A college student balances a lot of responsibilities—and Sam Forbes and Annick Léger are no exception. Both have been juggling activities outside of their program during their time at Humber.
Forbes was the face of Community Living Ontario’s April campaign, where participating LCBO stores collected donations for the Anne Stafford Bursary program. The bursary allows people with developmental disabilities to attend postsecondary education.
A recipient of the bursary himself, Forbes says it’s really thrilling to be able to see his face affiliated with a program that helps other people. “It’s great that there are programs geared toward people like me,” he says. “Humber was a real kick-starter in that area.” He’s a tireless advocate who has spoken at autism conventions, worked with the United Way, and continues to work as a public relations and fundraising ambassador at Community Living Toronto while completing his classes at Humber. (You may also recognize him from his appearance on the Ellen show as the viral star known as The Dancing Barista.)
He has no intention of slowing down, and says he’d like to be a spokesperson for another special needs campaign in the future. “My next steps are to continue to promote my advocacy, and call for inclusion. And to tell the naysayers that we’re like everyone else—human. I just want people to understand that.”
The year has gone by quickly for both Forbes, and Annick Léger, who has just finished her second and final year of the Community Integration through Cooperative Education (CICE) program. Léger managed to do so while also training for and competing in the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi—where she brought home six gold medals in Level 2 rhythmic gymnastics competition.
“Abu Dhabi was an amazing experience,” says Léger. She was there for two weeks, soaking up the culture and all the city had to offer in addition to rigorous practices and competition.
Léger is modest, but her mom Nancy explains there was a lot of training involved to prepare for the Games. Leger’s training regimen included hours of nightly practice: gymnastics, ballet, swimming, running, yoga, and a weight regimen. “Her commitment to training definitely brought home the gold medals,” Nancy says. Amidst her competitive training throughout the year, Léger also completed the CICE’s required year-long co-op placement, at LA Fitness.
“It felt like we were growing up independently, and it’s so much fun there,” Léger says of her experience in the CICE program. Like Forbes, she’s has given back with volunteer community organizations in the past, including a cat rescue, and participated in a 5K run at Humber that raised awareness of leukemia—a disease Léger battled as a child.
“Annick has really grown with the program,” Nancy says. “Her independence and leadership skills have really grown…I just wish the program was another two years.” Léger, too, is focused on the future, especially now that she’s graduated from the program: finding a part-time job, and getting her G2 license. And of course, training. “Hopefully I’ll be at the next Worlds in Germany, in four years,” she says.