AEC has incorporated a Supportive Volunteer Program to provide clients an opportunity to volunteer within their community while being supported. For various reasons, many clients are unable to go to work for a financial wage, or the barriers they face prevents them from taking part in or sustaining an employment placement. AEC wants to provide these clients the opportunity to reap some of the benefits of working, like many of their peers, through placing them in a volunteer placement within their community. By taking part in this program, AEC clients will gain valuable employability skills that could lead them into a paid work placement, or just simply provide the opportunity to work with others in a team environment through volunteering.
In partnership with The Farm and Market in Clarenville, AEC’s first Pilot Program 2018 was funded by the Healthy Communities Partnership Fund through Eastern Health. AEC client volunteers work at the Farm and Market during Saturday Market Days providing customer service at the coffee station and vegetable table; counting the visitors that attend on Market Day; handing out vendor tags; harvesting vegetables; etc. Client volunteers also volunteer at the market during the weekdays cleaning windows, tables, chairs and floors; changing out garbage cans; watering, planting and weeding the crops in the garden beds and greenhouse; and more. During their volunteer time clients are supported by a support person to guide and help them with their duties and tasks, as needed. AEC clients are very proud of the ‘work’ they do at the market and always looking for their next opportunity to ‘go to work’!
In 2018 the Supportive Volunteer Program was funded through Healthy Communities Partnership Fund.