Thursday, 5 April 2018

My Time with Ability Online by Shandi Pace

Over the past three months, I’ve been interning for Michelle at Ability Online. As mostly anyone associated with Ability Online knows, Michelle works extremely hard every single day to ensure that this organization runs smoothly.

For most, Ability Online is a safe space where those with special needs can get the support they need in various parts of their life. They feel welcome and have the ability to connect with so many people going through the same issues that they are. Most places online are not regulated for anti-bullying and don’t offer the same protection that Ability Online does. Not only that, but it’s a place where people turn to when they need guidance, support and to build healthy relationships. Everyone supports each other, and everyone supports Michelle.

Personally, it has felt like these past few months have flown by incredibly fast. I’m graduating university now, as are the other interns that have helped Ability Online grow this year. Our time has been short, but unforgettable to say the least.

To start off January, a small group of us interning attended the Abilities Expo in Mississauga for the weekend. I had the chance to meet some of the members Ability Online has helped in the past, and possible members for the future. Ability Gives plays an important part in younger children’s lives and having the opportunity to meet Alex and to see where people’s helpful donations went to was incredible. We were also introduced to Rishi, the engineer behind Avra Labs Eye Control. He presented us with the technology of typing on a computer using just your eyes. Getting to see Sarah – a member of Ability Online – use the system was an unbelievable experience I could never forget.

The theme of my school’s magazine this year was success. Along the way, I’ve learned that success can have many different definitions.

Success doesn't rely on numbers. All that matters is if a product or organization can make a difference in people’s lives. Ability Online isn’t the largest charity, but the effect they’ve had on so many individuals has been touching to experience first hand. Whether it’s from participating in the live chat every Monday night or getting to meet members from the past and present at expos, meeting the real people behind the organization was inspiring.

Thank you to the Ability Online community for introducing me to new people and for putting up with my blog posts over the last few months. Thank you to Michelle for taking me on as an intern.

I'm not sure what I’ll do after graduation, but I do know I’ll always have a home with Ability Online.

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