Communitas Social Enterprises consists of two social enterprise businesses: ShredMasters and ValleyRecyling, serving the Fraser Valley.
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ShredMasters and ValleyRecycling are part of Communitas Social Enterprises (CSE), which offers employment and training to individuals with developmental disabilities, mental health challenges or acquired brain injury. Our Social Enterprises have been providing top quality services to the Fraser Valley since 1992. CSE recognizes the impact that employment plays in the quality of life for any individual. We want to create an environment where individuals with disabilities are paid real money for real work and at the same time surrounded by the supports that they need to be successful.
Tamara describes herself as friendly, thankful, positive, silly, shy and perseverant. She loves family and friends, animals, travel, music and experiencing new things. Tammy is a hardworking person who is currently employed at ShredMasters.
Tamara lives with schizophrenia and has bouts of anxiety and depression but she does not let this define her. For Tamara, reaching out for support from others has helped give her hope and courage. She has been with the organization since February 2014 and says that having meaningful employment is vital to mental wellness.
“Work gives me purpose,” she says. “I’ve been here a year and a half now and it took me a long time to believe in myself again. I’ve never done anything like this work before but I love it.”
Although she’s struggled with anxiety and depression while participating in the program, she’s learned that she’s not a quitter, that she’s stronger than she thought she could be. Having a community of support is also important.
“I have professional support: a good psychiatrist, family doctor, social worker at the mental health centre and family and friends,” she says. “I feel hopeful and thankful for the people who have taken time to support and help me.”
When asked what she would like people to know about living with mental illness, she says that it’s an illness like any other.
“With a healthy lifestyle, treatment, medication, support and hope, we can recover,” she says. “We can lead happy meaningful lives.”
And for those who are wrestling with mental illness themselves, she encourages them to seek support. “Reach out, hold onto hope and never give up!”