Every holiday season the Challenge Disability Resource Group brings their clients together with business community supporters, funders and government officials, for the Challenge Annual Christmas Luncheon. This fully inclusive and barrier-free event is just one element of the myriad of work that Challenge does to support Yukoners with a disability.
“We are a non-profit organization assisting persons with a wide range of disabilities in employment training and employment support, along with residential services that include a mental health treatment home, an FASD home and a group home for adults with developmental disabilities,” said Jillian Hardie, Executive Director of Challenge Disability Resource Group and CEO of Career Industries.
Challenge’s Employment Services program offers job coaching services to persons with disabilities, including training and coaching tailored towards an individual’s employment goals. Three times a year, Challenge runs a more comprehensive program for clients, called Employ Abilities Skills Program.
“It is a 12-15 week program offered to persons experiencing difficulties obtaining and maintaining employment,” said Hardie. “This program offers classroom and work experience including certification in WHMIS, Food Safe, Emergency First Aid and team-building. Participants learn the essential skills for employment, team-building and much more in the classroom setting and take these skills to practice them on the worksite.”
Challenge also owns and operates Career Industries, a social enterprise that encompasses the Core Box Plant, Bridges Catering and the Ledge Cafeteria. The Core Box Plant is a wood products manufacturing business that supplies core boxes and lath for the mining industry along with a variety of other wood products during the off-season.
“We use an integrated workforce model where adults with disabilities work in an environment with more experienced individuals. This follows our principle of social inclusion and allows our more experienced workers to role model workplace etiquette and teach new skills,” said Hardie. “All workers are paid to industry standard.”
Bridges Catering specializes in delivering the very best products while supporting the community.
“Every purchase at Bridges Catering supports equality and inclusion in our community,” said Hardie. “When you visit Bridges you help create a place where a person with disabilities feels welcome, where their strengths are valued, and where their lives are forever changed.”
The Ledge Cafeteria, located in the Yukon government’s main administration building, provides similar benefits for individuals with a disability. The location is open to the public between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays and is responsible for serving over 150 meals a month to low-income Yukoners in partnership with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon.
More information about the Challenge Disability Resource Group and the work it does can be found online at ChallengeDRG.org, and on Facebook.