Mentor program helps promote employment

NANAIMO – Program helps people with disabilities learn from experienced professionals as they work toward their careers.

Residents of Nanaimo who have disabilities will have the chance to learn from experienced professionals as they work toward  careers.

The Mentor Ability is a national initiative which promotes employment of people with disabilities. Joanna Steele, a participant in the program, wants to work with children and is getting experience in that regard.

“I like how I can help them develop in learning and stuff like that and basically, I just love kids, always have,” Steele said.

She has been paired with Scott Bradford, executive director of the Nanaimo Child Development Centre, with the assistance of the Nanaimo Association for Community Living, and Bradford said Steele will work with the child youth and development team and with the centre’s preschool.

He interviewed her and was impressed.

“She’s a great lady,” said Bradford. “She understands what the CDC is all about and she wants to give back to her community, but she would also like to find employment. Anything we can do to help in that regard … we’re happy to support her.”

Steele said she hopes that her work with the child development centre will enable her to work with children the right way.

“I hope to learn how to work with kids properly and [hear Bradford’s] ideas as well and to learn to actually work with other people in a job setting situation,” Steele said.

Bradford said he is hoping this will lead to a continuing position and hopefully a paid position.

“We’ll see how that goes, but that’s what we’re working on,” Bradford said.