Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Summer Days.....

Hey! Long time no blog? I think so!

I am very happy to announce, drumroll please... I SURVIVED GRADE 11!!!!! Hallelujah! After a very stressful last three weeks, full of taking notes almost eight hours a day, and getting a swollen tendon in the arm from all that writing... I'M DONE! I think I am the most proud of my 96% in Math, of which I owe to my teachers hard work, as if it was just by my doing... I would have failed... The hardest course to complete was a tie between Biology, as it had tons of note taking, and French, need I say more? I feel more than slightly exhausted and am looking forward to my vacation in a week! My what? Why were you not informed of this vacation? There is a simple explanation for this! I forgot to mention it....

In exactly five days, I, Grace Brulotte, will hit the bright and shining streets of.... LAS VEGAS!!! That's right people! I am going to Vegas! I think I have mentioned before that every year individuals with Arthrogryposis (my condition) gather for a four day conference in an exciting destination. When I found out it was in Vegas, after pestering my mother for weeks on end, we decided that we would go! With my previous, lovely airplane experiences (I'm being totally sarcastic...), we decided it would be better for us to drive. It is a considerably long trip, approximately 19 hours, but seeing that the last time we flew to one of these conferences they broke my wheelchair, anything is better than that! We are staying for almost two weeks, and will be visiting the Grand Canyon, as well as Vegas. Of course we will be seeing lots of shows, such as Cirque Du Soleil, while we are there, and staying up half the night partying... And I personally can't go to Vegas without going shopping! With temptation like the biggest Ross in North America, how could I resist? I am also planning on not being a chicken and getting my ears pierced... I can't wait for another Grace adventure!

So, that's all I have time for today, but I will be sure to write all about my trip when I get back!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

"And I think to myself, what a wonderful world".

Hey everyone! I must say that ever since I was able to start skiing every week this winter has gone surprisingly fast for me, which is a very good thing!!! I'm actually shocked at myself because I was sad to see winter passing into spring... We've had such an amazing ski season and I can't wait for next season! With that said there is a whole lot more to be done this summer and I look forward to being a part of it!

Working with FIRE has been such a blessing! I've learned so many new skills that I hope will become very useful in the future. I filled out my very first grant application, handled all the scheduling and booking for the program, and have done many public speaking events since the program started in January. I'm going to admit that I have loved being able to empower and encourage people with my story, even if I'm not a fan of public speaking… Every new experience has been both challenging and inspiring and I can't wait to see what this next part of my life has in store for me.

I'm going to start off by saying that, drumroll please… I got my very first job! As you may know, I've been exploring new ideas for jobs, and my mother suggested that I apply to work for the elections this year. I wasn't quite sure if I would get the job as I am young and don't have very much experience with that sort of thing, but I decided to take a leap of faith, and applied for the job. They gave me a call yesterday and told me that I got the job!  The only bad part about this is that I have to get my social insurance number, and the office where I would get that done is not accessible… Go figure! So I'm going to have to travel out of town to get my social insurance number so I'm able to work. (I really am hoping to be able to advocate more for individuals with disabilities though, and hopefully in the future no one else will run into the same problem as I did!) Getting a job has been a personal goal of mine for quite a while, and I'm thrilled that I've been able to accomplish it! Just another thing to check off the list!

I talked about public speaking in the beginning of this post, so I thought I'd give a little bit more of the details on that! I guess the whole thing started when I was asked to speak at International Women's Day in March. They wanted me to talk about FIRE and inspire women to reach for the stars! I was honored that they thought my story was worth speaking about, but also honored that they thought I was a woman… :) Although I was terrified at first, another goal of mine is to put myself in situations where I'm pushed past my comfort zone, and since I am really not comfortable with public speaking, I thought this was a good opportunity to put this goal to the test. I thought that I would only be doing the one public speaking event, but that one public speaking event turned into three public speaking events! After my first speech, I was asked to speak at the local moms group. I was able to speak for an hour at this event, so I was able to share some of my other life experiences, such as the Paralympics and speaking at the Senate in Ottawa. I really enjoyed being able to do that and I felt very empowered afterwards. A few days after that, I was asked to come and speak to a class of RCN's at the college. I think this was the longest speaking event I have ever done, as I spoke for almost two hours! I talked about what it felt like to be disabled, what bothered me, but also what I appreciated in the way people treat me. I was actually a little shocked at how much I enjoyed public speaking and I sincerely hope I have more opportunities to share my story. I hope all of these experiences help me in my "maturing process"! ;)

That's all I'm going to talk about for this entry, but I'll post another one soon with more exciting news! Life is so good!!!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Free To Ski!

Hey everyone! Long time no see! What took you so long!? Ok ok I know... I've neglected you guys... But hey! I am the bearer of good news!

It finally happened! All that hard work, endless hours of planning, many hard times, the good, the bad and the ugly, and now I can say, "WE DID IT"!!! Fernie now has it's very own adaptive snow program! Words cannot even express how happy, relieved, and thankful I am. Fernie Adaptive Snow Program's first official day was on the 20th of January and we have been doing wonderfully! We currently have five students, three sit skiers, one snowboarder, and one who is just learning how to ski. We have been open four Sundays now and I am so amazed at how the students have grown already. There is such a positive atmosphere up there! Everyone is smiling and nothing is taken for granted. All I have to do is just look at everyone with their smiling faces and, like a disease, I start smiling too. It almost makes me want to cry. I see joy not only on our instructors and students faces, but on the parents faces as well. All the hard work is so worth it after I see all of this! Our program is more than just skiing. It is individuals being able to see the ability in their disability. It's people being able to say I can, instead of I can't. It's freedom! It's being able to forget the labels and just let go. A smile from one of these individuals, is truly worth a thousand words. I can see our program being the key that opens the door to a place where anything is possible. I cannot wait to see this program grow, but more importantly, I can't wait to see people's lives changed, forever. So I would like to just take a moment to thank you, thank you to my wonderful board of directors without whom this would not be possible, thank you to the amazing instructors who volunteer their time to literally change lives, thank you to the volunteers who keep everything going, and thank you to our incredible sponsors who opened up their hearts to FIRE. Words could not express my thankfulness! And now I can truly say we are... free to ski!