Participants from the Pathways Forward program gather for a photo midway through adorning the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre with Christmas lights in November 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Participants from the Pathways Forward program gather for a photo midway through adorning the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre with Christmas lights in November 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Pathways Forward program volunteers light up Alberni Valley visitor centre

Installing Christmas lights was one part of an eight-week program for persons with disabilities

The Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre is glowing these days, thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers with Pathways Forward.

Pathways Forward is a supportive training program for persons with disabilities between 19 and 50 years. Funded in partnership with Nuu-chah-nulth Employment and Training Program (NETP), North Island College and Island Work Transitions, the program provides meaningful training and support for persons with diverse employment needs.

The group spent two days installing the lights all around the visitor centre (including the flag poles) and shared a pizza lunch on the second day as they wrapped up.

Installing the Christmas lights was a task for Week 7 of an eight-week program that included pre-employment training like self-care, goal setting, professional communication, career exploration and job searching. Personal counselling was also offered.

“It’s awesome to see how confident everyone has become,” said Corinne Moore, special projects coordinator with Island Transitions and coordinator of the Pathways Forward program.

“This is an amazing group.”

Once all their pre-employment training was finished, participants engaged in short-term training certifications such as Food Safe and first aid, and customer service training.

“We’re trying to do a holistic approach to get (them) ready for work,” Moore explained.

There is a component of Indigenous learning that is important to the training sessions, she added. Elder Louise Martin joined the class via Zoom, and with NETP as a partner cultural sensitivity is an integral part of participants’ learning.

The program operates in a safe and respectful manner, following provincial health orders. “We’re trying to do everything within the provincial health regulations but at the same time provide a social network. Some of these people were really isolated” throughout the pandemic,” Moore said.

At least two of the participants already had jobs lined up before their program ended, including a job at the chamber and visitor centre.

The next cohort planned for January 2022 still has spaces available. For more information and to confirm eligibility, e-mail cmoore@avemployment.ca or phone 250-724-4560 ext. 231.



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

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Alberni ValleyAlberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictEmploymentPort Alberni

 

Participants in the Pathways Forward program collaborate to put up Christmas lights at the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre in November 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Participants in the Pathways Forward program collaborate to put up Christmas lights at the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre in November 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Christmas lights twinkle all around the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre—a beacon of colourful lights at the entrance to Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Christmas lights twinkle all around the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre—a beacon of colourful lights at the entrance to Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)