Throughout October our government has highlighted the contributions of people with disabilities to Manitoba’s workforce.
In celebration of Disability Employment Awareness Month, I was happy to visit Self-Starting Creative Opportunities For People in Employment’s (SSCOPE) thrift store on Arlington Street.
SSCOPE is a non-profit organization that helps individuals dealing with mental health issues to develop their working skills in the community. For over two decades, SSCOPE has created partnerships with home and business owners, non-profit agencies and community groups to help provide meaningful employment and volunteer experience for their members.
In a supportive environment, participants have the opportunity to develop their skills and build up their sense of dignity and self-confidence. Members take part in individual and group projects that help renew their social skills, develop stronger social networks and contribute to their community in a positive way. In an average two-week period, SSCOPE works with about 60 employees.
SSCOPE specializes in year-round property maintenance services, including lawn mowing, hedge trimming, and spring and fall cleanups. They also offer moving, pickup and delivery services, general labour and cleanup services as well as operate a thrift store. Our Point Douglas constituency office uses SSCOPE’s services to maintain our yard and clear snow in winter.
During our visit to SSCOPE, executive director Dan Ingalls shared a member’s story of success. Yvette had struggled with mental health for years. As a member of SSCOPE she recognized her need to start out slow and began with yard work. Over a period of five years, she moved on to data entry and selling books online, and then to answering phones and office work. This year she has been accepted at the Winnipeg Technical College for the Business Administrative Assistant Course. Congratulations Yvette!
Creating opportunities and improving access to training for people with disabilities unlocks their potential to contribute to the community and create a stronger workforce. Where others see hardship and challenge, SSCOPE sees possibilities. As Dan told us, their work "creates exceptional solutions for exceptional people!"