November 14 was an exciting evening as Vecova hosted its annual thank you and awards reception in honour of Vecova’s incredible supporters and partners. This year was also special as we continued our 50th Anniversary theme by welcoming some of our past community members and sharing stories from our history with our guests.
Vecova is fortunate to have tremendous supporters in our community, who work with us to foster inclusion, innovation and impact. At this event, we were honoured to recognize a few of these organizations and individuals who have had a significant impact on our community. We are grateful to all our award recipients:
Inspiring Partner Award: Rocky View Schools
Vecova and Rocky View worked together to complete a Youth Transition and Work Experience pilot program with support from Alberta Works, CIBC, and Rocky View Schools. This pilot was designed to help youth with disabilities in rural communities gain work experience and transition from school to adulthood. The program started in November 2018 and provided support to youth in the communities of Airdrie, Cochrane, Crossfield and Chestermere so they can develop employability and life skills, as well as on-the-job work experience.
The program has seen many successes in the short time it has been operating – one youth began a work experience within the first month of the program, and another received paid employment before the end of the first cohort. We were honoured to be able to work with Rocky View to conduct this pilot and are excited to announce that the program has been officially approved to continue until June 2020. Thank you Rocky View Schools!
Volunteer Champion Award: The Salvation Army Community Services (Calgary)
Vecova has worked with the Salvation Army Community Services Calgary for many years, supporting our clients as they seek volunteer opportunities so they can contribute back to the community. Our clients have been dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers with the Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign and support centres like the Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre and the Centre of Hope. The Salvation Army has shown tremendous support for our clients, who feel truly valued in their roles.
The Salvation Army and their Volunteer Coordinate have been wonderful to work with, and our clients have enjoyed working in their positions to give back to their communities. We are happy to be able to work together with a community organization like the Salvation Army.
Valued Supporter Award: Inter Pipeline
Inter Pipeline has been involved with Vecova for the past five years to provide support to Vecova’s programs and services. Their most recent support helped Vecova enhance opportunities for our Community Access program participants. The Explore, Experience, Decide, Assess initiative provides persons with disabilities the opportunity to explore new interest areas, experience a unique activity in the community and decide on whether to continue the activity.
Possible activities range from completing a cooking class to visiting local museums and attractions and even attending out-of-town tours. These activities present a unique opportunity for persons with disabilities to explore their interests and interact with the community. We truly appreciate the support of Inter Pipeline for making this initiative a reality for many of our clients.
Social Leader Award: Critical Mass
Critical Mass is a role model in the business community by demonstrating the importance of being an inclusive employer. Through Vecova’s Employment Services, Critical Mass has been supporting persons with disabilities to achieve their employment goals for over 11 years. During this time, Vecova has had four clients working there throughout the week on a part-time basis. These individuals are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance in five different kitchens. From cleaning to unloading and loading the dishwasher, Vecova’s clients have been able to achieve long-term work and employment support with Critical Mass.
Vecova is grateful to have partners in inclusion like Critical Mass, who are committed to support persons of all abilities to achieve their job goals.
We truly appreciate the support and commitment we receive from the community, and look forward to continuing our partnerships in the years to come!