So Long 2016, Welcome 2017

Happy New Year! The beginning of a year can often be both a time for reflection, and a time for planning for the future. We wanted to see what some of the staff and clients around the office were focusing on in early 2017; here’s what they had to say:

Maria M., Client Services Coordinator
Maria M., Client Services Coordinator

The best part of 2016 was that I applied for a position with the [Client Services Coordinators] team, and I got hired. That was my highlight. I am very happy to be here. I was a Community Resource Worker prior to coming into this position, so it is something different, but something challenging I think. I feel I’m heading in the right direction for 2017.”
– Maria M., Client Services Coordinator

Adam C., PACE Team Client
Adam C., PACE Team Client

I had some highlights in 2016. Presenting at the Inclusion Awards in September was one. I am looking forward to getting my driver’s license in 2017. Also, I’m hoping to get a job by the spring.”
– Adam C., PACE Team Client

Jessica L., PACE Team CRW
Jessica L., PACE Team CRW

The Holiday Open House was a great experience. Very fun. I got to work with one of our clients serving vegetables. I am looking forward to seeing great changes with each of the clients here as they learn and grow, and just having new adventures.”
– Jessica L., Community Resource Worker


Cieran R., PACE Team Client
Cieran R., PACE Team Client

I joined Toastmasters, and I think that it is a really good place for me to be. I’ve gotten pretty good at  it [public speaking]. I am mostly looking forward to working on writing creatively. I like writing stories.”
– Cieran R., PACE Team Client


Client Success: Eileen McLachlan

South Team client Eileen McLaughlin is recognized by her manager at Canyon Meadows GoodLife Fitness.
South Team client Eileen McLachlan is recognized by her manager at Canyon Meadows GoodLife Fitness.

South Team client Eileen McLachlan is celebrating a proud anniversary this year; she has just reached her 12th year as an employee with GoodLife Fitness.

In her role at the Canyon Meadows location, McLachlan is described as diligent, positive, and enthusiastic when it comes to her work.

Kelsi Foreman, general manager at the gym, has worked alongside McLachlan for the past year, and said she feels it is “an honour” to be her co-worker.

“She is a light in our club,” Foreman said. ” I have seen so much growth in her ability and willingness to learn and adapt. Our club would not be the same without her.”

Community Resource Worker Diwani Tan Aparis said that working with McLachlan is fun and fulfilling. “I admire her desire and love for work,” she said.

“Her positive attitude, dedication, and hard work have garnered her lots of praise.”

A Spooktacular Time at the DDRC

During the last week of October, clients and employees worked scarily hard to decorate doors in the building for Halloween! We were also thrilled to have a number of people around the office dress up for the day!

Take a look at some of this year’s best doors and costumes, if you dare:

Another Wonderful DEAM

We are thrilled to say that this year’s Disability Employment Awareness Month was a huge success! With a variety of great events focusing on the importance of inclusive employment, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

Among the events was the DEAM Employer Awards, which recognized local businesses and corporations for their inclusive hiring practices. We were excited to see 120 guests at the event!

The DDRC was proud to nominate three businesses:

Men in Kilts
Canyon Meadows Golf Club
United Active Living Communities

Men in Kilts sent us the following message:

“I wanted to reach out and formally thank you for nominating Men In Kilts for a DEAM Employer Award. It was truly a great honor to be in attendance with all those great employers. It was exciting to see the number, size and diversity of businesses at the gala. Overall the event left me with a great sense of pride in what’s been accomplished so far, but also hopeful and excited for the future. Thank you again.”

Take a look at the images below to see some of this year’s DEAM highlights:

Client Success: Stephen Whiteside

Stephen Whiteside shows off his selections for Chapter's "Staff Picks" table.
Stephen Whiteside shows off his selections for Chapters’ “Staff Picks” table.

Not everyone gets to work at their dream job, but South Team client Stephen Whiteside has been in his dream job for nearly two decades.

As an avid reader, working at Chapters was a natural fit for Whiteside, who has been at the Macleod Trail location for about 18 years now. Recently, he hosted his own “Staff Picks” table, where Chapters employees get to select a number of their favourite books, and put them out on a table as a recommendation to customers. Some of the selections from Whiteside include parts of the series for Wonder Woman, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Star Trek. He said that he hopes readers who visit the store will enjoy these books as much as he did.

During his breaks and after his shift, it is not unusual to find Whiteside browsing the store to find his next title for the “Staff Picks” table.

Computer Literacy Course comes to DDRC

The DDRC has partnered with Bow Valley College to introduce a computer literacy course to the our clients this fall, and we were thrilled to host a launch celebration in September!

The 12-week course focuses on supporting clients with relevant goals, such as finding community employment. Three Community Resource Workers from the PACE team act as facilitators, making sure learners are comfortable with the concepts taught by a Bow Valley College instructor.

Topics covered include basic computer functions, using the Internet, digital literacy, online safety, and commonly used computer programs. Learners are also shown how computer skills can help them with employment – searching for a job, writing a cover letter and résumé, applying for a job by email, and more.

Bow Valley College’s Bernice Gowan believes that clients will benefit from being part of an organization that is “literacy friendly.”

“Literacy is about belonging. It’s important at home, at work, and in the community,” Gowan said.