Opportunities to Grow
Claudette could sum up her 27 years with Communitas in one word: growth.
Her journey with Communitas began as a residential support worker. She had been a stay-at-home mom but as her children grew to be more independent, Claudette decided to return to the workforce. A friend at church suggested she check out Communitas (then called MCC Supportive Care Services).
“I came in for an orientation and it all just felt so natural,” she remembers.
She grew into her work slowly, working in various programs and residences. Some of the work came naturally, some aspects were challenging but the one thing that remained constant wherever Claudette served is the way she sees people.
“I see all people as so much more than their limitations. To me, people are people.” – Claudette, Communitas staff
In 2003, she became the manager of the Choices and Connections (CAC) one of Communitas’ longest running programs. CAC is a leisure, recreation and activity day program where participants can develop meaningful relationships with their peers and participate in community based activities. While CAC participants need support and care, they are all quite independent and enjoy the opportunity to contribute to each other and to their community. When Claudette began, the program was housed at the Communitas provincial office building in Abbotsford.
“The people we served at that time were very active so we were really outgrowing the space at the office,” she says. “I remember praying with our volunteers for a home with a yard.”
That prayer was answered and CAC moved to its own home with several rooms and a yard, giving participants more flexibility for various activities and spaces to which they could retreat when needed. Claudette continued to grow into her role and has found that her work truly suits her. She expects a lot from the people she serves and they always rise to her expectations. At the same time, she also expects a lot of herself and her staff and she has learned a lot about herself in the process.
“I have learned to be more flexible and to let things go,” she says. “I’m continually challenged and that’s a good thing.”
She has also had opportunities to witness the growth of those who are served by CAC. As participants have felt encouraged, accepted and loved, they’ve recognized the program as a safe place to explore their strengths and learn the skills they need to interact appropriately with one another.
“I’ve been honoured to see the continued growth in the lives of the people we support,” she says.
Claudette has observed that the people she serves genuinely care for each other, feel deeply and are quick to forgive. CAC provides many opportunities to practice relationship and learn new skills.
“There is lots of grace here,” she says.
And lots of opportunities to grow.