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Like many young men in their twenties, Ryan Robson has already had a few jobs. Some of which fared very well, while others had a weary effect on him. He recalls an employment experience where he became increasingly stressed and despondent. It occurred to him at the time that he didn’t fit in with the organizational culture and wasn’t offered sufficient hours to sustain himself financially. After some soul searching, he made the decision to quit. “I felt a weight had been lifted”, he says.

While he was taking time to focus on getting mentally healthy again and ponder about his career path, he heard of Semiahmoo House Society (SHS) through a connection of his. After consideration, he applied and was accepted to enrol in SHS’ Employment Training and Support (ETS) programs where he learned new job skills, including marketing himself to potential employers. While attending his programs at ETS, he demonstrated such hard work and dedication that his supervisor determined he was ready for the next step: employment. So, he introduced Ryan to Shari Hauptkorn, Job Developer with SHS’ Customized Employment (CE) services.

Shari assessed him and quickly recognized that he would be a suitable candidate for her services which entail facilitating employment for people supported by SHS. During one of their meetings, Shari described a job opportunity to Ryan and asked him if he would willing to interview for it. “His whole face lit up,” says Shari. “He couldn’t stop talking about the possibilities for employment and how much it meant to be financially independent. He excitedly agreed and we both made the necessary arrangements.”

While riding in the car with Shari, who was driving him to meet the potential employer, Ryan talked about the importance of staying optimistic, no matter what life threw his way. “Can I tell you something?” he asked. “If you only focus on the good things, then life can’t be any more better!”  Ryan’s positive outlook paid off and he got the job.

Now employed and earning a living, Ryan can dream of a future where he can move out of his parents’ home and get his own place in Cloverdale or Langley. He even envisages the possibility of getting married to his girlfriend, Katrina, whom he’s known for 20 years. “We’re kindergarten sweethearts”, he says with an enchanted smile. “She’s very sweet and highly caring. She loves cats so much that she works at the cat shelter in Langley.” Ryan and Katrina like to stay active by going swimming, bowling or walking. They also enjoy going out for dinner and watching movies together.

When asked about his learning experience at SHS, Ryan describes it to be “the most magnificent.” In fact, what’s truly magnificent is the power of this young man’s buoyant life philosophy to find his place in the world, to overcome obstacles and to stay the course.

By Louise Tremblay, The Semiahmoo Foundation

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 exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.

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