Co-workers step in to make a dream come true
Friday May 20, 2011 — Ryan Rogers
Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) day program support worker Jill Rowan with says helping the people she supports find their potential has been encouraging and rewarding.
“It’s very incredible and very exciting,” says Jill. “It definitely makes you want to get up and come to work and see what new surprising thing is going to happen.”
Jill usually works in a group with two or three people, but a rare opportunity for one-on-one time with one woman named Betty transformed both their lives.
In their time together Jill learned that Betty had some high school work experience at a coffee shop.
“We wound up at a Starbucks and we were talking about employment and what that would look like, and at the next table, it just so happened, was the manager for the area and the manager of that Starbucks,” says Jill.
The managers told Betty about a position for a café attendant designed to make the Burnaby area more inclusive, and it led to Betty getting the job.
Jill says her co-workers were instrumental in helping Betty develop skills for the job, by helping Jill with some of her duties so she and Betty could focus on training for the care attendant position.
“We’re really encouraged to look for people’s potential, and once we get an inkling of something, we’re fully supported to go out and fulfil it,” says Jill. “My co-workers really stepped up to help make it happen.”
Betty learned how to use the transit system and perform the duties expected of her by practising in a mock-Starbucks in the cafeteria at the BACI offices.
“We’re still developing those skills. She’s been there for a year and a half,” says Jill, adding that Betty’s learning to be more outgoing and start conversations.
It’s changed her life in a “big way,” says Jill, adding that her parents are very proud.
Betty and her parents immigrated from China where, Jill says, “working at Starbucks in China is right up there. It’s a big deal.”
Jill says Betty’s parents are proud of her, and her employment is “beyond their wildest dreams.”
“I have never had an experience in my life like I’ve had with listening to the parents and Betty,” says Jill.
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