BF staff wins Calgary Advocacy Award
Mark Burzacott is a strong advocate for people with disabilities in both his personal life and professional life. He challenges those around him to build a community in which
inclusion is celebrated and practiced – creating a safe and welcoming space for all.
Mark is the Membership Coordinator with Between Friends. In this capacity, he is actively meeting with people with disabilities and their families to explore their recreational needs and to set them up for success when entering our programs. He also supports them in advocating their needs to other service providers, be that other recreational or transportation providers. Mark works with our members to challenge them to experience new social and recreational activities, creating both individual capacity, and capacity for families. Through his work, he removes barriers of isolation and barriers to participation so people of all abilities may experience a rich and full life which includes and fosters social and recreational opportunities.
Mark also continues to provide respite to families as a support worker – supporting families is providing quality care and fun. He maintains close relationships with the families he supports. Mark is also a Head Coach with Special Olympics. He spends his Tuesday evenings in the swimming pool with his athletes encouraging and challenging them to reach their individual potential.
In the summer of 2015 & 2016, Mark spent an extensive amount of time researching, developing and implementing a Sensory Room at Between Friends Camp Bonaventure. He was instrumental in helping us to create a therapeutic space specifically designed to provide our members with the opportunity for self care and resiliency. Our sensory room can be used as a calming space or an stimulating space – whatever the needs of our participants are at the time.
Mark also actively engages in inter-agency meetings and resource fairs, advocating for people with disabilities and their recreation needs. Mark truly believes that everyone has something to offer and can participate if we are creative in our approach. He works regularly with our staff and volunteers, providing them with extensive training around disability awareness, sensitivity training, inclusion and adaptation/modification. Mark is incredibly committed to ensuring every participant has the best experience possible when at our programs. He works tirelessly to empower those around him to embrace inclusion and the special gifts our members have to offer.