The Manitoba Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC) presented awards to recipients from across the province last week. Two winners came from Portage Collegiate Institute (PCI).

Jorja Carrothers is a student at the high school and was named both a provincial and International CEC Yes I Can! Award recipient. She has been actively involved in helping make PCI a more inclusive space for those with disabilities. Of note, she completed an accessibility study of the school buildings, using data to make a report and recommendations for ways to make the school better. Jorja also designed a poster for Invisible Disabilities Week to bring awareness to the community.

Jorja notes what her message is for those who want to get involved in work like she is.

"Look at other people's perspectives and realize that there are other people who have different needs than you. And a lot of the time, there is a barrier to access them, and everyone should have access to their basic needs. So, you need to put yourself in other people's shoes to help them get access to those."

Empathy and advocacy were things she also felt are important to those with disabilities.

Carrothers wasn't the only person to receive recognition at PCI from the MCEC. Leanne Miller has been an Educational Assistant at PCI since her graduation from the school in 2006. She was presented with a Certificate of Recognition for her work with people with disabilities at PCI and also with Special Olympics Manitoba. Miller says it was nice to be recognized.

"I was surprised, but thankful. I really enjoy working with those with special needs in the Life Skills program."