- Food & Drink
- Travel & Lifestyle
- Arts & Culture
- News & City Info
- Support Local
Five years ago, Michelle Blackburne had just graduated from university and began to navigate her career path when she came across a job ad for Pathways Abilities Society while reading a news story online.
Unbeknownst to her at the time, clicking this ad embarked Michelle on the path towards what has become a rewarding career as a Community Support Worker in Kelowna.
"Remembering the joy that I had gotten out of volunteering for CRIS Adaptive Adventures and Special Olympics, I realized that I loved helping others with perceived barriers enjoy our community as much as I have," said Michelle. "So when I saw the Pathways ad, I applied right away."
Today, Michelle is sharing her story, along with three other local Pathways employees, with the hopes to inspire you to join them in building relationships with the people they work with and apply to work with Pathways Abilities Society.
Each of these locals will share how their unique careers help people with diverse abilities in their journey of recreation, volunteerism and employment in our community.
For Michelle, coming to work and having the individuals trust you to help them in their day-to-day is extremely intrinsically rewarding. At the end of most days, she returns home knowing that she was a small part in making someone’s day better. She even has a few individuals at the activity services building who will run down the hallway professing that they've "missed you," after having just seen you the day before.
"I rave about the accomplishments of the individuals I supported through something that was challenging for them. I live vicariously through these small successes and Pathways is the bridge that brings me to the people in our community that sometimes need this support to succeed."
Like Michelle, and every support worker who helps Pathways make our community more inclusive, you can help others live richer, more rewarding lives. In fact, employment with Pathways as a support worker could have you snowshoeing at Big White Ski Resort, to working hands-on in a used-bike shop supporting individuals with diverse abilities.
To inquire to contribute and participate in the Pathways community, apply for these active and open positions:
"Everyone deserves to live meaningful lives and be afforded the same opportunities at a full life in our community."
With Michelle, is Shane Milligan, an Employment Developer within Social Ventures and ICO. After coaching the local Special Olympics softball team in Kelowna for 10 years, Shane decided that he wanted to continue helping people with diverse abilities achieve their goals.
After taking the Special Needs Worker course in 1993/94, he applied at Kelowna and District Society for Community Living, which was rebranded several years ago to Pathways Abilities Society. Since then, Shane has held the title of several different positions, but for most of his 27 years with Pathways, it's been customized employment.
"Seeing people still working in jobs I created years ago makes me feel like I guided the right person for the right job, and meeting so many managers that have opened their doors to include people with diverse abilities is a welcome sight," said Shane.
If you were to join Shane as an employment developer, your role would be to meet new HR/managers all around Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country who are looking to interview every possible candidate in their inclusive hiring process.
"My job is to market, train, and then check-in, when the employees and employers are comfortable with how things are going. Just seeing someone make a difference in our community working and being a part of everyday living in Kelowna, is probably the best feeling."
Your role with Pathways doesn't always have to be working 30 or 40 hours a week, even a few hours a week can enlighten someone's life and the benefits all around are amazing.
"If you have an outgoing personality, patience and a game plan, then an Employment Developer might be the job for you!" exclaimed Shane.
"If you want to build lifelong friendships and work towards inclusive employment... see you at Pathways."
Jo-Ann Thomas, who now has a career working in a home, realized in 2005 that she was in a place in her life where she needed a fresh start.
Inspired by a friend, who had already found her purpose as a care aide, Jo-Ann sought out the steps to bring that purpose to fruition in her own life. Soon after, Jo-Ann started a career where she was caring for multiple people at one time. Although she felt rewarded, she began to notice that what she really wanted, was to have more personal time to build relationships, which was where her strength for helping others really thrives.
"I changed my career to work with an amazing and inspiring woman in her home. This changed both my life and career in positive ways," shared Jo-Ann. "When this woman passed away, I felt like a fish out of water. I'd cared for her for 12-years and it left a heavy and large hole in my life."
This is when Pathways found her.
Through a job posting that came in the mail, Jo-Ann was inspired to act and quickly found the Pathways email address to apply.
"I was happy to find out I could start working immediately and in three months I would start receiving benefits," said Jo-Ann. "The most rewarding feeling I have from my career at Pathways are the smiles and to be there through the good times, and yes, even the hard times, too."
Because of this opportunity, she has found true happiness and is full of joy that every day, she's on a new adventure.
"At the end of the day, I have gratitude for the positive impact I get to make."
Before choosing to change her life and make a fresh start filled with purpose as a support worker, Jo-ann admits that she didn’t have this opportunity.
For anyone out there who is looking to change their lives and make a positive difference, Jo-ann highly recommends looking at Pathways as an option to be a support worker as a career.
"As a residential support worker, at the end of the day I have this overwhelming sense of community, not only the teamwork and family feel I have at Pathways, but the fact that I know our community is impacted one person at a time," concludes Jo-Ann. "When finding my fit in this career that is what I have found matters. Making a positive difference by building relationships one person at a time."
For our fourth story, Nicolle Amaral, who works in both community homes and activity services, proclaims that her career at Pathways Abilities Society has become the most fulfilling job she's ever had.
"Helping others has allowed me to realize my purpose," said Nicolle. "Since working with Pathways, I’ve challenged myself to learn about each individual and to find ways to assist them in bettering themselves and being a part of a positive and purposeful community. Seeing other’s goals being achieved is so rewarding and allows me to look forward to going to work every day."
With Pathways, Nicolle feels like she's contributing to our community in a positive way. Each and every day, she looks forward to assisting others in their jobs, volunteer placements, and everyday activities with a positive attitude.
"I look forward to continuing my career with Pathways and hopefully, you'll join me."
Along with Nicolle, Jo-Ann, Shane and Michelle, Pathways expresses the utmost appreciation for making our community a more inclusive place. Pathways would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all of their past and current employees and volunteers.
"Our staff constantly go above and beyond, providing fantastic supports to all of the individuals within Pathways," said Chloe Hurn, Human Resources Manager at Pathways Abilities Society.
"We want all of our team to know that your actions do not go unnoticed, and we appreciate all that you do. We would not be able to accommodate and support the community in the way that we do without our amazing team of employees."
If these stories have inspired you, Pathways Abilities Society is looking for someone who can bring new and exciting adventures to their organization and want someone who enjoys being outgoing, creative, and flexible to changing situations.
To join them, visit their website to see which of these active opportunities is best for you:
To apply, inquire and learn more, you may also contact Pathways Abilities Society by email at email@example.com or phone at 250-763-4837.
Pathways Abilities Society is a non-profit organization providing services to individuals with diverse abilities in Central Okanagan for over 65 years. Among the services it provides, Pathways connects local progressive businesses with individuals with diverse abilities, developing customized employment programs that put diverse abilities to work in our community.
NowMedia sponsored content is written and posted in partnership with participating businesses. While NowMedia retains editorial control of sponsored content, the content is created in collaboration with the sponsor.
Support local journalism by clicking here to make a one-time contribution or by subscribing for a small monthly fee. We appreciate your consideration and any contribution you can provide.