Erin shines on the job

Erin (left) and her Employment Specialist, Rennatha. Photo by Michel Dupuis

My barriers were and are both physical and financial.  Before entering Causeway I had not worked for a significant period of time and it had taken a toll on me.  In 2007, I was suffering from mental illness and poverty and not sure if I had what it took to return to paid employment.  But, I knew I had some skills to offer along with a University degree.  Knowing that Causeway was a good fit for me, I began their 3 month Job Quest program with the hopes of finding something immediately.  I knew I was sick and had thought a job would change things for me.  Unfortunately, I left the program due to health issues.

Those days are in the past, but there was something invaluable about Causeway that had remained with me.  It was my character that was built up by the team then as they brought value to my skills.  I had to overcome personal difficulties and problems in my life, and succeeded.  In 2015, I was doing much better and went back to Causeway with a memory of hope they instilled in me.  I began with the Job Quest program and was able to find two worthwhile volunteer roles.  These positions allowed me to assist peers, and work on projects to help better the lives of others.  I made my way to the ESP program in 2016, as this route offered a longer period where I could job search.  The continual support they offered too was helpful and led to me landing some interviews.  The mock interviews were very helpful and helped me to answer silly questions such as what kind of animal I would be.  That one really made me think.

I began my journey as a sales clerk at Value Village since April, and this is the longest I have kept a job in a while.  Being in the employment support program has given me the chance to talk through some doubts about working and has helped me to retain my job.  Then I worked my way to an employment award that recognized me for my Ethics and Integrity.  Recently, I have begun supervisor duties and feel there is only much more to come for me.  I no longer felt helpless about finding or keeping a job.

Since my beginnings I have found Causeway to be much more than an employment centre. I would like to thank Causeway again for working with me and for helping me feel like a valuable member of the community.  It has made a strong impact in my life and empowered me to handle life’s circumstances better.  I would recommend their services to anyone as they give their time to their clients generously and it is an organization worthy of esteem in all workplaces.  I hope my story has been a source of inspiration to everyone here today and please share it with others.  And if you see me in the Resource Centre or around Causeway, I am always here to help.  It can be difficult to overcome a barrier, but not impossible.  Barriers may always be in my life, but are much more manageable with the job skills I have gained at Causeway.

Your support can help people like Erin find their voice and achieve their goals.