 2014. Speers and his organization Power of Play raised $200,000 for the park in Fergus and $100,000 for the park in Elora. Funds came from a number of sources, including the Rotary Club of Fergus-Elora, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and community members. His goal was to finish the project in five years, but both parks were complete within three, two years ahead of schedule.
The parks were designed to ensure everyone could play together, regardless of their age or ability. Among the playgrounds’ features are accessible swings, ramps rather than stairs, special resilient surfaces, and interactive and educational panels.
When accepting the award, Speers said he was honoured, adding that he was “accepting this award on behalf of the hundreds of people that donated, helped or simply spread the word about the projects.”
“As a community we all came together to make something outstanding happen in our Township that we can be proud of. Thinking inclusive and about accessibility needs has to become a priority. You never know when you or someone you care about is going to need it,” he said.
For more information:
Heather Loney, Communications and Community Engagement Officer