Congratulations is extended to Andrea McIvor, the 2018 recipient of a Manitoba Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award in the Personal Achievement category. The Manitoba Aboriginal Youth Achievement Awards (MAYAA) is held each year in November to honour the achievements of Indigenous youth in the fields of culture, traditional lifestyle, employment, business, personal achievement, and achievement excellence.
Andrea is a Home Placement graduate from the community of Pelican Rapids who is currently in her first year at Brandon University. In March of 2015, three months prior to her graduation, she lost her vision after undergoing brain surgery to remove a tumour on her optic nerve. Andrea handled her traumatic loss with dignity and positivity, and focused on learning the skills she would need to acquire to navigate her surroundings as a visually-impaired individual. Within a year, she learned the Braille language and orientation and mobility skills, and became proficient in using assistive technology to further her secondary education. She wrote provincial standards tests in English and mathematics and completed a dual credit university course in her final year of high school. Andrea graduated with Honours this past June and received several scholarships including a four-year RBC Aboriginal Student Scholarship of $16 000 ($4 000 per year), Business Council of Manitoba Aboriginal Education Award of $3 000, and a Canadian National Institute for the Blind Scholarship of $3 000.
Andrea’s achievements include making multiple presentations on the topic of blindness to elementary and high school students, resource teachers, and community organizations within Swan River and the surrounding area. She received a Student Citizenship Award through the Manitoba School Boards Association for educating the community on disabilities and accessibility. Andrea also began a home-based business selling crocheted items including stuffed animals, baby slippers and bibs, and dish cloths. Her achievements exemplify what individuals may achieve when they approach challenges with purpose and optimism.
On a daily basis, Andrea inspires youth and adults to challenge themselves to achieve their goals. After she completes her undergraduate degree at Brandon University, she intends to pursue a Master’s degree in Vision Sciences at the University of Montreal. Her career goal is to work as an Assistive Technology Specialist for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and work with visually impaired individuals to help them achieve their educational and career goals.
We congratulate Andrea on receiving a MAYAA Award and wish her continued success in pursuing her educational and career endeavours.