The Salvation Army and Community Living Comes Together to Break Societal Barriers

Thrift Store Front
by juneli
Categories: Divisional News

By: June Li

Finding employment can be difficult, but for those living with a developmental disability, the barriers to entering the labour market can be challenging. Historically persons with disabilities have been underrepresented in the workforce and research has shown that persons with disabilities have the highest unemployment rate.

To help break these barriers, The Salvation Army in Whitby partnered with Community Living Ajax-Pickering and Whitby to provide volunteer placement opportunities at The Salvation Army’s Thrift Store in Whitby. Through their hard work and dedication, individuals from Community Living are proving to their community that they are valuable members of society. “We have no idea what these individuals go through,” says Brenda Hornby, Salvation Army Thrift Store Manager, “It is a learning curve for us all, but the more we get to know these wonderful people the more we understand they are just that; people.”

The staff and patrons of The Salvation Army Thrift Store have observed how compassionate, kind and hardworking these volunteers are. “Kevin (a volunteer from Community Living) is one of the most wonderful people I have ever met,” says Brenda, “He is strong, kind, giving and above all, loves coming to help here at the store. He is a very hard worker and brings a smile to all our faces when he is here. I am so lucky to have had Kevin come into my life. I am a better person for knowing him.”  

When we open up opportunities to individuals regardless of their disabilities and focus on their abilities we can begin to move forward together as a society and create positive change. This partnership does just that.

“It is wonderful to see the growth in each person and the joy they have in their accomplishments at the Thrift Store,” says Betty Eteli, Support Worker with Community Living, “Opportunities like this help people with barriers to gain employment while also educating the community the great skills and work ethic they bring to the workplace. These partnerships also help promote our shared vision that we all belong in one inclusive community.”

“These are people who work hard, laugh, smile, cry and feel just like the rest of us,” says Brenda, “They bring a smile to my face every time I see them and I feel so blessed they were brought into my life.”