Teresa May (left)

Employment made accessible

Various agencies in the North Okanagan link employers with people wanting to work

Louise Cain has lower back and leg pain, as well as a learning disability.

“It takes me a bit longer to understand things and perform tasks and duties at work,” she said. “The pain means I can only stand for so long.”

Despite this, Cain is an active community volunteer, serving at the Upper Room Mission Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Cain took the Neil Squire Society’s Employ-Ability Program through Independent Living Vernon. She then teamed up with Community Futures North Okanagan for its employment assistance services.

Her end goal was to find a job, “I can do and my body is able to handle.”

She was looking for a role within a supportive team which would allow her to stay at the same job for a long period.

Abby Dental Care, owned by Dr. Blair Broaderip and Teresa May, has 13 staff. They were seeking a certified dental assistant, and after taking out an ad, were contacted by Community Futures which, in collaboration with Work B.C. and the Neil Squire Society’s Working Together Program, helped Cain secure a position with the clinic.

“I was actually looking for a job at a theatre when this position came up, and it sparked something in me,” said Cain, who supports the dental assistants by sterilizing instruments, cleaning up and offering general assistance when needed.

“It was something that I never thought about. I go around and help wherever they need help.”

May, the managing director, added: “Louise is a lady with the right attitude. She would put in extra effort and stay the course. There were moments of chaos where she could remain calm and she was able to take advice well and not as criticisms.

“Louise does not mind working hard. In fact, she feels that it makes time go by quickly. She is willing to learn. Just her willingness itself is a good attitude.”

So far, Cain has enjoyed her new work environment immensely.

“I always have new tasks to learn,” she said. “The other staff members are great to work with and I do what I can do to help them. Abby Dental Care takes the time to understand my disabilities and they help me to find better ways to do my tasks so it’s better for my body. They modify tasks so I can accomplish them.”

Added May: “There is always such a great feeling we get when we can give someone an opportunity, a small chance that could open a door of a greater dream. This program (Working Together) is amazing as it proves that accepting differences in people could make such a difference in our community.

“I am proud to have Louise working for us and know that this will be a long-term relationship.”

May is encouraging other businesses to learn more about the Working Together Program, noting can be beneficial to both the business and the employee.

“The name could not be more appropriate, it is about working together,” she said. “Together we are better.”

Cain is grateful for the opportunity and said it has had a positive on her life.

“Working has given me a great boost in self-esteem and I take pride in what I do,” said Cain, who thanked the Gateway Shelter, Upper Room Mission, Independent Living Vernon, Community Futures, United Way and the Neil Squire Society for all of their support.

“It’s like that saying: ‘It takes a community to raise a child.’ In my case, it’s taken a community to get me to this point in my life. The community has made me a better person.”


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