Michelle Sutley Nominated by Spinal Cord Injury Alberta

Michelle Sutley - Caught in the ActWhen meeting Michelle Sutley for the first time at the Spinal Cord Injury Alberta office, located at the Eastlink Centre, she was hard at work writing a letter to Chris Warkentin, M.P. for Grande Prairie – Mackenzie, about Accessible Canada, which promotes equality, services, and initiatives related to accessibility and persons with disabilities.  Michelle has a long association with SCI Alberta, and after volunteering at the QEII Hospital after 91/2 years, visiting patients with Alberta Health Services, Michelle was asked if she was interested at volunteering for SCI Alberta.  Already a weekly visitor to the office to use their special computer equipment Michelle agreed and now picks up and delivers the organizations mail every week.  She also volunteers with the Wolverines Wheelchair Basketball Association located next door.

Michelle’s volunteer work is more than just getting the mail. Speaking with Mieke de Groot, SCI Alberta’s Regional Program Coordinator and Team Lead, she says, ”Michelle offers a subtle form of community development”; de Groot states, “Michelle is a good Self-Advocate and her presence at the Eastlink Centre helps to break down barriers by engaging the staff & patrons and by creating awareness of life with spinal cord injuries.” Michelle enjoys her time interacting and meeting new people at the Eastlink Centre, she likes the feeling of self-worth and independence helping others and raising awareness gives her. 

Michelle picking up the mail from Eastlink Centre employee Dana Russell

Despite the challenges caused by cerebral palsy, Michelle leads a very active life spending time with friends / family, going to the mall to shop / people watch, going swing dancing, going to the movies, watching live theater, and playing power soccer; but her busy schedule does slowdown in the winter months.   “Michelle is a very fun outgoing person who can be very determined and likes to show who she is when given the chance” according to Bonnie, Michelle’s friend who occasionally helps her.Michelle would like to volunteer more at the Eastlink Centre and help the other agencies located there by being a mail courier.  She hopes that she can show people even though she sometimes has difficulty communicating with others and with getting assistance, she is an independent and capable individual.  She assumes that if she couldn’t volunteer she would be at home doing nothing.  She wants to show that people with disabilities can contribute and believes that more organizations can be open to volunteers like her.

The Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau would like to thank Michelle for her hard work, her positive attitude, raising awareness for people with disabilities and being ‘Caught in the Act’ of volunteering. For more information about Spinal Cord Injury Alberta visit their website at www.sci-ab.ca, you can also follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook.



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