Harbourview Training Center in Souris is a non-profit organization that has worked with adults with intellectual disabilities since the 1970s. Harbourview promotes inclusion in the community and helps clients develop a greater sense of independence and confidence.
Services include vocational training, on-site employment and job training, and a broad range of supports for clients. They operate year round, five days a week.
Presently, Harbourview has more than 33 clients. Executive Director Judy Hennessey says the most rewarding part of the job is seeing clients becoming empowered and proud of their workspace and what they have created.
Community involvement is paramount for them. “We work with Holland College to bring their students into our facility,” says Judy. “We partner with the Souris High School Leadership class to help our clients participate in activities set up by the class. We are always looking to place clients into the community to work and we also have projects done on site.”
Hiring needs and process
“We currently have 13 staff ranging in age from under 30 to over 60,” says Judy. “Over the past three years, we gained some new staff to serve new clients who need specialized support systems. Hiring needs are typically based around the needs of clients.”
“It is definitely beneficial for staff to have taken the Human Services program at Holland College. We don’t have any bilingual staff, but a student who speaks French and English would be an asset in the operation of our ice-cream shop on the Souris beach in the summer.”
Judy asks those interested in working at Harbourview as a full time staff member or as a volunteer to drop off a resumé on site. Resumés are kept on file to fill an immediate need to hire someone to work with a new client.
“During the interview process, the board of directors and some members will usually be present. Applicants must also pass a background vulnerability check and police screening.”
Programs at Harbourview
The center offers three main programs: the Woodworking shop, Bakery, and Skills Enhancement Day Program.
The Woodworking program is designed to promote teamwork, wood construction, job-site safety, physical skills, employment skills, social skills, and problem solving.
“Our clients trace designs onto plywood, and use a jigsaw to cut them out,” says Collen McIntosh, who oversees the woodworking division. “The pieces are then sanded, primed and painted. We also strip and refinish furniture. Custom wood products are made in this area as well, with many of our seasonal wood creations going to local gift shops in the summer.” The crafts are also available for purchase at the Harbourview gift shop.
“Some clients can make a project such as a lobster trap from beginning to end by themselves. Others like to specialize in one task.” Arthur McKenzie is a long-time client at Harbourview. He takes great pride in doing the wood staining.
The Bakery produces fresh baked goods five days a week. On an average day, the bakery produces 12 dozen rolls, 10 dozen biscuits, at least two cakes, and 12 dozen cookies or cinnamon buns. During the 2017 Christmas season, they baked and sold over 160 meat pies.
“Clients bag and price the products, which are delivered to the Souris Co-op,” says Debbie Perry, who runs the bakery. Two days a week, the bakery also provides a hot lunch to the high school, which the clients help bag and deliver. In October, we start making mustard pickles, pickled beets and chow. The Lion’s Club buys 60 bottles to add to Christmas boxes for the needy. They also buy 120 dozen squares from us.”
The Skills Enhancement Day Program promotes individualized social skills, rapport building skills, personal care, community awareness, physical activity, and travel outings.
“We work on a lot of life skills here, and every day is different,” says Pricilla Gaudet Keenan, who runs the program. “On Tuesdays we do meal prep and serve lunch. On Wednesdays, we go to the high school. Some of our clients also do mail and flyer deliveries.”
For more information about Harbourview Training Center, contact Judy Hennessey at 902-687-3032. Visit www.harbourviewtrainingcenter.ca.