Working Wardrobe helps open doors for job hunters

Friday workshop open to all Greater Victoria residents with disabilities who are seeking employment

Tany de Boer and Stephanie Fisher of the Garth Homer Employment Services program are organizing Friday’s Working Wardrobe event in the Garth Homer Society auditorium.

If there’s one thing Jeanine Reemst has learned since taking the helm of the employment services program at the Garth Homer Society last year, it’s to give her clients any advantage she can.

Even if it’s as simple as setting a bedtime schedule.

Which is why adhering to a proper bedtime is one of many additions to the second annual Working Wardrobe, a four-hour workshop on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Garth Homer auditorium. The event is designed to aid Garth Homer’s employment services’ clients, and anyone from the community, who is trying to find work while living with disabilities.

“We’re building on the success of last year, adding some really cool components that will help our clients find work and keep that work,” Reemst said.

That includes de-stressing, which emphasizes the importance of adhering to a proper bedtime schedule, she added.

“It’s just another thing we’ve learned, and we’re learning a lot of little things. People don’t realize how much neural activity is happening in the brains of our clients. It’s really high, and they tire out mentally. But instead of going to bed, they’ll get distracted and stay up late,” Reemst said.

There’s also breathing exercises, she said.

Working Wardrobe is four hours of education on subjects such as hygiene, manners in the workplace (eye contact, hand shaking and greetings), and it’s done through a series of interactive stations. There’s a fashion show, work-appropriate clothes, a nutrition and food station, a man cave, hair tutorials, makeup advice, a manicure station and more.

Parkway Dental will present a demonstration on dental hygiene.

“There’s so many things to take into consideration, we just want to help the clients plan for success, there’s no better way for them to succeed,” said vocational counsellor Tanya de Boer, who will run a fashion show.

“We are so excited to have about seven or eight clients signed up to do a runway and model clothes, they are so proud to do it, it’s going to be a ton of fun,” de Boer added.

Having interactive stations is a key aspect of the event’s design, Reemst said.

“We provided food in the form of a proper snack and lunch last year, but how much was taken away from that?” she asked. “The clients we’re working with need a tangible, interactive experience and we’re trying to provide that.”

The event is open to all Greater Victoria residents with disabilities who are seeking employment, and runs Aug. 21, 10 a.m. at 813 Darwin Ave.



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