Advocate for Accessible Design – Brandon, MB
When Gary Peasgood of Brandon, Manitoba got his first guide dog, he began to explore his hometown more than he ever had before. In doing so, he realized just how inaccessible it truly was. Even where attempts were made, like the installation of ramps, the execution left something to be desired.
“In some places, the ramps were six feet back from the corner,” says Gary. “As a visually impaired person, it was hard for me to know they were there.”
Gary decided that he could use his personal experiences to help advocate for change by volunteering with the Brandon Accessibility Advisory Committee (BAAC). The group meets to discuss accessibility issues they’ve flagged across the city and to petition the municipal government to make improvements. Under the direction of the BAAC, the city has added braille to public signage, installed audible stop announcements on buses, and it’s working towards accessible pedestrian signals.
Gary also volunteers his time to speak to schools about accessibility. He focuses his talks on elementary school kids, who he finds are eager to learn. He wants them to learn to put themselves in the shoes of others and to be able to recognize issues they previously took for granted. Most of all, he wants them to ask questions.
As Gary likes to say, “there are no wrong questions. If you don’t ask the question, you’ll never know the answer.”
Thanks to volunteers like Gary, a whole new generation of kids will grow up asking how they can help make a more accessible Canada!
If Gary’s story inspires you to consider volunteering for the CNIB Foundation, fill out the application form below.