Alex was at a loss.
Another job had fallen by the wayside and he was unemployed once again.
With the high cost of rent taking all his savings, Alex was accessing Our Place for meals, programs and socializing with friends.
“I was getting fired a lot,” the Victoria native admits. “That was discouraging.”
But the reason for the firings was complex. At 33, Alex has been dealing with schizophrenia and severe anxiety for most of his life, plus the strong medication he’s on affects his memory.
“He was very confused on his medications,” says Ashley, job coach at Our Place’s Next Steps To Employment program. “Which made it very difficult for him to keep to a schedule.”
While a lot of people might give up and become a ward of the welfare system, Alex was determined to work.
“I like to work,” he says with a shy smile, his eyes darting up from his lap for the briefest of moments. “It keeps me distracted. Keeps my depression away.”
Having talked to an Outreach worker on the Our Place Drop-In floor, Alex was referred to Next Steps To Employment. Despite his anxiety, Alex gathered the courage to give it a try.
“He was motivated to succeed,” says Ashley. “Plus we empowered him enough to talk with his doctor and get the dosage of his prescription drugs lowered. It’s made a huge difference.”
Upon graduating the program, Alex landed a job as a dishwasher at St. Michael’s University School.
“They love him there,” Ashley adds.
The Next Steps To Employment program is unique in that once a graduate is employed, the program continues to work with both the client and the employer to work through any hurdles that may come up.
Now that he’s working a steady job again, Alex is working with Ashley to acquire new I.D. and a bank account so he can have direct deposit of his paycheques (and avoid the fees at cheque-cashing outlets.)
Without the financial worry of unemployment, Alex is also working on healthier ways to deal with his diabetes and social anxiety.
We are still pursuing sustainable funding for this vital program. If you can help, please contact Marg Rose at 250-940-5067.