Every year, Causeway clients demonstrate remarkable dedication to achieving their employment goals. To recognize this, Causeway estblished the Denstedt-Williamson Client Award in 2006. The award was created in honour of the late Margaret Denstedt-Williamson, a long-time client of Causeway Work Centre.
The winner is nominated by staff and awarded annually to a current client who has demonstrated the following abilities over one year: overcome barriers and challenges in their life, reached beyond expectations, and worked with peers and Causeway staff to achieve goals.
Congratulations to all award recipients and nominees!
2018 – Kunal Haldar
2017 – Monica Martin
2016 – Erin Hogan
2015 – Anthony Knox
2014 – Christopher Sokulski
2013 – Jeff Wright
2012 – Mike Collins
2011 – Ryan Moore
2010 – Compton Newton
2009 – Daryl Massey
2008 – Tony Bonanni
2007 – Roy Kamieth
Kunal is a chemical engineer with a master’s degree and worked as a process engineer. Unfortunately, a car accident in 2010 left him severely injured, and he was laid off. It wasn’t until 2017 that he underwent knee surgery and could stand again. Right away, he started looking for jobs. However, without recent engineering experience, he knew he couldn’t apply for engineering job. In 2018, he came to Causeway and shortly after found a job at Walmart. He didn’t dwell on comparing his career as an engineer to his new job; he knew he needed to work right away to support his family. Walmart has also been incredibly supportive of his accommodations, and he feels comfortable in his position.
“The first day I started working, nearly all my confidence came back. Mentally and physically, I’m a different person now,” – Kunal
Past Winner Stories
For 30 years, Monica dreamed of working for Canada Post, but she never had the confidence to apply. With Causeway, Monica was able to work on her mental and physical health in the Wellness Gym and get the support she needed to find a job. “They support you in every which way,” she says, “I know they’re supposed to sort of be about getting a job, but a person is a whole person, [it’s] not just [about the] physical or emotional [parts].” In 2017, she had felt ready to apply for a position at Canada Post – and guess what, she got it.
“[It’s] so much fun. I would pay them to do this job. I swear!” – Monica
Erin HoganIn her own words, Erin was suffering from mental illness and poverty when she enrolled in Causeway’s Job Quest program. At first, she found two meaningful volunteer positions before finding a job as a salesclerk at Value Village in April 2016. At the time of accepting her award, she had been working there for six months, the longest position she had held in close to a decade. Since then, she has been promoted to Supervisor. According to Erin’s Employment Support Worker, Value Village loves her and doesn’t want her ever to leave!
Anthony was diagnosed with Paranoid-Schizophrenia and told he would never return to work or school again. For several years, he believed this to be true. But one day, he decided that he wanted something better for himself. With the support of Causeway, he works up to four part-time jobs at any given time. He says he still struggles with the effects of the medications and weight gain, but the more Anthony works, the better he feels. Since winning the client award in 2015, Anthony has enrolled part-time at the University of Ottawa.
Jeff had been in the Employment Supports Program since 2010 when he found a job at Ikea as a cart attendant. At the time of winning the client award, he had been working there for over a year and a half. Jeff considers himself lucky to have a job that he looks forward to waking up to in the morning. He is not only a true optimist at heart when face with a challenge, but he humbles others with his persistence and dedication to his employment.
Mike creates his own stability. He sets up a routine, controls his drinking, and wakes up every morning excited to go to work. At the time of winning the client award, Mike worked at Krackers Katering. “When I go to work, that’s where I shine,” he said. He loved his job and found meaning in the position.
“Now that I can give back, I’ll never be able to give back as much as I took, but now that I can, it helps me feel better too.” – Mike
By making a meaningful donation to Causeway, you can help other clients reach and surpass their employment goals.