Volunteering Supports a Higher Purpose

Rion's life experiences are leading her to further learning in disability studies.

Donald Taylor was an outgoing and outspoken man in his life, an advocate for people with disabilities and a part of the L’Arche community. He passed in 2017.

The Donald Taylor Bursary arose from the intention that the gifts and abilities of people like Donald be recognized, by supporting the education of individuals who share that aim. The bursary is given annually to a high school student in the Comox Valley school district who is moving on to post-secondary education in a field related to work with people with disabilities.

This year’s bursary was awarded to Rion Coombs, a graduating student from Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School in Courtenay, BC. Rion plans to attend North Island College and pursue her interests in the area of disability studies.

By Rion Coombs, 2024 Recipient of the Donald Taylor Bursary

First, I want to to say thank you so much for this bursary. I’m so grateful for the opportunities that the Donald William Taylor Bursary is providing me as I start start my education in the fall to work with those with disabilities.

My passion for working with children and teens with disabilities began when I was 13 when I took the babysitter’s course for people with disabilities, and it has only grown since then. I wish to make a difference in the life of those who don’t have a voice. In my 17 years on this planet, I have done many things to be proud of, but what I’m most proud of is the difference I’ve made in individual lives. Volunteering with neurodivergent children is the most rewarding thing there is; they’re the pride and joy of my life, which is why I decided to start volunteering in the first place. I have volunteered at Coastal Behaviour Consulting as well as the life skills program at my school.

I truly believe in helping those who aren’t capable of advocating for themselves. The reason I feel that this is so important to me is because ever since I was little, I’ve had an anxiety disorder called selective mutism. Having a disorder that is so rarely talked about resulted in me not being treated the best by my peers and/or authority figures. Because of these experiences I can see the importance in spreading awareness so others don’t have to go through the same things that I have had to deal with.

I hope that in the future I can make more of a difference in many lives as I feel that this is one of the most important things there is in life. I feel that everyone should have an equal chance in life no matter their abilities because your abilities do not determine how you should be treated in life.

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