Rick and Chris make a great team. Rick guides Chris in his daily activities and three mornings a week, they are at Winnipeg Harvest, working in the sorting room. Chris communicates with Rick in a variety of ways which are difficult for others to understand, yet they have developed a fine way of knowing what is being “said”. Chris is a shy individual who relies on Rick as they work in the warehouse at Harvest among a large group of “sorters”.
Chris has had a difficult time finding work that he enjoys and is capable of doing. Rick says that it wasn't long after they started coming to Harvest, that Chris was excited about getting up in the morning and getting ready for the day. Rick says “When I tell Chris that we are going to Harvest today” Chris gets very excited and claps his hands.” Rick adds that Chris's other favourite job is working as a “cotton-picker” at the MTS Pioneers Club. The cotton is used in the manufacture of teddy bears, the ones destined for the “Teddy Bears Picnic”.
Rick shared a story about Chris; “Chris had ways of letting me know when he didn't like a job. He would not want to get up and would manifest unenthusiastic responses to the usual requests to get ready for the day. One thing I new was that Chris loves food. When the opportunity to work at Winnipeg Harvest came along, I thought maybe this would be a good fit. Sure enough, not long after we started working together at Harvest, Chris began liking the idea of getting up, having breakfast and preparing for work. Food and Chris, Chris and food, food and Harvest, Harvest and Chris, what a natural combination. For two years now Chris has been happy about work and his situation at Harvest. He enjoys the people here and fits right in. He has caught on to his job very well. I know this because he catches me putting items in the wrong place and corrects me with a grin on his face.” Rick speaks with a sense of pride and pleasure about the success of Chris's placement at Winnipeg Harvest. He indicates that the work in the sorting department fits Chris's motor skills and his personality. Rick adds that he has seen growth in Chris which has happened because he is content and confident in his job. “Chris's life at the group home has improved as well, since starting at Winnipeg Harvest,” Rick says with a smile. Chris has not had any serious incidents in over two years.
Rick is enthusiastic about Winnipeg Harvest. “I want to thank Harvest for the opportunity it has given Chris. My thanks also to Gary, the volunteer coordinator, who has learned to know Chris, has made it possible for Chris to work at Harvest and has taken Chris under his wing when I'm on holidays.”
All in all, the opportunity for Chris at Winnipeg Harvest has turned out very well. He fits in well, has grown in his personal life and contributes to the community life at Harvest. Thanks for all you are doing Chris and Rick, Winnipeg Harvest has an added dimension with you around.
May 29, 2008