New opportunities, new activities, new rewards
The Connecting Project
ConnecTra Society’s Connecting Project is helping individuals with disabilities become more involved in their own communities so they can take advantage of opportunities and lead more complete lives.
The Connecting Project offers one-on-one support for people with disabilities who want to explore work, social and leisure options. People like Simon Kok, 37, (left) who has cerebral palsy and has been trying to find work for years. Now, thanks to ConnecTra he is a ticket taker at North Vancouver’s Capilano University’s Blueshore Financial Theatre.
“I didn’t know if I would ever get a job,” he says. “Now I’m pleased and excited to be working. I’m going to be taking tickets and welcoming people. Thank you ConnecTra!”
Studies show that people who are active are healthier and happier – and that people with disabilities face many barriers to community participation, particularly in employment.
Since 1999, ConnecTra has been working with people with disabilities to overcome social marginalization. We quickly realized that the best way to achieve this was by working within the community, utilizing the skills and energy already in place - volunteers!
We link people like Simon, who could benefit from one-on-one support, with compassionate and informed members of their own community. In other words, participants with disabilities are mentored by volunteers – everyday people who believe in equal opportunities and have a talent for inspiring others.
With support provided by the BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation since October 2012, good things have happened! Within 18 months of initiating the project, more than 200 participants have been assigned to 88 volunteers.
What would you like to do?
Talk to ConnecTra about your personal goals and the changes you would like to see in your life. Working together, we might be able to help you overcome some of the barriers.
You will partner with a volunteer, if you want, who will help you find new opportunities and pathways.
Volunteers connect with local agencies that offer support and can help explore opportunities including: Job seeking, assistive technology, home adaptations, specialized computer equipment, low-tech assistive devices, community health programs and recreational options.
Participants are gaining knowledge, skills and experience. Nearly all have registered with Work BC and are seeking employment, and others are perusing leisure and volunteer opportunities – the first step towards employment.
The Connecting Project builds social connections.
Marginalization is an indicator of poor health. Creating opportunities and social networks can improve resilience and lift spirits.
Volunteer Adrian Marks, who has been working with Simon Kok alongside Community Connector Louisa Bridgeman, says Simon’s voluntary position has made a huge difference in how he sees himself.
“I can see just how much Simon wants to work,” said Adrian, “and how hard it has been to find something. It’s a great project.”
How do I take part in this?
Contact us. We will match you up with a volunteer who will work with you.
How do I volunteer with ConnecTra?
Tell us about your skills and background. We will ask you to complete a police criminal record check,and invite you to one of our weekly volunteer orientation sessions. (Volunteers are supported by Community Connectors who act as a bridge between participants, employers and ConnecTra.)
How does it work?
See what Vancouver Community Connector Sarah Lapp has to say.
Together we can: Simon Kok, volunteer Adrian Marks and Community Connector Louisa Bridgeman.
The ConnecTra Society thanks the British Columbia Ministry of Social Development for their ongoing support.