Mark Leblanc recognizes the importance of an inclusive society. He is the Executive Director of the Vestiaire St-Joseph (opens in a new window), a non-profit organization in Shediac, NB. The Vestiaire is a food bank that is funded through the operation of their retail store and has been in operation for over thirty years, serving 18 regions in the area. The food bank currently helps over 610 less fortunate individuals every month. They also operate a learning center that provides programs such as GED, a teaching kitchen, workplace essentials, and computer basics.
Mark hired two participants of the Working Together Program for summer employment. He says, “The hiring process went well, Neil Squire staff has the best interests of their clients in mind and therefore we have common goals. Throughout the process it has been a pleasure to partner with the society.”
One of the summer students Mark has hired is Simon. Simon learned about the Neil Squire Society from his high school in Moncton. He took part in the Working Together Program to learn how to create a resume, gain skills for job interviews, and land a summer job.
Simon has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (opens in a new window). He feels stressed if he is unsure of what is expected or if he does not receive clear directions. He likes to have things laid out and in order.
Simon really enjoys his summer job; he tests and repairs electronics which are donated to the Vestiaire and then sold in the store to support the food bank. In the fall, he will be going back to school and eventually graduating.
Although Mark has not had to provide workplace accommodations, he says, “No special requirements were necessary, but I do think it is important to mention that Neil Squire clients are a perfect fit for Vestiaire. We are a family oriented, teamwork-based organization with an understanding of those with disabilities or other special circumstances. We are quite adept to bringing the best out in most, regardless of limitations.”
Mark adds that the wage subsidy through Working Together was beneficial to the organization, saying, “The subsidy program has benefited Vestiaire greatly. As a non-profit we are limited to the cost of taking on further staff, even if we require more employees. In this case, we would not have been able to fund two staff. With the help of Neil Squire, these two young people have completed a lot of much needed work for the Vestiaire St-Joseph.
“I would definitely recommend the Neil Squire Society. I can see first-hand the difference that this organization is making directly through their clients and how our organization has benefitted. I would like to thank the Neil Squire Society for their dedication and hard work. Your organization is a bright light to the young people involved, providing opportunity and confidence.”