by Stella Shepard
The Adventure Group Inc. provides customized services to help clients build a solid foundation that includes stable housing, childcare, employment skills, self-confidence, financial literacy, a strong social network, and a supportive family.
The Adventure Group works with clients using an adventure based “learning by doing” approach, which fully involves participants in the experience. Sessions are held in Charlottetown and in Montague.
Prosper East is delivered by The Adventure Group and connects employers with job seekers in Agriculture, Tourism, Fish Processing, and Construction.
This program offers a group-based employability skills program and/or one-on-one on-going employment coaching and mentoring.
Prosper East is for individuals 18+ who are receiving Income Support and/or disability supports, as well as Employment Development Agency and Immigrant and Refugee Services Association of PEI clients.
The seven-week program supports individuals who are unemployed or underemployed to transition into the workforce, specifically into sectors that are experiencing labour shortages.
Participants have access to a job coach who helps identify barriers to employment and the resources to address those barriers. The job coach also helps with navigating the transition to employment.
“We look to meet the needs of participants, work collaboratively, and build solid partnerships in the community,” says Roxanne Carter Thompson, Executive Director of The Adventure Group.
The participants of the Prosper East program celebrated their success at a ceremony held at Lanes Riverhouse Inn, Montague.
“Seven weeks is not enough time for the program, as it only scratches the surface,” says Roxanne. “I would like to see the program extended to at least 10 weeks because it provides a safe environment to learn leadership skills, develop goals, be challenged to achieve success, and to find a work passion.
She asked participants to think about what their 80-year-old selves would say to them. “Life is short. Find a job where you love going to work every day. It’s the next chapter in your life.”
The Prosper East program helped Kelly Arsenault embark on a self-discovery journey and explore what was missing in her life.
“I have a better understanding of who I am because of the guidance of the program,” says Kelly, who was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. “It hasn’t always been an easy journey. It’s raw and it’s real to go through a self-examination of your life.
“I thought at 44 years old, I’m done. And now because of the program, I have control over what I want to do with my life. I have been in therapy since I was six years old, and I never received nearly the quality of help that I received in the seven weeks of the Prosper East program.”
Kelly suggested the program should be part of the school curriculum to better prepare students for the realities of life outside of their control.
“I was a hairdresser for 15 years,” she says. “I am now taking steps towards finding employment with a goal of a future career in the medical field. The honesty, respect, and fellowship of the participants with similar pathways and the guidance of the staff gives hope for a better future for all of us.”
Courtney Ferguson is celebrating the positive changes she has made in her life because of completing the Prosper East program.
“I faced the demons of the past with confidence, and I now have a brighter future because of this program,” says Courtney. “I made peace with my past and I am ready to move on.”
In 2011, Courtney was diagnosed with a post-traumatic stress disorder, which made securing employment a challenge. She is raising two children, ages eight and six, on her own. She moved the family from Charlottetown to rural PEI four years ago and has maintained sobriety.
“The program gave me the confidence to learn to drive and get a driver\’s license, and I just bought a car. My children are growing up in a safe environment.”
Courtney plans to eventually enroll in a post-secondary program with a career goal of becoming a youth worker.