Video helps describe role of Community Inclusions

Eric McCarthy
Published on June 12, 2014

DEBLOIS -- Rebecca Carragher moved quietly to the front row and watched proudly as Community Inclusions closed off its annual meeting Wednesday with a short video, A Day in the Life of Rebecca Carragher.

Through the video, the audience learned the cheerful and spunky 2013 graduate of Westisle Composite High School enjoys her job cleaning at the O’Leary Community Complex and helping out with various chores at Maple House Bakery.

The video, Community Inclusions’ employment counselor, Natalie Horne-Gallant explained, is “to kind of give you a feel of what we do and what our clients do, and how valuable it is.”

“This is Rebecca Carragher. I’m going to work, and this is my life,” the exuberant host of the video says by way of introduction. Scrubbing, she said, was her favourite part of the job.

In her report, Horne-Gallant indicated Employmenet Services currently is working with 38 clients in helping them find and maintain employment. They are also assisting two students in making the transition from high school to Community Inclusions’ programs.

Community Inclusions assists other clients with housing and other needs.

Clients filled job duties with 20 employers in the past year and also performed routine skills in the community, such as house cleaning, raking and weeding and painting. Staff regularly assist with job coaching. Some clients also assist area organizations in volunteer capacities, Horne-Gallant explained.

Community Inclusions operate a bakery and other programs at Maple House in O’Leary and coordinate training and employment programs through the Tignish Workshop.

Recreational programs are also provided.

Community Inclusions provided residential supports to 30 individuals in the past year, Residential Services Coordinator, Ethel Ellsworth reported. That included eight people at Alberton House, four at the Tignish residence and six at the O’Leary apartments, and 12 clients who received respite care.

Executive director Kevin Porter indicaed there still esists the need for more housing in the area, especially as it relates to individuals requiring a greater level of care.

The outgoing chairman of the Community Inclusions Board of Directors, Ralph MacNeill reported to the annual meeting that the relationship between staff, clients and families at Community Inclusions is one built on trust, respect and a philosophy of inclusion.

Both MacNeill and Porter noted the financial challenges facing the organization. “We are still in difficult financial times and will continue to partner collaboratively with government, other partners and agencies to fund solutions,” MacNeill told the annual meeting crowd.

The Board extended thanks to two retiring directors, MacNeill and Helen LeClair and welcomed Lynn Jones as a new director.  A bylaw change was introduced and approved at the annual meeting allowing for the creation of a position on the board for a youth representative. That position as well as one other position on the board, are expected to be filled over the summer.

The financial report showed revenues for the year of $1,346,419 and a deficit for the year of $52,677. Accountant Sharon O’Halloran suggested Community Inclusions should be setting money aside annually for a contingency fund but admitted that’s hard to achieve when the current level of funding is not covering all of the organization’s needs.