Nicole Moore – Kamloops WorkBC ESC – PWD
22 January 2016
Nicole is a woman in her 30’s who visited the Kamloops WorkBC Employment Services Centre, Open Door Group, in the winter of 2014.
Nicole’s challenges began very early in life. She was born late, with a bulging fontanel and a club foot, and battled a severe case of measles at age one, which put her tiny body into convulsions.
Although she achieved developmental milestones as expected in the years to come as a toddler, more problems arose when Nicole started school. Teachers found her disruptive and unable to focus. She was taken to a pediatrician, who prescribed Ritalin, but the medication failed to help. In Grade 2, a school assessment found Nicole was delayed in her functioning and further assessments at B.C. Children’s Hospital revealed she had epilepsy. A bad fall with a head injury at age 9 and scarlet fever at age 11 concluded Nicole’s childhood years.
Nicole’s parents had always been supportive of her and they worried about their daughter’s future the older she got. While she was able to complete high school and was granted a Leaving School Certificate, Nicole’s intellectual functioning was the equivalent of an eight year old. Would she be able to live independently some day? Hold a job? Get married, have a family of her own? These were real concerns for her parents.
Years of volunteering with various charities and community organizations during high school and into her 20s lead to a part-time job at Liquidation World in 2012. Nicole loved the job. She stocked shelves and sorted merchandise, and it was within walking distance from the family home. Being employed was a boost to her independence and confidence.
But in the winter of 2014, Liquidation World closed its Kamloops store and Nicole found herself out of work. Her parents brought her to the WorkBC Centre to begin searching for a replacement job. Nicole was connected to a job developer, who pursued every possible employment opportunity for Nicole.
The odds of finding a job seemed bleak. Businesses in the area were experiencing tough financial times; there was no extra money to hire someone to stock shelves, not even for a couple of hours a week. And few employers were willing to look beyond Nicole’s challenges to see the skills and abilities she had.
Nicole’s confidence began to fade as hope for employment faded. Her parents noticed she was losing motivation and was retreating from social interactions, spending most of her time at home on couch.
Weeks turned into months. Finally, a break, a grocery store about five blocks from Nicole’s house had a new owner, a community-minded businessman named Jason Cain, who had grown up in Kamloops and had recently returned to his hometown to purchase the Extra Foods and renovate it into “Cain’s Your Independent Grocer”. Cain was more than willing to give Nicole a chance.
Nicole’s first day on the job was Aug. 27. She works Mondays and Thursdays, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., sorting merchandise on the store’s centre aisles. The shelves have never looked better. Nicole took to her new job like a pro and has already proved herself a valuable addition to the Independent Grocer team.
Most importantly, she loves her new job and says her family and friends are proud of her. Even her neighbour stopped by the other day to congratulate her.
“She came right to the house and gave me a big hug,” said Nicole. “She was really happy for me.”