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Serving with Love and Respect

Astina has traveled a long way from home to use her gifts and skills to serve others. She hails from Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia where she has served people in various ways with organizations like SightSavers and Habitat for Humanity Zambia. As a trained and experienced social worker with a degree in Public Administration, Astina has dedicated her life to supporting others, not only at home but here in Abbotsford, BC where she is supporting people who live with developmental disabilities.

Astina (centre, with Linda (left) and Claudette) is a service worker with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). She has been to Canada before, working as an MCC volunteer in Saskatchewan supporting children from troubled homes. Today, she serves at Choices and Connections (CAC) a program of Communitas Supportive Care Society, which provides opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to create meaningful relationships, learn new skills and contribute to the community. It is work that Astina loves to do.

“Just seeing the smiles of the people we serve at CAC brings joy to me,” she says. “Seeing their growth and enjoying the activities we have makes me happy.”

Each day at CAC is a little bit different. Astina prepares class time materials, craft activities and does baking and cooking with participants. She also supports the program with administrative tasks. Claudette, the manager at CAC, says that Astina was accepted by participants right from the start.

“Astina brings a peaceful and calm presence to CAC,” Claudette says.

Her experience at CAC fills Astina with joy. She appreciates how much her life is enriched by her interactions with the participants in this program. She hopes that society can come to a place where people of all abilities are valued.

“I wish people would understand that people living with developmental disabilities have the potential to live happy lives right in their own communities and deserve to be treated with respect,” she says. “All they need is some support to help them live to their full potential.”

Astina is grateful for the opportunity she has been given through MCC to work at CAC.

“The people we serve are so great. All they need is for you to give them your full support and understanding and they will love you back with respect,” she says.

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