All-Round Support Changes Steven’s Life

February 3, 2021

Steven is someone who embraces life.

When he was 18 months old, Steven was diagnosed with significant hearing loss. At the age of 14, he moved from Vietnam to Canada. Prior to his move, he had no experience with the English language.

At his high school in Fredericton, Steven was described as a pleasant and cooperative student. He had successful co-op experiences. He worked as a floorwalker (new window), did custodial and maintenance work at a local gym, and spent a summer volunteering at a local bakery.

Steven holding up a small Canadian flag

Steven at his Canadian citizenship ceremony

Steven was also involved in extra-curricular activities, enjoying his time on both the football and rugby teams. He was also a recipient of the Fredericton High School Cultural Diversity Leader Award for Excellence in 2019-2020.

Steven’s family plays a large role in encouraging him. The combination of family and community support has been a key to his success.

When Steven graduated, his goal was to apply to a culinary arts program. During COVID-19, however, the delivery of the program he was interested in changed. Now it was largely online, and this wouldn’t be a good fit for Steven.

While he waited, he decided he wanted to work in a position where he could further develop his cooking skills. Neil Squire worked with an agency that focuses specifically on hearing loss to provide Steven with the best support possible.

Soon, a local restaurant that provides meals to the elderly and homebound expressed interest in interviewing Steven. This meeting, with social distancing and pandemic procedures followed, went well.

For Steven, this position doesn’t just mean an increase in employability – it also provides him with the skills he needs to get accepted into the culinary arts program, as well as an opportunity to upgrade his English language skills.

Steven’s employer says, “Can’t say anything negative about Steven – he’s been such a gem to us. We are really starting to see his personality shine as well. I’ve had a few cooks who are very much interested in being a mentor for him, so I suspect that will be a great relationship to pursue once we get our boots on the ground with these upcoming changes.”

Steven says the support he received from Neil Squire has changed his life.

Don’t be surprised if, in the near future, you walk into a local restaurant and see Steven behind the grill.