SSCOPE Inc. specializes in lawn care, with an emphasis on care.
Since 1991, the Winnipeg non-profit has provided gainful employment for people coping with and recovering from mental health issues.
SSCOPE (Self-Starting Creative Opportunities for People in Employment) averages 50 to 60 employee members per bimonthly payroll, with those workers performing such tasks as lawn mowing and trimming, fall cleanup and snow shovelling.
Right now, SSCOPE is offering an October "Clean Up-Out & In" special to its customers. For an additional $50, SSCOPE will remove up to 10 medium size and weight items from your property and take to them to the landfill or to Treasures, SSCOPE’s thrift store, located at 1466 Arlington St.
The organization is also offering to pick up your bagged yard leaves at a cost of $2 per bag with a $25 minimum.
Snow shovelling service starts Nov. 1.
"Our philosophy is to create employment for people with mental health issues, issues which can prevent them from working full-time or even part-time," says Bob Rempel, SSCOPE executive director.
"A lot of our workers are part-time and casual. That’s where we feel our niche is, as a place for people to get restarted in the workforce. People with mental health problems often have difficulty holding jobs and sometimes difficulty with just basic job functions. They can come to us, a more supportive environment."
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, the unemployment rate of persons with serious mental illness is reported to be 70 to 90%.
"When you’re struggling with some kind of mental health issue, it’s easy to get to a place where you can’t be at work," Marvin Thiessen says, SSCOPE operations supervisor.
"People here have had the experience where suddenly they’re hospitalized and maybe don’t even have an opportunity to communicate that fact with an employer. Or, maybe they’re just having a bad week with a depression or an anxiety matter. We’re a pretty compassionate and flexible organization. If somebody’s in a hard place, that doesn’t end our relationship with that person."
Michael Robert Jackson, 34, has been an employee member at SSCOPE for just over a year. He says the organization has been very "hospitable and accommodating."
"It’s terrific, a good social environment beyond the job too," Jackson says. "It’s very much keeping me out of trouble. When I’m busy working, I stay out of trouble. Also, it helps pay the bills.
"It’s a good stepping stone for me to move on with the rest of my life."
Whatever the task, Rempel insists that SSCOPE’s employee members do good work.
"We don’t want to demand the work, we want to earn the work," Rempel says. "We want people to say ‘Yes, I want to hire you guys again because you do a great job.’
"We get a lot of positive response. Yes, people give us a break, we understand that, it’s the nature of our organization, but I think a lot of the compliments we get are very real too."
For more information on SSCOPE Inc., go to www.sscope.org