by Dara Watson
My name is Dara Watson and I live in Dawson Creek, BC. Employment is an important part of my life because it gets me known in the community. Being part of the community and the workforce has helped towards being treated like a equal and having people look past my disability.
I took a course at the Northern Lights College in 2009 for eight months. It was the Employment Essential Skills Program and part of the course was to go to a business for work experience, so I chose to go to the Dawson Co-op in Dawson Creek.
So the teacher set up the placement at the Co-op, and I started to do work experience. I was trained on how to stock shelves, to get carts, do bag carry out, and to bag groceries properly. I was at the co-op for work experience from October 29 to November 27, 2009.
After I did work experience, they hired me at the Co-op as a courtesy clerk. I have been at this job for 5 years now going on 6 years. When they hired me, I had an interview with the Co-op manager. Now I help get carts, put stuff back on shelves and if a customer cannot find something, I help them find what they’re looking for. I put baskets away and go to get grocery bags, till tape and supplies for the front people. Since they hired me, they also hired another person with a disability.
Since I was hired, I have been to staff meetings and the Christmas party, and got a Christmas bonus every year. Everyone gets along with me at work and treats me like part of the team and part of the family. Dawson Co-op treats people with disabilities in the work force with respect and dignity, just like anybody else.