Kade Towes

Kade Towes

NONA’s Odd Job Squad builds support

Clients who benefit from autism services are helping a new facility move forward

Some of the same clients who will benefit from a new building dedicated to those with autism are pouring their hard work and sweat into the foundation.

The Odd Job Squad has been hired to work on site with contractor SilverRock Land Corporation to help out with the construction of the new clubhouse (which is currently being fundraised for). The squad is made up of six individuals with autism between the ages of 13 and 17 through the North Okanagan Neurological Association.

“It’s kind of neat that they are part of building our foundation,” said Rebecca Kerr, NONA’s autism services program supervisor. “It’s kind of symbolic.”

SilverRock is happy to bring the young crew on board and give them some valuable experience.

“They’re getting involved right from the ground floor,” said Brent Ree, SilverRock owner. “They’re doing great.”

Doing everything from stripping forms to stacking lumber, the Odd Job Squad has been working hard to get the job done.

“It’s exhausting,” said Tristan Evensen, following a morning shift on the site.

On top of the experience, the opportunity these young adults are getting is helping them in so many ways.

“It’s just so exciting for the opportunity,” said mom Sharilyn Toews, while watching her 15-year-old son Kade on the job. “It’s a self-esteem booster. And as a parent it gives you the hope that people believe in him.”

This is the second year the Odd Job Squad has been out working in the community and it is hoped that more businesses will have some odd jobs which they could hire the crew to do for them.

“The more things they have on their resume the better,” said Kerr, adding that the crew is very hard working.

NONA’s vision is that all people will be recognized as valued and contributing members of their community.

Unfortunately, the statistics show otherwise.

“The unemployment rate of individuals with autism is more than 90 per cent,” said Kerr.

As a result, staff work with them to create resumes and cover letters, set up a bank account and undergo a formal interview.

“We work on all these skills in theory and they actually have to put these skills in practice,” said Erin Hutton, a behavioural consulting program supervisor who oversees the autism over 13 program.

“It’s a stepping stone for lots more opportunities,” adds Kerr.

The Odd Job Squad is grateful for all the support so far, including the donations of hard, gloves, vests and safety glasses from B.C. Fasteners and hammers from Fishers Hardware and Surplus Herby’s.

Anyone interested in hiring the Odd Job Squad can call NONA at 250-549-1281 and ask for Rebecca or Erin.

Those also interested in helping fundraise for the new clubhouse can call NONA at 250-549-1281 or check out www.nona-cdc.com