We work

There was an article in the Vancouver Sun the other day, about some changes the government was making, that would concern those with developmental disabilities:

“The Ministry of Social Development’s customized employment contracts with 11 specialty agencies that help people with an intellectual challenge [find work]…are ending. All of their cases will be transferred to WorkBC by March 31…”

The article goes on to indicate that this new programming will not be as beneficial to those with developmental disabilities as they try to find jobs in their communities. Though I am not here to comment on government policies, what I can comment on is the importance of having a “regular job” to people with intellectual challenges. My brother Jeff, who had Down syndrome, now works in a sheltered workshop, but for many years he had the best job ever – at the local A&W.

A few times a week my brother would get on the Handy Dart first thing in the morning and head down to the Drive-In A&W in Langley for a full shift. I don’t even know how he got the job, through which agency, but I know that he loved it. I believe it was mostly women working there at the time, and they just loved my brother. It was a great job for him as it really highlighted the skills he had – organization, time management and following directions. He was always on time, managed his daily schedule well and once he got comfortable, even cracked a joke or two!

I wish I could stress enough to “the powers that be”, the importance of having people with developmental disabilities working out in the community; for them, but also for the public. I think the people who worked with Jeff learned more from him than vice versa. Working gives everyone a sense of meaning and value, so why not do our best to make sure everyone has that opportunity?

View the original article at http://www.vancouversun.com/touch/story.html?id=9460566.

By Joanna Redfern, Volunteer Blogger

For more information about Joanna, please go to: http://www.createitemporium.com.

Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community. 

The Semiahmoo Foundation, located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.

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