The RHFSP Difference Maker of the Year Awards celebrate and recognize youth, youth groups, and classrooms from ages 5 to 18. Our award recipients are leaders in making a positive impact for inclusion and accessibility for people with physical disabilities in their school and community.
Nominations for the 2023-2024 school year will open on January 7, 2024 and close on April 7, 2024. Individual award recipients will each receive an honorarium of $500 to recognize their work, while classrooms and youth groups will receive $1000 to share. Learn more about our past recipients and get inspired with unique ways to make a difference in your school or community.
Watch the Difference Maker of the Year Awards video!
Nominate an individual youth or group/class of youth that positively impacted accessibility and inclusion in the classroom, school, and/or community for persons with vision, hearing, and/or mobility disabilities. Nominations are open between January 7-April 7, 2024 inclusive.
All the resources educators need to inspire youth Difference Makers, all in one place! This Difference Maker of the Year Starter Kit is designed to help classrooms and students participate in the Difference Maker initiative, and includes free lesson plans, posters, conversation starters, project ideas and more.
Nomination Eligibility Criteria
- Youth between ages 5-18 (individuals or groups).
- Have positively impacted accessibility and inclusion in the classroom, school, and/or community benefitting persons with vision, hearing, and/or mobility disabilities.
- Have addressed a community need of persons with disabilities and involved people with disabilities in the solution
- Majority of project completed between May 1, 2023 – April 7, 2024.
- Resident(s) of Canada.
- Nominee(s) have consented to being nominated.
- Self-nominations must provide a reference from an unrelated adult that has direct knowledge of the individual and the project or activity undertaken.
- Must not have received an RHFSP Difference Maker of the Year award in the past.
So I’ve made a nomination, what happens next?
- Once the nomination period closes on April 7, 2024 all nominations will be reviewed to ensure that they meet eligibility criteria.
- Eligible nominations will be reviewed by the Difference Maker Award Selection Committee, that will then select 3-5 award recipients.
- Recipients will be notified by April 26, 2024.
- Recipients will receive a cash prize ($500 for individual projects and $1000 for group/classroom projects), a certificate and a congratulations letter from Rick Hansen, and public recognition from the Rick Hansen Foundation.
1. What if the Difference Makers are a group of students working on a project together, or are part of a club?
Nominees can be individuals or a youth group who participate in a joint project or start a club, for example.
2. What if the person has been nominated or received a RHFSP Difference Maker Award before?
If an individual or group was previously nominated and did not receive an award, they can be nominated again as long as they are being nominated for a project where the majority of work took place between May 1, 2023-April 7, 2024. If an individual or group received an award in the past, they are ineligible to be nominated again.
3. Why do I have to tell the person I am nominating before I submit my nomination to RHF?
RHF would like to celebrate the great work of all the Nominees and may share information about the nomination through emails and social media channels leading up to the award announcement during National AccessAbility Week (May 26-June 1, 2024). For this reason, we require that the Nominator has the permission of the Nominee to submit the online nomination.
4. Can I nominate a teacher?
While we have awarded educators, coaches, and youth group leaders in the past, the 2023-24 RHFSP Difference Maker of the Year awards will be awarded to youth between the ages of 5-18.
5. Can I nominate myself, my friend or a family member?
Yes, you are welcome to nominate yourself, a friend, or a family member! If you are nominating yourself, you will be asked to provide a reference from an unrelated adult that knows you and has knowledge of the project undertaken.
6. Any tips on submitting a nomination?
Your description should provide a well-rounded picture of the nominee and the positive impact of their actions. Concrete examples of the general and specific efforts and contributions the nominee makes in the school or community and their impact, the qualities that make the individual or group/class a worthy recipient, and how these have improved inclusion and accessibility for people with disabilities.
If you have any further questions about the Difference Maker Awards, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Past Award Recipients
Discover stories from past Difference Maker of the Year Award recipients. What inspired them, and what was their impact?