Kenny Nishimura helps Allen Blake play Christmas bingo during a recent visit to Fraser Hope Lodge. Tillicum Workshop clients visit the lodge every two weeks to participate in different activities with the seniors.

Providing a helping hand

Tillicum clients spend countless hours volunteering in the community

Tillicum has created a program that benefits both the community and the clients it serves.

As a project of the Hope Association for Community Living, it provides support for mentally and physically challenged adults residing in an area, from as far north as North Bend.

Clients can take part in a variety of activities such as games, crafts, computer training, bowling, swimming, shopping and camping. They also participate in creating a community calendar.

“We’re doing everyday life skills so that when they go out on their own they are able to integrate with the general public with confidence,” said Tillicum board president Sherry Vath.

“It’s continuous learning. There’s a social aspect as well. It’s a friendship builder and this friendship carries outside the program hours.”

Tillicum currently has 11 clients, 10 of which are funded by Community Living BC.

Recent cutbacks have meant that newcomers can only attend the facility on a part-time basis. Eight clients visit Tillicum five days a week.

Many of these individuals work in volunteer positions in the community as well, carrying out simple office tasks and cash transactions.

Placements include Pages Bookstore, Hope Community Services, Fraser-Cascade School District office, Grace Baptist Church, McDonald’s, and municipal hall. This year, clients also helped the Hope Legion deliver poppies for Remembrance Day.

“It provides them with skills, self-worth, independence, responsibility, and exposure to the community,” said program director Naomi Bergstrom.

The Tillicum program is run by a handful of staff and volunteers. It also receives community support for facility maintenance, everything from electrical and plumbing to yard maintenance and kitchen repairs.