We asked Greg Labine, who participated in our pilot study, to detail his observations of the Employment Mentorship Support Project process.

 

In his own words:

My name is Greg Labine and I am living with muscular dystrophy and use a wheelchair for mobility all the time. Having a disability of this nature creates quite a barrier when it comes to finding employment.

There are not only physical barriers but also one must deal with the constant stigmas out there. I was unemployed for several years and I had very low self-esteem while trying to survive off disability benefits.

My years of unemployment seemed to drag on far too long and I tried many different avenues to get a job, until finally one day I was offered support by a Community Connector with the ConnecTra Society. She was overseeing the Burnaby district where I lived and she provided me with a one-on-one volunteer who got me registered with WorkBC.

The volunteer and I met each week and he assisted me in my job search. After a few close calls, I was offered the best opportunity I could imagine, which was to become a Community Connector. They believed in me when no-one else did, and they saw that I had the skills to be part of their team.

I worked part-time for ConnecTra for nine months and met many inspiring individuals who helped me to improve and grow in my new role. My confidence grew in leaps and bounds and I made connections by networking and attending meetings and events. My evident success as a Community Connector afforded me a new found optimism and as my skills grew I knew this was not the end of the line, I would continue to grow and succeed.

I ended up landing a full-time job with the Individualized Funding Resource Centre Society as office manager, which I have now being doing very successfully for more than a year.

It is because of ConnecTra, the program, the people running the program and fellow team members that I was able to build enough confidence and believe in myself enough to be where I am today.