Carolyn Chandler

Taking a respectful stand against bullying

Carolyn, a student from PEI, used music to take a stand against bullying. Her efforts to create positive change were recognized when she was named Difference Maker of the Year for 2013.

"I pledge every day to make spontaneous acts of kindness [...] I do what I can to brighten the day of another student and make it more positive. On the occasion of the visit of Rick Hansen at our school [...] I had a better appreciation of life and I wanted to become a source of encouragement to others."


Giving time to those in need

For many years, Carolyn dedicated her time to those who needed her, whether at Montague Regional High School, at home or at Camp Gencheff, a camp for individuals with disabilities. At camp, she puts herself in her campers’ shoes in order to understand their needs and challenges.

Carolyn really started to focus on her power to create positive change after an encounter with Rick Hansen. "When Rick came to our school in September 2011, he made me realize that I want to make a change."

Bullying suffered by friend inspires song of support

After that, she became deeply involved with groups such as SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) and ABC (Anti-Bullying Club). She went on to write and perform an incredibly powerful song at a school assembly to take a respectful stand against bullying, after a close friend suffered at the hands of bullies.

Listen to the song. (© C. Chandler, 2012)

"This song is my way of telling her story in a meaningful, personal, and expressive way through the universal language of music. It was a very powerful three minutes and a very emotional story." Click here to read the song's lyrics.

Making a difference starts small

Carolyn notes that making a difference starts small, and grows. "I commit myself to a random act of kindness each day, whether taking a stand to bullying, or covering another student's financial costs for a school trip, to even e-mailing a student a letter of encouragement" she says. "I do what I can to add a smile and positivity to another student's day."

"I am passionate about making the lives of others better," Carolyn notes, "and I am honoured to accept this award. Thank you Rick Hansen, for giving me the encouragement to be the change. You rock!"

On path to career in education

This fall Carolyn started on the Human Services Program at Holland College. "It fits well with my experiences and my career interests as an Educational Assistant," she says.

We wish Carolyn every success in her future career and in continuing to make a positive impact on the world around her.

The Rick Hansen Difference Maker Program empowers young people to make positive change in their communities. Click here to find out more.

Read more stories of inspirational young Difference Makers here.