Meet Someone Excellent – Nicole Provost: 2018 Self-Advocate of the Year.
“These people are my sun and stars, they are my family and all my love belongs to them. Leading this group is my joy, my raison d’être. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us!!!”
Nicole Provost is a shining example of excellence in the autism community. At the age of 20, Nicole founded her own non-profit organization, the Mayday Club Youth Choir to celebrate and cultivate neuro-diverse talents. The choir was named after the common distress call “Mayday” to draw attention to the lack of much-needed opportunities for people with disabilities. Through a lot of hard work and resilience, Mayday has become a safe and vibrant space where 45 youth affected by autism share their voice and talents.
When asked what inspired the Mayday Club Youth Choir, Nicole replied:
I came up with the idea when I was 16 and singing in a children’s choir myself. There was a little girl in the choir who had a very hard time standing still when she was singing with the group. She wanted to jump and dance and move to the music and I loved her energy. She reminded me of myself when I was her age. I wished that every singer in our group was as energetic and alive as her, because it would engage the audience and add a ‘realness’ factor. Unfortunately, she did not do well in the choir, and ended up being held back because she did not conform with the other singers. I decided to start my own choir one day, where children like her could show their energy.
As someone with ASD, Nicole empathized with the little girl and saw tremendous need and value in creating a club that champions individualism. Most of the youth involved with Mayday experience significant bullying in school or at work, and face issues such as PTSD, anxiety, etc. Nicole continually draws upon her personal negative and positive experiences to inspire those around her and create a supportive community. Nicole makes everyone feel valued, good about themselves and has created a club based on acceptance and friendship. Nicole is someone excellent.
Do you know someone excellent like Nicole?
Nominate them for a 2019 British Columbia Excellence in Autism Award. The awards recognize and celebrate the impact of individuals, organizations and groups whose work continues to drive us towards an inclusive society. Learn more about our categories and nominate someone excellent in your community today!