Michael McLellan, a long-time Courtenay resident now living in Nanaimo, has been recognized by Community Living BC for his efforts to build more inclusive communities and leadership opportunities for people with disabilities.
One of four CLBC Widening Our World (WOW) award recipients, McLellan was nominated by Sarah Clemas of Vancouver, who wanted to ensure his recognition for many years of leadership and advocacy.
“Michael embodies what it means to be a leader in everything he does, and he is one of the most influential advocates in our community when it comes to the disability movement,” Clemas said in her nomination.
McLellan, who lives with a visual impairment, began his advocacy work in elementary school in Courtenay by speaking to classmates about the importance of including everyone in their community. His nomination notes that he is a voice for people with disabilities, forging relationships with organizations, committees and leaders.
He is a founding member of the BC Self Advocacy Leadership Network, and a member of the Provincial Accessibility Committee, among other groups. Recently, he was appointed to the board of Inclusion Canada.
Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson presented the WOW award to Michael at a recent event.
“Many people contributed to Michael’s nomination for a WOW award, all of them stating that he is a great leader, a good friend and good human being,” Malcolmson said. “Thank you, Michael, for your energy, dedication, and commitment to making our communities more welcoming places for everyone.”
“I do this work in the belief that inclusion needs to happen in the community for people with disabilities,” McLellan said. “I am so thankful, and appreciate the people who have been part of this advocacy work and who have supported me. Self-advocacy is everything for me and I’ve learned so many things from so many people.”