Rick Hansen believes “we can all be difference makers” and the Rick Hansen Foundation School Program (RHFSP) has been recognizing educators and students making a difference in the area of inclusion and accessibility for many years. The RHFSP Difference Maker of the Year awards celebrate students, K-12 educators and community leaders who positively impact accessibility and inclusion for people with physical disabilities, in either their school or wider community.
Nominations for 2022 have now closed! The winners are announced in early June during National AccessAbility Week, and will each receive a $500 honorarium to recognize their work.
2021-22 RHFSP Difference Maker of the Year Awards Eligibility Criteria
1. Nominee is a resident of Canada
2. Nominee is either:
- A student between Kindergarten and Grade 12
- An educator or teacher of students in grades between Kindergarten to Grade 12
- A community leader of youth in grades Kindergarten to Grade 12, e.g. youth group leaders, leaders of sports groups, after school program leaders etc.
3. Nominee has made a positive improvement to accessibility and inclusion for people with physical disabilities in their classroom, school or greater community between June 2021 and May 2022
4. Nomination is submitted with contact details for a second reference.
Past Award Recipients
Discover stories from past Difference Maker of the Year award recipients. What inspired them, and what was their impact?
1. What if the Difference Makers are a group of students on a project or part of a club?
Nominees can be individuals or a group of students or educators 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?
There is no limit to the number of times a person may be nominated.
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 29- June 4, 2022). For this reason, we require that the Nominator has the permission of the Nominee to submit the online nomination.
4. Do I have to nominate a teacher or can I nominate my coach or youth group leader?
We welcome nominations for educators or community leaders (youth group leaders, sports coaches, after school programs) who are making a positive difference in the area of inclusion and accessibility for their communities.
5. Can I nominate myself, my friend or family member?
The Nominator and Nominee should be two different people or groups. You are welcome to nominate a friend, however you may not nominate yourself or a family member.
6. How and when will the winners be celebrated?
The winners will be interviewed and the stories will be published on the RHF website, in addition a press release will be issued. You will also be invited to a virtual celebration.
7. What will the winners receive?
The 2022 RHFSP Difference Maker of the Year winners will each receive a $500 honorarium to recognize their work, as well as a personalized letter from Rick Hansen and a framed certificate.
8. 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 team a worthy recipient, and how these have improved inclusion and accessibility for people with physical disabilities.