Summerside day program teaches people with disabilities new life skills

·2 min read
The Real Us was launched at the end of June. Clients learn things like resume building, budgeting or crafting. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC  - image credit)
The Real Us was launched at the end of June. Clients learn things like resume building, budgeting or crafting. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC - image credit)

A new day program in Summerside, P.E.I., is giving adults with intellectual and physical disabilities a chance to learn new life skills.

The Real Us was launched at the end of June. Clients learn things like resume building, budgeting or crafting.

Eight people have signed up for the program already, people like Garrett Martin.

"What I'm really hoping for is that they will, at least, find me a job. That's what I'm really hoping for," he said.

'Not just the disability'

Clients pay up to $50 a day to take part in the program. Amanda Birt is one of the founders.

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC
Sheehan Desjardins/CBC

"We focus on the individual and not just the disability. We tend to… want to encourage anybody to try to do their best, to basically be themselves, and who they truly want to be," Birt said.

"It doesn't matter if it's a mild disability, somebody who just can't read and needs some help with their GED, or somebody who needs some help finding a job and doing a resume."

But there's more to the program than learning. Spencer Bradshaw said he has made friends and enjoys spending time with them.

"It's fun here... I get to see everyone one whose here and draw," Bradshaw said.

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC
Sheehan Desjardins/CBC

Others, like Chase Noye, get to work on their communication skills. His mom Blye Perry praises the program. Without it, she said she wouldn't have been able to keep her job.

"It's been really really nice for him, that he actually wants to get up in the morning and go ... that really makes me happy, seeing that he's happy," said Perry.

The program is located in the basement of Central Street Christian Church in Summerside, where Robbie Sevilla is the pastor.

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC
Sheehan Desjardins/CBC

"Part of the church's vision is to try to serve the community, to serve others, and understanding how to use our facility well," Sevilla said.

"So when the Real Us came and asked us 'Is there a possibility that we could use the facility?' It was almost at the right time because we were thinking about how to do that for the community."

Organizers of the program say there are still seats available.

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