The executive director at Inclusion Foothills just won a very prestigious award last Friday, April 14.

Orvella Small won the Bruce Uditsky Leadership Award which she humbly accepted at the Inclusion Alberta Family Conference in Edmonton.

"Bruce Uditsky is a leader in Inclusion, not just provincially but internationally. And so, to receive an award in his name is extremely rewarding. Bruce had started the Inclusive post-secondary program that are now going on around the world and started right here in Alberta first. Bruce assisted with the movement to move people out of institutions and to have that recorded and is a strong advocate for people to be included in work, in schools and in communities. Those are values that I too believe in."

Small was a bit surprised at receiving the award.

"It was surprising to me. I didn't know how to respond because I don't ever expect this kind of acknowledgement for the work that I do. I do what I do because of the passion that I have for people with disabilities and want to make sure they have the same as everyone else."

The award is not given out every year and is only awarded to a deserving recipient. 

It's presented to someone that goes above and beyond in leading communities for those with disabilities for inclusivity for all.

Orvella Small started up Inclusion Foothills, formerly known as Foothills SNAPS (Special Needs Association for Parents and Siblings), 25 years ago as of this upcoming Fall.

"It all started with parents, with me being one of those parents. We had no aspirations or dreams of what it would turn into when we all came together wanting better or more for our kids because they were all little kids at the time and so, under parent direction because that's who our board is made up of this is where we're at today."

"We just knew that parents needed support. We just knew we needed a voice and that thank goodness that voice continues to this day."

(L to R) Monica Bratt, Donna Dejardins, Orvella Small and Trish Bowman(L to R) President of Inclusion Alberta Monica Bratt, Donna Dejardins, Inclusion Foothills Executive Director Orvella Small and Inclusion Alberta CEO Trish Bowman.