My heartfelt gratitude and appreciation goes to the extraordinary and remarkable Employment Services and Service Co-ordination staff at the Toronto location of Spinal Cord Injury Ontario (SCIO) who have forever changed and improved my life, and given me hope. Years ago, it was impossible to imagine how positively impacted I would be from the advocacy, assistance and support this fine workforce provides after an Ontario Disability Support Program caseworker pointed his finger to a list of not-for-profit organizations and directed me to 520 Sutherland Drive. Following two layoffs from a long-term position in a prestigious cultural institution, having numerous physical challenges and finding stable, meaningful and steady work was an overwhelming struggle. Although I became a client of countless social service and not-for-profit organizations over many years where courses and workshops were available to the physically disabled in preparation for employment, it wasn’t until I became affiliated with SCIO that words transformed into action.
My excellent, but urgent, medical and personal homecare support following a hip replacement infection and emergency laminectomy months later because I was unable to manage on my own, was due to the immediate attention, action and assistance of an exceptional, consummate and special Service Co-ordination team member.
I have faced multiple barriers to employment because of health-related adversities. Although searching actively for years, I was refused jobs because employers chose to only see disabilities instead of abilities. Last year, a superlative Employment Services staff member became my sounding board when circumstances were trying, and on a more positive note, my springboard to a better future. Thanks to his steadfast, unrelenting and continual support, I obtained casual, year-round employment in front-line customer service. Previously, he was also instrumental in helping me to acquire two seasonal positions with diverse organizations. I have subsequently gained new skills utilizing my professional and personal experience at every opportunity and in every employment environment. I truly love the work that I do which provides me with purpose, value, fulfillment and income.
In addition to helping clients with spinal cord injuries (and other physical disabilities) find worthwhile employment, thereby transforming lives from despair to dreams come true, the professionals in Service Co-ordination offer a variety of services tailored to meet individual needs. My future would be much poorer, and the quality of my life much diminished, without the ongoing efforts of every wonderful employee, in both departments, by whom I have been greatly touched. Please consider nominating Spinal Cord Injury Ontario for a most deserving donation. Thank you.
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