Success Stories

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Leanne

Leanne was referred to VIVRS through Canada Pension Plan Disability Vocational Rehabilitation Services. She had been told by her doctors that she would never work full-time again, due to Rapid Cycling Bi-Polar Disorder. For over ten years, she had attempted to go back to school, but had been unable to complete full or part time studies due to the unpredictability…  

Liam

When Liam first came to the VIVRS office he was very apprehensive about being involved in an employment program due to the anxiety associated with Asperger syndrome. Liam often felt like an outcast in social situations and had difficulty connecting with new people. His home was a safe, non- judgmental environment for him, one that he did not feel comfortable…  

OS

 OS is a young man with Down syndrome. He connected with VIVRS services through the EPBC program because he had limited exposure to employment. In November 2014, OS started participating in Customized Employment at VIVRS. He participated in the Discovery assessment and his employment goals were discussed and explored. Through the process of Discovery It became evident ...

AP

 AP is a 50 year old gentleman with mental health issues and a back injury. He registered with EPBC in August of 2012. He has been very adamant that he did not want to be labeled with a disability and wanted a real job without any modifications. He reported that he had been getting employment support from another agency however… 

MA

 MA is a young woman with cerebral palsy. She is in a wheelchair and she requires a Care Attendant. MA had limited exposure to employment. She has attended VIU, taking sociology and philosophy course and is currently taking the Applied Business Technology Program online through VIU. In March 2014, MA started participating in Customized Employment at VIVRS. She participated in… 

AM

 AM is a 46 year old woman with cognitive and physical challenges including arthritis. She has many craft skills such as costume making, reupholstering, knitting and crocheting in addition to extensive volunteering experience. Over the past 15 years AM’s work experience consisted of delivering newspapers. In March 2014, AM started participating in Customized Employment. The Discovery process allowed VIVRS to…
 

Anonymous

" I found VIVRS has helped me a lot, I have moved forward in my life because of VIVRS. They supported me through a whole process of finding work that would be good for me. They took the time to get to know me and help me find work that makes sense, and even continue to check to make sure it is the right fit.

The nice thing about working with VIVRS was they understood..."

Leanne

Leanne was referred to VIVRS through Canada Pension Plan Disability Vocational Rehabilitation Services. She had been told by her doctors that she would never work full-time again, due to Rapid Cycling Bi-Polar Disorder. For over ten years, she had attempted to go back to school, but had been unable to complete full or part time studies due to the unpredictability of her health. She embarked on vocational rehabilitation services with VIVRS with some trepidation, but was reassured by her counsellor’s encouragement and expertise.


Together, Leanne and her counsellor investigated her interests, and accessed the services of a neuropsychologist to determine Leanne’s abilities, learning style and areas of challenge. This information was very valuable in connecting Leanne to Disability Services once she began retraining.


Leanne discovered that her long-term interest in administration could be parlayed into a career, as long as she could update her skills through training. To ensure the best possible chance at success, Leanne’s counsellor at VIVRS ensured that medical, educational, counselling and community supports were available to assist Leanne in reaching her goals. Funding for training came from Canada Pension Plan Disability and Service Canada’s Opportunities fund.


Leanne attended post-secondary training and graduated with the highest marks in her class. Once qualified, she lined up a number of interviews for exciting, full-time positions. Leanne is immensely proud of herself for successfully completing her training. She recognizes the importance of her own commitment in getting her to this stage, but also credits VIVRS with providing the kind of support she needed in order to beat the odds and make her dreams come true.

Liam

When Liam first came to the VIVRS office he was very apprehensive about being involved in an employment program due to the anxiety associated with Asperger syndrome. Liam often felt like an outcast in social situations and had difficulty connecting with new people. His home was a safe, non- judgmental environment for him, one that he did not feel comfortable leaving.


To allay Liam’s anxiety, the VIVRS worker met with Liam at his home, until a trusting relationship had been developed. The employment specialist focused on being a calm, patient listener, and Liam was encouraged to share his interests. The worker listened to what was meaningful for him, rather than what she saw as being meaningful and this was pivotal because it created a sense of comfort for Liam, allowing him to express his true passions.


For many years, Liam has been teaching himself about Biology, from Skeletal Articulation to Zoology. He has collected the skulls of various bird and mammal species, and can eloquently discuss the uniqueness of each specimen. The Employment Specialist believed that Liam’s special talent in this area could be carved into a meaningful job. Through Discovery, a process of exploring Liam’s skills, interests and needs, a solid vocational plan was developed that reflected Liam’s uniqueness.


Although stereotypes exist around people with Asperger syndrome, there are employers who are aware that people with autism have valuable talents that can benefit their companies. As part of Discovery, Liam and his VIVRS worker visited the Museum of Natural History at Vancouver Island University. Liam had an instant rapport with the Lab assistant: a quiet, caring person ready to lend a little assistance when needed. Liam felt at ease with her and in the museum environment.


Liam began by volunteering at the museum, but when the department saw how beneficial his presence was, they worked with VIVRS to create a paid position for him. Liam works as an assistant, creating a digital inventory of the Museum of Natural History’s invertebrate collection. This was a project the Biology department had wanted to complete for years, but did not have the time or a student with the right skills. This position is a perfect fit with Liam’s interests and abilities.


As Liam has become known within the department, other professors have asked for his assistance, and he has been encouraged to work on a degree or audit their courses. Liam is enjoying his success, thriving in his work environment, and starting to make future plans. The confidence and self-esteem he has developed through this job and the EmployAbility program will support Liam in whichever direction he chooses for the future.

OS

OS is a young man with Down syndrome. He connected with VIVRS services through the EPBC program because he had limited exposure to employment.


