Planting Seeds of Hope through Work
Many people might be surprised to learn that a big part of what we do at Our Place is nourishing change by supporting the people we serve – whom we call our family members – to find purpose and ways to contribute through teamwork, skills training, and employment.
Breaking barriers, building skills and preparing for employment is where Our WorkPlace comes in for those who need extra support starting out in the workforce again. Our WorkPlace offers a series of workshops for classroom learning opportunities, computers and digital job seeking, as well as one-on-one coaching in preparing to work, finding work and keeping work. Program participants learn everything from resume creation and job search skills to time management tips and ways to become a team player. People often start out again in the workforce by working in jobs around Our Place facilities.
The team at Our WorkPlace encourages people to develop their own voice, improve self-esteem and discover hidden talents and strengths, and that becomes the true definition of success. “When we get to see people evolve and step into their true potential it’s so rewarding for everyone. THEY do the work. They trusted us and then they’re on their way to a fresh start,” says Ashley MacDonald, Manager of Our WorkPlace. “It’s so inspiring to see.”
Work as Therapy
The power of work is also a significant component of the New Roads Therapeutic Recovery Community as residents discover new attitudes, values, and ultimately a new way of life on their journeys back to recovery.
“Work as Therapy is a program at New Roads that focuses on giving each resident an opportunity to contribute to the community living environment,” says Cheryl Diebel, Director of New Roads. “Residents learn valuable skills, and also have an outlet to balance the emotional therapeutic work that they are doing with a physical component at the same time.”
Consistent with the peer-supported approach, all residents are responsible for the daily operation of the Therapeutic Community. They do the cleaning, laundry, meal preparation, maintenance, schedule coordination, gardening, tend the chickens, and attend planning meetings. The jobs provide residents with opportunities for nourishing change through self-examination, personal
growth and skill development, as well as vocational and social skills that will last a lifetime.
Bob Frank, Manager of Facilities at Our Place, teaches the men to be part of an integrated team. “Through Work as Therapy, we watch the fellas participate not as individuals but as part of something much larger than they are. You can see them change in terms of giving of themselves, rather than looking for something to take. That’s evident on a daily basis.”
Peers Helping Peers
A huge asset to Our Place is our team of dedicated volunteers. Within that group of 300+ volunteers you’ll find a group called Peers Helping Peers (PHP), a program supported by Island Health.
Twenty Our Place family members commit to volunteering 10 to 20 hours a month. They serve many roles, mentoring fellow volunteers in such jobs as handing out hygiene supplies, sorting and distributing clothing, and serving hot beverages at the Coffee Corner at our Drop-in Centre. New volunteer opportunities are encouraged at other Our Place locations such as the New Roads Therapeutic Recovery Community and supportive housing sites.
The individuals who participate in the PHP program take pride in their work and feel valued because their effort is rewarded. Folks receive a monthly stipend that not only helps with their budgeting, but they also experience how the act of contributing to their community builds up their sense of self-worth, dedication, belonging, and hope. In many cases this also prepares these individuals for the work environment.
“I really enjoy the family members, that’s my number one draw,” says Dale, an active PHP member. “I’m here for them.” With 37 years sobriety under his belt, and a diagnosis of PTSD at the age of 50, Dale found comfort and stability at Our Place. “Staying loyal is a big one. I feel respected here… it’s like a big family. I’m very proud to be a part of it. I enjoy it and feel happy after each shift.”
“The minute Dale walks in the door he makes a true difference,” says Dawn Barr, Our Place Manager of Volunteer Services. “The weekly routine and the reliability that the Peers Helping Peers program shows folks helps them recognize their own value. We show them trust and respect, and that is key in helping them to see that change in their lives is possible.”
Our WorkPlace, Work as Therapy, and Peers Helping Peers are programs that allow those we serve to begin to thrive. When that seed of hope is planted, your donations are what make it possible to watch that seed grow. You help nourish this change in people who are so often overlooked. Please join us in nourishing change in people so that they can find pathways to better lives. Donate now to fuel change!