Krista “Gaining Independence” at Kids First Association

March 11, 2020

“Krista is a hardworking person who takes great pride in her work,” says Debby Turner, CAPC Coordinator at Kids First Association (opens in a new window). “She is kind and funny, which makes work enjoyable for all of us.”

“I feel proud to work at Kids First,” says Krista. “It is a great resource centre for kids.”

For Krista, autism (opens in a new window) means she has difficulties with social interaction and meeting new people, and at times even being around other people. However, she was ready to offer her skills to an employer in her community. That’s when she joined Neil Squire’s Working Together Program.

Krista at her new workplace with a colleagueKrista’s schedule is usually packed with groups, activities she likes, and people whose company she enjoys. This meant she only had a few hours a week to offer an employer.

At Working Together, Krista and her Job Developer discussed job readiness topics such as wellness, career exploration, employer expectations, and disability disclosure. They also researched local businesses in their area.

They narrowed down on Kids First Association, a local child and parent resource centre. Kids First learned more about Working Together and wage subsidies available through the program.

After reviewing Krista’s resume and completing an informal interview, Kids First hired her. Her desired hours worked well for the non-profit centre.

“Neil Squire’s Working Together Program helped the employer and the employee to find solutions,” says Debby Turner. “We are a growing non-profit and our needs were met with trying a new employee at no cost. I would recommend this program for any business to be more inclusive to members of our community who are looking for the right fit for employment.”

Krista was welcomed as a new staff member and given room and time to get comfortable with her work environment. One of her requests was a detailed list of her cleaning tasks, which her colleagues were happy to provide. This enabled her to complete her work with confidence.

When the wage subsidy ended, Kids First kept Krista on as a light duty cleaner. She says, “I love to clean – it makes me feel happy. I have met many new people, I am doing what I want to do and I feel I am gaining independence.”