Derek finds his voice and a new family at work

Having recently completed his classes at Saskatchewan Polytechnic (new window) in office administration, Derek needed a job.

derek-no-other-peopleDerek is 26 years old and was born with cerebral palsy (new window). While studying, he was referred to the Neil Squire Society’s Working Together program by the Moose Jaw branch of the South Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre (new window) (SSILC).

He had found the perfect fit — the Art Gallery and Museum (new window) in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. It was a mutual feeling for the employer.

However, one of the references called did not believe that Derek could handle the workload.

Fortunately, the Neil Squire Society and the SSILC showed them he could do the job well, and with proper supports would excel. The Art Gallery and Musuem decided to make the hire. Derek has not disappointed.

At first, the staff didn’t know how to support Derek and he wasn’t sure what kinds of accommodations he needed to be successful. Together, the entire staff and Derek, with the help of the SSILC and Neil Squire Society, learned together and found what he needed to do the job well. Before long, Derek found his voice and is now able to express his needs for accommodation.

Derek’s favorite part of his job is working with computer programming, accounting and greeting the visitors to the Art Gallery. He has become an important part of the workplace with his analytical mind, and is extremely detail oriented, honest, curious and very understanding. His co-workers commend him for his handling of constructive criticism and ability handling customers — giving detailed answers anytime anybody asks him a question.

When Derek doesn’t have something pressing to do he seeks out further work and has helped the curator measuring and weighing crates and has organized the whole resource center — something the museum truly appreciates.

“I now have confidence and am able to speak up for what I need in accommodation and it’s been quite good here,” says Derek. “I’ve learned so much.”

Derek has become not just an employee, but a part of their family. He has made fast friends with other staff members and both employer and employee state that this employment opportunity will last a long time — for as long as Derek wants it.