From Can’t to Can

By Crystal Carson (Nanaimo, B.C.)

Hi, my name is Crystal. I am a self-advocate in Nanaimo. I like to help people and give back to my community by volunteering for organizations like Foodshare, the library and Hospice. Recently I raised $1,800 for Hospice through a 6km walk. I have a job at with the Vancouver Island Vocational Rehab Services which I love.

My mentors were my Mom and Dad.  I was devastated when my Mom who was my best friend and mentor was killed in a tragic car accident when I was in my early 30’s. She always gave me good advice, to not give up on my goals and dreams and to believe in myself. Then my Dad died a few years later. Cuddles my kitty is my best friend. She gives me great comfort and joy. She helped me through my grief when my parents died.

I was told by others that I couldn’t live on my own or finish high school. Yet I moved into my own apartment in 2001 and am taking adult education classes. I completed my grade 12 math exam and am waiting for the results. By taking classes I am learning new skills and boosting my self-esteem.

As a member of the Self Advocates of Nanaimo (SAN), I am learning to speak up and take action about things that are important to me and others. We got to make a film called, “Food, Fun, and Advocacy,” which we presented to over 300 people in Nanaimo.

The film is about the Self Advocates of Nanaimo and their involvement in advocacy and community food programs.


The video is on YouTube, here is the link:


We have been invited to present the film to organizations like CLBC Nanaimo and Nanaimo Association of Community Living. Some of the members of SAN are fundraising to present our video at the 2019 Inclusion BC Conference in Victoria.

By living on my own, taking classes, working at my job and volunteering in the community my self-confidence is increasing. I have learned there is no “t” in can” just like my Mom taught me.


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