In November 2014, OS started participating in Customized Employment at VIVRS. He participated in the Discovery assessment and his employment goals were discussed and explored. Through the process of Discovery It became evident how skilled OS was at playing the drums and operating machinery around his house despite limited vision. During the process he and his family discussed how his main goal was to work at Montana’s Restaurant as a dishwasher. OS repeated this desire many times.


VIVRS staff worked with Montana’s and arranged for him to do a work experience to gain some practical experience on site. He participated in this for a few weeks with onsite support and observation from the VIVRS Employment Specialist. OS was hired as a dishwasher because he enjoyed the work and demonstrated that he pays attention to detail. He was able to keep up with the pace of the restaurant. Negotiation began with VIVRS and Montana’s for them to hire OS for lunch shifts during busy times. OS is an asset to Montana’s and the staff reports how much they appreciate his work and overall demeanour.


 OS continues to receive onsite support from the VIVRS Employment Specialist.

AP

AP is a 50 year old gentleman with mental health issues and a back injury. He registered with EPBC in August of 2012. He has been very adamant that he did not want to be labeled with a disability and wanted a real job without any modifications. He reported that he had been getting employment support from another agency however all of the work was done in groups and this did not work for him.


While AP accessed services he began with ESC services for counselling, he participated in the workshops: stress reduction, anger management, health enhancement, self-awareness, increasing your self-esteem, planning and goal setting, resume writing and interview skills. AP gained insight recognizing that although he has always wanted to work he has a much better understanding of himself and now is able to meet and exceed his employment goals. In September 2014 he started working with a job developer where there was a focus on his experience and a specific skill set that he had to offer however the work environment and having a supportive manager was key to his success.


The job developer worked with the Janitorial Manager at the Casino and A was interviewed for a full time janitorial position in November 2014. The job developer continued to work very closely with the manager and eventually the opportunity was confirmed. A began his first shift February 5, 2015. A received financial assistance for his work clothing, BC ID, and food vouchers. A has reported that when the original idea was presented he was very hesitant because there seemed to be too many barriers which he had identified, however he said that he trusted that the job developer was indeed working on his behalf. Now, that he is working he has stated that this job was a perfect match, he had no idea how he would fit in, how the jobs would be shared and he would be part of a team with a very supportive supervisor. All of his worries are gone and he is very proud of being employed with a company that respects their employees.

MA

MA is a young woman with cerebral palsy. She is in a wheelchair and she requires a Care Attendant. MA had limited exposure to employment. She has attended VIU, taking sociology and philosophy course and is currently taking the Applied Business Technology Program online through VIU.


In March 2014, MA started participating in Customized Employment at VIVRS. She participated in Discovery assessment and attended Job Club workshops. During the process, VIVRS arranged for her to volunteer at the Art Council to gain some practical experience in the admin support field. She participated in this for 4 months while she continued to access workshops at VIVRS such as effective communication and time management skills. Then, her Employment Specialist sought a job carve that would enable her to develop and utilize her training. A position was negotiated at the Nanaimo Art Council with the assistance of a wage subsidy through the Neil Squire Foundation. This is an Admin Support position which involves organizing files, developing a staff and volunteer manual, various types of data entry as well as social media responsibilities. Specific adjustments modifications and aids were required: her physical work space had to be adjusted to accommodate her wheelchair and her work dog. Support and teaching was required for communicating with her supervisor effectively. Neil Squire Society provided her with other aids such as head phones and a smaller key board. MA received job coaching that allowed her to succeed during her training period. Job retention services are in place and her job coach continues to meet with her once a week to ensure all is well. This has been an amazing opportunity for MA as she is developing the ability to be as independent as is possible. Her world has expanded and her network of acquaintances has increased; and she feels hopeful for a productive future.

AM

AM is a 46 year old woman with cognitive and physical challenges including arthritis. She has many craft skills such as costume making, reupholstering, knitting and crocheting in addition to extensive volunteering experience. Over the past 15 years AM’s work experience consisted of delivering newspapers.


In March 2014, AM started participating in Customized Employment. The Discovery process allowed VIVRS to identify that one of her great attributes is her positive and cheerful attitude and excellent customer service skills. AM’s desire was to find employment other than delivering papers. AM participated in Job Club workshops while her Employment Specialist sought a job carve for her. She obtained a cashier certificate. Her specialist negotiated a job carve at Tim Horton’s as a Lobby Attendant. AM received financial assistance for the purchase of non-skid shoes that were required to start the job. Her specialist provided job coaching during her training period making sure natural supports were in place in the form of support from co-workers and supervisors. AM states it is wonderful to have a job that does not require being outside in bad weather, especially as she is ageing and the cold wet weather bothers her knees. She feels that this is more meaningful employment and she enjoys receiving a lot of positive feedback from her fellow workers and customers.

Anonymous

I found VIVRS has helped me a lot, I have moved forward in my life because of VIVRS. They supported me through a whole process of finding work that would be good for me. They took the time to get to know me and help me find work that makes sense, and even continue to check to make sure it is the right fit.


The nice thing about working with VIVRS was they understood that I had specific needs, and they took the time to learn about what was going to work for me. I didn’t feel any pressure to hide my needs or pretend that somethings aren’t a barrier. VIVRS staff understood and worked with what my needs were.


Working with VIVRS was supportive and encouraging, they guide you through a process of getting and keeping that job. They help me with communicating with the manager when I need to, after a while they fade into the background and the job becomes mine, but I always know they are there to support me when I need it.


I now have a job that is good for me. I enjoy the work, the people, the employers are nice, and we are all treated well. This is a great place, and there is potential to grow and learn more.


I am happy I got to work with VIVRS, I was supported through the whole process. I have gained more confidence, self-esteem, and I am more independent. I am more willing to go out and try other new things because of the support I had through VIVRS.

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