Accomplishments includes people finding meaningful work and new housing options
Camille Jensen

When posAbilities chief executive officer Fernando Coelho reviews the organization’s accomplishments over the past 12 months, he says he’s most proud of the teamwork and openness that is allowing posAbilities to develop its services to enhance the lives of people who have a developmental disability.

PosAbilities changed several of its services in 2011 as a result of provincial government cutbacks, and the needs of people the Burnaby-headquartered organization serves.

One of those changes resulted in the creation of posAbilities employment services, which is supporting people in discovering and finding meaningful work.  The initiative asks individuals to embark on a discovery process to determine what kind of work they’d like and are capable of doing, and then supports them in gaining the skills or training needed to work in that position.

Since it was launched seven months ago, Fernando says the service has been incredibly successful, helping eight individuals find work they enjoy.

“For our sector that’s quite a milestone,” says Fernando, adding the service is also reaching out to businesses interested in hiring people who have a disability.

Fernando Coelho

In 2011, posAbilities was also able to support individuals interested in living independently. Fernando says this involved providing new, independent and semi-independent housing options for people who demonstrated the ability, and desire, to live more independently.

According to Fernando, both examples demonstrate how posAbilities is adapting to the needs of the people it serves, and he applauds staff for being open to new opportunities.

“Focusing on the individual’s needs is getting posAbilities away from having a cookie cutter approach to services. It allows us to look at what an individual wants and how we can come to the table and design something that meets the dreams of that one individual,” he says.

This approach has benefited individuals by enhancing their independence and quality of life.

“I think keeping an open mind and seeing these successes also helped staff recognize that it’s not a matter of just caring for someone, it’s also a matter of working with that individual so that they can achieve their full potential, whatever that may be,” says Fernando.

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