Local youth receives Community Builder award

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 21, 2016 in Rat News | Subscribe

Melanie and Tommy have two pet rats and one syndrome – and now they have another award to add to their long list.

On Wednesday, April 13, Tommy Glatzmayer received a United Way Community Builder Award in a ceremony at Algonquin College. This adds to his and his sister’s long list of awards received to date, including a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award (2012), an Ontario Youth Citizen Award of the Year (2014) and an Ottawa Spirit of the Capital Youth Award (2015).

Tommy and Melanie are local youth from Manotick who are making strides in raising awareness for inclusiveness and the anti-bullying message. Along with their mother, Nathalie Wendling, and their two pet rats, the pair have published two books to help inform their peers about Melanie’s rare condition: Cornelia de Lange Syndrome.

When Tommy was six, he wanted to educate his friends about his sister’s syndrome and also wanted to spread the word of inclusiveness. Their first book, “Melanie and Tommy have two pet rats and one syndrome”, did just that. Now, the siblings travel across North America spreading their message and have given more than 80 presentations to date.

Tommy was honoured with the United Way award during a similar presentation on April 13. Melanie and Tommy gave a version of their standard presentation and hosted a rat race before Tommy hosted a drum circle with 11 other students from St. Mark Catholic High School. Tommy hosts the drum circle once a month at his school and Wendling said he’s gained quite a group of followers.

“It was really exciting,” she said. “I am so proud of him for everything he’s accomplished.”

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