Ontario region switcher


For content relevant to your community in Ontario, Please select your region

Meet Stormy Sweetman – recipient of the 2022 CNIB National Youth Council Leadership Award!

The CNIB National Youth Council believes in recognizing youth with sight loss. That's why it created the Leadership Award to celebrate people going above and beyond to make a difference in their community.

Grace (Stormy) Sweetman is a first-year student at King’s University College who is planning to major in Disability Studies. Passionate about both human and non-human rights, Stormy loves to play video games and loves the arts, both literary and visual. They have even used their art in their disability and animal rights advocacy work! Stormy stands in front of a rural corn field on a sunny summer day. She wears a sundress and is holding a bouquet of graduation-themed balloons

Stormy is this year’s recipient of the 2022 National Youth Council Leadership Award. CNIB National Youth Council member, Emilee Schevers, spoke with Stormy about being a young leader in their community.  

Emilee: Why is community involvement important to you?

Stormy: Community plays a big role in my emotional well-being. Engaging in your community helps people get to know you better and is a good way of forming new connections. It can be useful for networking and potential future employment. 

Emilee: What is an accomplishment you are most proud of?

Stormy: I'd say my biggest accomplishment and one that I'm most proud of was being the only young person to speak at the World Mental Health Forum hosted by the World Health Organization last year. It all started with a request for input on a report regarding developmental disabilities. Shortly after, I was invited to be a speaker to present my experience as a person with lived experience. They could have chosen anyone, but they chose me. 

Emilee: What advice do you have for youth who want to be leaders?

Stormy: Do not wait. Next time you see an opportunity, take it. Also know that anyone can be a leader it just requires you to take initiative.  

Emilee: What does this award mean to you?

Stormy: It is an honour to receive this award and have my work recognized by the CNIB National Youth Council. It's an award about leadership and puts an emphasis on my accomplishments rather than my disabilities. My disabilities are a part of me and without them, I doubt I would be quite as accomplished. People often underestimate me because of my disabilities and receiving this award shows that I am more than my disabilities. It also serves as an example for others in the disability community that with hard work and dedication, you can still achieve great things.  

Emilee: How are you paving the way for future youth with sight loss and breaking down barriers?

Stormy: I believe that my accomplishments speak for themselves. Even in my everyday life, I break barriers. Many still have this perception that people who are blind can't play videogames. But I know a person's ability to play a game isn't dependent on how much sight they have and more about how they adapt to compensate for their lack of vision.