Brock University, Masters of Applied Disability Studies, First Year
“The most rewarding experience I had as a SOS volunteer was on my Say Si to Spanish outreach trip this past August. When I first signed up for my outreach trip, I was terrified. I had never traveled alone before, I had just started learning the language and truthfully, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I can now confidently say it was the best decision I have made. The partnering organization, Niños de Guatemala, is a group of the most amazing people I have met. To say that the staff, their schools and students changed my life, would be an understatement. Each person opened up their hearts, mind & homes to us, and were just as eager to learn from us, as we were for them to teach us. This bond that I have with the NDG trip leaders and my Spanish teacher, as well as the experiences, lessons and relationships I built, are something that I will carry forward with me. I hope everyone gets the chance to experience this and I can’t wait to plan my own trip back to Antigua.
Also, I can’t forget to mention the coffee. For all my fellow coffee lovers out there, Guatemala is definitely the place where you will always find a good cup off coffee. “
YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS
Kaley’s first joined SOS Laurentian as the vice- president of marketing as well an exam aid instructor. What stood out to her most during those roles would most likely just be the overall success of that year. SOS LU finally got a strong online and in person presence on campus as well as hosted the most successful exam aid session for Laurentian. It was truly a team effort, and it was amazing seeing the outcome of all the hard work that was put in!
Kaley’s next role was as a team leader for the Say Si to Spanish outreach trip this past August. It was hard for her to choose a standout moment from during the trip, but seeing the team receive their certifications for completing their Spanish lessons was like a “proud mom moment” for her. She knows how much time and energy she put in during those lessons, and knew her team was just as dedicated, even spending their nights studying!
Finally, Kaley was the chapter president during the 2019-2020 school year. While she is proud of the Laurentian chapter for receiving the emerging leadership award and for her teammates personal awards (herself included), her favourite part of the year was handing out the Laurentian volunteer of the month. She claims “I would get so excited about choosing a volunteer, the day before our meeting I would basically write out a little speech on why I thought that person deserved recognition and would practice it on the drive there.”
While a tough decision, the person I would love to have dinner with would be Carly Fleischmann and her family. Carly and Arthur’s (her father) novel was my introduction into disability studies, and the lived experiences of children with Autism, specifically finding resources in Toronto. Finishing Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism was the moment I knew this was the career field I want to work in, and I can’t even explain the excitement I would experience to be able to sit down with Carly, her family and her team to hear and learn all the experiences that were not included in the novel, and have occurred since and also receive advice and information on how I can excel in my future career working with individuals with Autism.
I love to read, whenever I have a chance I am reading a book and I always have a book with me “just in case.” I am currently reading Educated by Tara Westover, HIGHLY recommend. I am also extremely into fitness and healthy living. I work out approximately 6 days a week and complete yoga and meditation almost daily. This was actually inspired by my love to cook/bake. I completed my high school co-op at a cafe, and since then I always love trying out new recipes and finding delicious, healthy alternatives. Lastly, I am extremely passionate about working in the disability sector and currently work as a health policy research analyst for Canada FASD Research Network.