BY KELLY ROCHE
Mark Brown never thought he’d be on-air one day but now the 47-year-old “wants to learn it all.”
Brown is enrolled in an online radio broadcasting program specializing in training people with disabilities, commuting to Port Credit each day from Scarborough.
Students are being accepted for the new 24-week semester, which begins March 15.
The program is run by Connect 4 Life, a charity founded in 2013 by Melanie Taddeo, via Internet radio station Voices 4 Ability.
“It’s been amazing watching them grow,” said Taddeo, adding Brown is a star student.
Brown uses a wheelchair following a motor vehicle accident in the U.S. more than 20 years ago.
The father of two children, ages 25 and 12, said he spent six months at Toronto Rehab and heard about Connect 4 Life after seeing a flyer for the accessible voice in broadcasting program last year.
His course ends in March, and Brown will be leaving with a professional portfolio and newfound passion for media.
People with injuries or disabilities “live inside of a box for quite some time,” he said, adding confidence was always there, however, the program has “given me a better outlook on life.”
An estimated 3.8 million adult Canadians reported being limited in their daily activities due to a disability in 2012, according to Statistics Canada, representing 13.7 per cent of the adult population.
The program is the first of its kind in Canada, said Taddeo, noting she’s receiving inquiries from people as far as B.C. and Newfoundland.
“Everybody has the right to training and to be employed,” Taddeo said.