Kelly always wanted to work as a prep chef in a restaurant – it’s her dream job. For many of us, dream jobs may seem impossible to get, especially if you have a disability. Through the support offered by Causeway, and her hard work and determination, Kelly is one step closer to her dream with her new job at Pure Kitchen, a local vegetarian restaurant.
Working two shifts per week at Pure Kitchen in the dish pit, Kelly is flourishing and truly loves every minute of it. Tamara Kalnins, who supervises Kelly, encourages more businesses to use supported employment services like Causeway when looking to hire new people. She says that it’s an incredibly rewarding experience because you get to see their self-confidence as well as their smiles grow daily. It’s a chance for employers to provide such a meaningful opportunity for someone who otherwise would not get that chance because of their barriers. Kelly’s time at Pure Kitchen has been incredibly positive – as evidenced by the large number of friends that she’s made with their team of employees.
Kelly first became a Causeway client after hearing about the employment programs through ODSP. She had recently graduated from Algonquin College when her and her mother began looking for supportive employment programs that would help her find a job. According to Kelly’s mother, “one of the reasons they chose Causeway was because it takes a very holistic approach to finding a job with many supports…when you go to Causeway, the supports you are offered is remarkable, friendly and non-judgemental.”
Throughout her time in the Employment Supports Program, Kelly had a few barriers that she needed to overcome including her shyness. To help her gain a little confidence, Kelly’s job coach Rennatha suggested that she look for volunteer opportunities first to ease her into a working routine and challenge her. In the summer of 2016 Kelly began volunteering at the Parkdale Food Centre where, not only could ease herself out of her shell, but she could also gain valuable experience in the culinary industry. The call finally came one morning that Kelly was offered a job at Pure Kitchen starting with one shift per week.
Since beginning her job, Kelly has increased her hours to two shifts per week and continues volunteering at the Parkdale Food Centre. Through the tremendous support of Rennatha, the team at Pure Kitchen, and her own perseverance, Kelly is able to prove to herself, her family and friends just how capable and independent she is.