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Because inclusion begins on screen.

Penelope In Penelope’s family, inclusion is the name of the game. Whether they’re playing in the park, swimming or hanging out with friends, her family always ensures that Penelope, who has a rare genetic disorder leading to developmental challenges, can participate.

“We really want to promote an inclusive world for kids with disabilities to grow up in,” says Penelope’s mom, Julie.

But, one area where Penelope and her family rarely see such inclusion is in the media.

“Kids with disabilities should have representation of themselves in the media and out in the community, which is something that you don’t get to see a lot,” says Julie.

Since she was in junior kindergarten, Penelope has been advocating to change that reality. At just seven years old, she has already participated in several of Holland Bloorview’s initiatives as an ambassador, raising awareness about the need for representation for kids with disabilities. 

“If kids are seeing disability in the media all the time, then it’s not quite so different to have somebody with a disability in your class or in your soccer program,” says Julie. “I think it could go a long way.”

Penelope already gets excited when she sees her friends and fellow ambassadors of Holland Bloorview on posters and in advertisements, so her family can’t wait to see what will happen with even more representation of kids with disabilities.

“It would be really great if more streaming services and shows could try to include more kids with disabilities in their programming,” says Julie. “It would help to introduce the concept that everybody deserves to be included.”