Enjoying the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion’s (BACI) recent winter party, Gerry Juzenas was approached by a family who wanted to thank him for how his advice and encouragement had motivated their daughter to speak up and be assertive.
To hear firsthand how his efforts are making a difference was the highlight of the whole party, Gerry tells BACI Blast.
He notes the young woman had been part of a class he taught some years ago.
“She was really shy, and we were teaching people to be assertive,” he recalls.
“And now she’s not shy.
“Her mom and dad thanked me for helping their daughter start a new program that she likes to do.”
Gerry, who describes himself as someone who has a disability, has been referred to by others as the “hardest-working man” at BACI.
Gerry has served as an advocate for BACI for 12 years, teaching about people’s rights. Once conflicted with “bad depression,” he says being a self-advocate has been empowering, and gives him the courage to be a representative on boards and a public speaker.
He played a role in the closing of large institutions throughout B.C., where residents were systemically abused physically, emotionally and sexually. The last of these institutions, Woodlands, was closed in 1996 and demolished in 2011.
Gerry was honoured in another way for his effort this past year when he was chosen to carry the baton in Rick Hansen’s 25th Anniversary Relay.
Gerry was nominated by BACI to participate, and he was selected from thousands of applicants.
He adds he feels additionally honoured each time the story of his efforts and achievements is shared in the BACI Blast.
Self-advocate honoured to participate in Rick Hansen anniversary
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