Amanda Lind and Lenora Janzen are having lunch together. They chat about their families, their favourite activities and the things that have been going on their lives in the past week. Lenora examines Amanda’s lunch but declines Amanda’s offer to share her hummus, happily munching on the raw, un-dipped veggies she brought today. There’s genuine warmth between them, the result of a friendship that has been growing for just over a year.
Amanda and Lenora have come to know each other through the Supported Community Inclusion (SCI) program offered by Communitas Supportive Care Society. They spend time together doing various activities like going out for lunch or going for walks, visiting Lenora’s mom or volunteering at the MCC warehouse. The latter is one of Lenora’s favourite activities. They fold and sort blankets, prepare items for school kits or cut and fold layettes. Sometimes they have unique jobs like removing the patches from old uniform shirts that have been donated by the police department.
“We return the patches to the police so that they can reuse them,” Lenora explains.
Lenora is the youngest of six children. She was born in Yarrow but moved to Clearbrook (Abbotsford) with her family in the 1980s. She attends the Clearbrook MB Church and enjoys worshiping there. She shares a basement suite with a roommate, living just 4 doors away from the house she grew up in. Because Lenora lives with a developmental disability, she needs support in order to live the independent, active life that she enjoys. The SCI program enables her to do so.
Amanda has been working with Communitas for three years, first as a residential support worker and for the past year with SCI. She is a people-person and it is the relational aspect of her work that she most enjoys.
“I thrive on relationships and love helping people accomplish their goals, it’s very life-giving,” she says. “I love it that this program is focused around what people enjoy.”
Amanda works with other clients as well and also interacts with other care-givers in the community who are doing the same work with other organizations. Together they take part in activities like bowling or they might go on field-trips like riding the Sky Train or visiting places like Fort Langley.
Like any job, Amanda says there are good days and bad days. Sometimes it can be draining if a client is having a challenging day. But mostly, it is rich and fulfilling work – work that she believes almost anyone can do.
“When people say ‘oh, I could never do what you do’ I disagree,” she says. “You might be nervous but it’s really a matter of exposure. I forget the disability – it’s really more about personalities and connecting. At the end of the day, people with disabilities are just people. If you like people, then you can do this work.”
To learn more about Communitas and its support programs visit CommunitasCare.com