Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/3/2012 (3440 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
AT 76 years old, Dorothy is still active and is very excited about her possible new job at L'Arche Tova Café in Transcona -- a new eatery staffed by people with developmental disabilities.
"I want to work at it waiting tables. Taking dirty dishes off the table," said Dorothy, whose surname cannot be published because she is a ward of the province.
Dorothy is developmentally delayed and needs help with day-to-day living. She lives at one of L'Arche Winnipeg's homes. L'Arche Winnipeg is a not-for-profit organization for people with developmental disabilities, who work at day programs run through L'Arche.
The café, which opens on April 3 at 119 Regent Ave. West, will be partially run by organization members with disabilities like Dorothy's, who will host, work in the kitchen and bus tables.
The café will break down stereotypes, said general manager Belinda Squance, and get rid of barriers between people with disabilities and the rest of the community.
"It will hopefully help people... focus on the abilities of all people in the community and they can see how welcoming L'Arche members are, and build a greater understanding and compassion," she said.
The café will not only be staffed by L'Arche members, but it will allow students with disabilities from nearby high schools to help in the kitchen as part of their work-experience program. "It's going to be a great feeling in the whole café with all these students, who are just lovely. I just adore them. I think you have to focus less on disability and more on ability, and they're going to find a lot of joy around them," said Squance.
L'Arche Winnipeg has 28 people living in six homes and two assisted-living apartments in the city. During the week, many work at various day programs in which they get a stipend to offset their government assistance.
"We want our members out in the public with people getting to know them," said Jim Lapp, executive director of L'Arche Winnipeg.
Before the café moved into the building, it was a motorcycle shop, which presented some challenges when renovating, said Squance.
The whole floor had to be ripped out and new plumbing put in, there were problems with the foundation, and a crane was brought in to install the new ventilation system. The extra work set the opening back about seven months.
But with the opening weeks away, Squance said all that's left to do are a few finishing touches and training.
"(Some staff) may not be able to do multiple things at once, but that's fine. We're building that expectation into everyone here," she said.
Lapp said they started planning for the café in 2006 -- he laughed that he's excited to celebrate with a cinnamon bun from the restaurant.
"I'm really looking forward to sitting down and having breakfast and a cup of coffee," Lapp said.
Dorothy said she is excited to serve customers and thinks the café will be a nice place to work.
"This is an attempt to get people to recognize that (people with developmental disabilities) do have gifts," said Lapp. "Our hope is that the café is a community gathering place for people from Transcona."