When Donna and Brian Lecompte bought the Tim Hortons franchise 15 years ago, they chose the business because they wanted to give a gift to the community.
A Tim Hortons is a place where there is opportunity for everyone, Donna said, including those with diverse abilities.
With that goal in mind, the Lecomptes have been working with the Revelstoke Adult Development Services to hire staff with diverse abilities, since the beginning.
Over the years they have hired 8-10 people through the program, one of which worked with them until retirement. They threw him a big party and he still proudly wears his name tag around town.
In the end, Donna said she learns more from the employees than they do from her.
“There is a place for everyone,” she said, with tears in her eyes. “We shouldn’t discriminate.”
On Nov. 6 the Lecomptes were recognized for their dedication to equal opportunities for everyone with an Inclusive Hiring Award from Community Living BC.
Andree Rioux, board member for Community Living BC’s North Okanagan Shuswap Community Council, presented the Lecomptes with the award, thanking them for changing the lives of so many people with diverse abilities.
We want to raise awareness about this untapped workforce, Rioux said.
Revelstoke Adult Development Services connects their clients with potential employers in the area and it doesn’t stop there.
“I have hours to help support and train people,” said Michael Newbury, a customized employment specialist for the program.
To hire a person with diverse abilities requires adaptability, employers need to meet them where they are at and slowly move forward, but, as Newbury put it, if one of your employees broke their let you would make it work, the same can be done for someone with diverse abilities.
One of Tim Hortons current employees through the program is Travis Kehler. He washes dishes. In the beginning he had someone else working alongside him all day, now, he works unsupervised.
At the end of the shift we inspect his work station, Donna said. Nine out of ten times everything is done perfectly.
Park of the program is accountability and responsibility, so if Kehler didn’t complete a task or did it improperly, Donna corrects him and that’s that.
He is part of the team, she said. Part of the family. He tells us he loves us every day and we say the same to him.
“I do love you,” Kehler said with a smile.
According to Newbury, placing people with diverse abilities in the workforce is a better source of inclusion than day programs. They become a part of the larger community, which creates a more fulfilling network of people–a huge part of combating social isolation.
Aside from social benefits, there are financial benefits for workers placed through the program.
“PWD (person with disabilities) benefits are not enough to live on,” said Rioux.
A job can change their whole life.
Revelstoke Adult Development Services is looking for more placements for their clients.
“Take that leap of faith,” Donna said.
Talk to Brittany Palasz, program coordinator, at 250-837-0855 for more information.
Other businesses in town recognized by Community Living BC for inclusive hiring, include: Sandman Hotel, Coast Hillcrest Hotel, Best Western Plus and Home Hardware.