‘Passionate’ self-advocate Ludo van Pelt shares his wealth of experience
Kristian Partington

There are a few things Ludo van Pelt brings with him every day to his job at North Shore ConneXions Society: a constant smile; a love of storytelling; and a burning passion to inspire others to discover what they want and learn, and how to advocate for it.

He figures he’s been an active self-advocate for around 37 years and for the last 16, he’s been a fixture with ConneXions and he’s managed to cover a lot of ground during that time.

“As soon as a project is finished he’s got to get another one on board,” says ConneXions’ recreation and education program co-ordinator Katie Fenn.

Passionate self-advocate Ludo van Pelt has been inspiring others at North Shore ConneXions Society for 16 years. He’s recently been mentoring Siann Montgomery on the organization’s self advocates committee.

“He’s not quite satisfied with not having anything in the meantime.”

Currently he’s an assistant Community Living counsellor and his roles in the agency are quite diverse. He’s worked in group home settings, for example, where he helped his peers discover independence and freedom by telling them about things like dorm meetings, where they can advocate for the types of activities they like to do.

He facilitates assertiveness sessions; he runs floor hockey; he leads karaoke; he leads by example.

“People who are getting ideas about, say, moving out on their own or working,” he says, of the main purpose of his job. “We give them support . . . especially when it comes to leadership.”

“I don’t try to brainwash anyone. I just tell them that they can do what they like to do just like I do what I like to do.”

He’s never had any desire to do a job that is “for people” he says, like stocking shelves or bussing tables.

“I like to do things with people,” is his motto. “I like to give them support, guidance, and their structure.”

Ultimately, he loves his job because it’s something different every day, and his manager says his passion shows in the enthusiasm he brings to work day in and day out.

“I don’t think he’s had a sick day in the five years I’ve been working with him,” says Katie.

“Anything to do with self-advocacy he’s full-on engaged and involved and passionate about it.”

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