Summerside woman finds self-worth in work

Colin MacLean
Published on February 4, 2014
Jo-Anne Praught (left), an employment counsellor with Notre Dame Place and Michelle Hogg, a past client of the organization, were the guest speakers at Tuesday’s Rotary Club of Summerside meeting. They spoke about the Transitional Employment Program.
Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE – There was a time in her life when Michelle Hogg didn’t think much of herself.

Battling bouts of depression, the Summerside resident has lost hope more than once.

But working helps.

And Notre Dame Place’s Transitional Employment Program helped her find work.

She’ll always be thankful to them for that.

“(Working) gives me a great sense of value. I can’t express how much I like to work. Because when I was home and depressed – I didn’t feel like diddly-squat. I can only work three hours a day – but those three hours are just monumental for me and my life,” said Hogg.

She, along with friend and Notre Dame Place colleague Jo-Anne Praught, were guest speakers of the Rotary Club of Summerside on Tuesday.

Praught, an employment councilor with the organization, spoke about the Transitional Employment Program while Hogg expressed how much of a benefit it could be to people living with mental illness.

“Any of us can have gaps in employment, but if you have a mental illness you might have more gaps in employment. But you can learn those transitional skills (with the program) that you can bring to another job,” said Praught.

Notre Dame Place falls under the umbrella of the Canadian Mental Health Association of P.E.I.

Its Transitional Employment Program partners with local businesses to create part-time work for its members.

Participants are paid at least minimum wage for their work, which is often a handful of hours a week and help fill a gap where employers might have work they need done but can’t hire full-time staff to accomplish. In exchange, the participant gains valuable personal and professional skills.

The program also guarantees that the agreed-upon hours will be filled, either by the participant or their supervisor at Notre Dame Place.

Hogg started out doing various jobs before ending up at the Summerside YMCA with a more long-term arrangement.

She’s currently looking for work again and volunteering her time in the meantime.

The Transitional Employment Program gave her the confidence to be able to do all of this, she said, and she would encourage anyone referred to Notre Dame Place or the Mental Health Association to sign up for it.

“It would be a very very pivotal point in their life. A very uplifting point in their life. Definitely worth it,” she said.

Any local business that’s interested in finding out more about the program can contact Praught at 888-2237 or