“I sow a lot of seeds as a teacher that I know one day will flourish in my students’ lives. Susan and I hope to see these seeds of growth cultivated in our kids so that they are later able to harvest them.”
- Shauna Stanyer, teacher at Holy Cross Secondary School, Surrey, BC; she and her teaching partner, Susan Sousa, are 2017 RHFSP Difference Makers of the Year (educators)
Shauna Stanyer and her teaching partner, Susan Sousa, believe most students are eager to receive opportunities to bring about awareness and change for people with disabilities, and enhance the quality of life for all people.
“Most kids are really nice, empathetic, compassionate young people and sometimes they just need that little push to become more aware and insightful,” says Susan. “And once they get to know a student who has a disability, they respond appropriately, but even more so when they have some education about the needs of the person. Different can be scary, but helping students to understand others’ needs is a part of my job.”
Five years ago, Susan and Shauna’s principal at Holy Cross Secondary School in Surrey, BC, introduced them to the Rick Hansen Foundation School Program (RHFSP). Keen to expand their students’ understanding of disability, accessibility, and inclusion, they worked together to create an inter-curricular use of RHFSP resources across all grades. The resources, including the Abilities in Motion and Difference Maker toolkits
, allow teachers to plan lessons that easily fit into each province or territory’s curriculum. They encourage students to be good citizens who are sensitive to inequality.
“Education is not just about what’s happening in school. It’s about giving students the skills to go on in life,” says Susan. “We want our students to see someone in the street with a disability with more compassion and more understanding.”