At a recent Annual General Meeting for Community Living Ontario Michael was elected as Vice President of the board. His perspective and strong voice will certainly be an asset as a board member. He is very excited with his new role and hopes he can add value to the discussions at the table and he also realizes that it will be a learning experience for him. Michael is also proud to continue donating partial proceeds of his book sales to the organization.
Recently Michael has become an expert at the Digital Human Library. DHL is a new kind of library that connects students and teachers to experts, leaders and organizations who are delivering interactive curriculum-based content and programs. They use video conferencing and live streaming technology so students don't have to leave the classroom. Check out what Michael has to offer on their blog >
Michael and his father were on "Mommy Meltdown" on Giant TV Niagara in September. It’s a podcast with host Stephanie Mizzi. They spoke about Michael's journey and his book. Michael hopes his story can inspire others and he feels very fortunate when given opportunities like this interview. Listen to the interview >
Michael and his father recently spent time speaking with Lucas Spinosa on his "Above The Mug" podcast. In a very relaxing interview Michael shared his story/book with Lucus at his Black Sheep coffee lounge. His podcast is specifically for positive people in the Niagara region. Listen to the interview >
On August 3rd, Nana aba Duncan, from the CBC Fresh Air Radio program spent time interviewing Michael and his father Marcel. Michael spoke about the process of writing his book , some of the challenges he encountered growing up and the importance of working at Sobeys and the support that they give Michael. Listen to interview >
In July Michael had a visit from “In the Loop Media” as they wanted to interview Michael and hear his story. Joellayne spent time asking Michael a variety of questions as they sat on the back deck of Michael’s home. It was the perfect setting for a very relaxed and sometimes humours interview. Community Living Oakville supports this service as it focuses on “Good News Stories”. Watch interview >
The local Fonthill newspaper “The Voice” wrote a fabulous article on Michael as he launched his book in 2018. They also did a follow-up article this past spring as he started his book tour with Sobeys. This local support has been amazing for Michael as the sales of his book continue to increase and request for speaking engagements fill his calendar. Read Articles >
What a great way to start off day 1 of Michael’s book tour on the east coast. He was welcomed by host Cyril Lunney on CTV Morning Live where he talked about his book, the impact it’s making on others and where you can pick up a copy. Then Michael was off to two Sobeys locations where people were recognizing him from his TV appearance. Watch interview >
The first week of Michael’s book tour was a huge success. At first, Michael was nervous because he was going to new stores and going to meet lots of new people. Plus he was hoping to sell many books. Quickly his fear disappeared because all Sobeys stores were welcoming, kind and supportive of Michael. Michael would like to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who came out or followed on social media! He is excited for week 2 of the book tour, which is happening in Nova Scotia.
Michael had the privilege of doing an interview at one of the Sobeys locations on his Book Tour. Michael always speaks to the importance of having a job and feeling like a member of society. Sobeys has been a huge supporter of Michael’s journey but even before his book they saw his potential. He is a hard working and dedicated employee, who was welcomed to the Sobeys family over 10 years ago. In the picture is Ron Kore, Michael’s boss. Read Article >
Michael and his executive assistant (aka his father) were invited to share an update with Annette Hamm from CHCH Morning Live. Michael first spoke with CHCH back in November 2018. Since then a lot has happened and Michael’s book has been a vehicle for getting opportunities to teach people about embracing differences and highlighting the importance of inclusion. Watch Interview >
Sobeys has given Michael the amazing opportunity to sell his book in select stores across Canada. Michael values his job and works really hard. He is proud to call Sobeys his second home and he hopes his story will encourage more workplaces to see everyone’s potential and employ more people with disabilities. Read Article >
To kick off Sobeys’ Special Olympics checkstand $1M fundraising campaign Michael was invited to speak to employees coast-to-coast at the Sobeys Tahoe office. He shared his inspiring story and expressed the impact that Sobeys and Special Olympics have had on his life. Now Michael is proud to say his book is available at all Atlantic and Ontario Sobeys stores. Sobeys will donate $2 to Special Olympic Canada for every book purchased and Michael will continue to donate partial proceeds to Special Olympics and Community Living Ontario.
On May 3rd 2019, Michael had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Her Honour was in Welland visiting the area and asked to meet Michael after reading his book. Her Honour made him feel very comfortable and proud of his achievement. They talked about his book and story—it was an experience he certainly won't forget.
During World Autism Awareness Day Michael visited St Georges Junior PS in Toronto. The students and teachers were so welcoming. He even walked outside in the community with the students and staff of the school to support and honour the day. This month Michael was busy with many speaking events but he was still very grateful to be given the opportunity to share his story with others.
Michael has been invited to many elementary schools since the launch of his book. He was especially very busy during February 2019 inclusion education month. He talks about his experiences in school reinforcing that being different is okay, and that everyone needs to be included and respected. The students are always engaged, and sometimes even help Michael read his slides. The children really connect with Michael because of his sense of humour, his humility and his openness to being different.
When Michael has the opportunity to speak to high school students he focuses on authentic inclusion and finding their voice in order to make changes at their high school and in their community. Through Re:Action4Inclusion, a program from Community Living Ontario, Michael encourages the students to participate in the annual conference and hopefully develop their leadership skills. In addition, feedback from secondary students typically talks about how Michael’s story has motivated them in setting goals, completing courses and getting their credits.
Michael has been invited to speak at many Universities and Colleges. To name a few he has been to York University, Brock University, Niagara College and he even spoke on skype to student at the University of Alberta. He has been speaking to undergraduate/graduate students, research assistants, and professors about his story. Many of the students he’s been speaking to will eventually be working with individuals like Michael, and his story inspires and motivates them to see everyone's full potential.
In March 2019 a dream came true for Michael, he met one of his idols. Michael has always been a fan of Ellen Degeneres. Her commitment to spreading kindness in the world and being yourself has always inspired Michael—plus she is pretty funny. On March 3rd, Michael travelled to Toronto to see Ellen’s show and was invited to be part of a meet-and-greet before the show. He was thrilled to win these tickets from the Niagara Outlets as they recognized the impact Michael was making in his community. Michael hopes to speak with Ellen about his book and maybe one day be on her show to tell the world about it. This was a huge highlight in his life.
Michael and his sister were quest speakers for Cool Concept #4 at Shopify in Toronto. This is an event put on by the Toronto Design Directory and it invites creative people to talk about personal projects. The audience was laughing and at times, in tears throughout the presentation, asking some really important questions. It was also exciting to hear from other creative people that night.