Tillicum Centre is a life skill, job readiness, recreation program based in Hope that provides support to people and their families living with disabilities. The day time program offers a unique setting, where participants can actively engage in recreational and skill-building activities that help to improve their quality of life, while helping to instill work skills and habits that cross over into job opportunities, and encourage a higher level of self-sufficiency.
“I love it here, especially the staff members — they are very good to us,” said Ionela Garrett, a client at Tillicum. “We always have a lot of fun.”
The program gives opportunities to individuals who are able to work in a professional setting, and in programs like Lunch with the Bunch.
Rona currently employs four Tillicum clients and Hope Garden Centre employs three individuals — there are also a couple of individuals who do yard work at The Grace Baptist Church.
“There are currently 16 individuals in the program —and some of them work outside of Tillicum for a few hours each day, and others do in-house work,” said Program Coordinator and Staff Member Naomi Bergstrom. “One of the most challenging things is coordinating schedules.”
Certain clients at Tillicum have to be accompanied by a staff member to job sites, and that can be tricky when managing the Centre and providing proper in house supervision for daily operations with 15 other people to look after.
All individuals are compensated for the work they do with the Centre’s ongoing bottle recycling, and fridge seal making programs.
“They get paid for the work they do, and we help them to account and manage the money they make with ledgers,” said Bergstrom.
“They have extra money for outings, lunch, movies or whatever they want — it gives them a sense of independence.”
Fostering a good work ethic and a level of self-sufficiency is an important part of Tillicum’s work, as well as providing a fun, socially engaging atmosphere, where clients can feel at home, play games and enjoy each other’s company.
“Our clients are all at different levels, and we have to work within that framework — it’s about providing a quality of life for these individuals,” said Bergstrom.