St. Stephen's Community House

Ron Chappell

Ron ChappellRon Chappell

From disability to possibility

When asked to describe what life was like before, Ron Chappell was quick to answer. “Poor. And struggling”

That’s the case for many people who live with disabilities. In Ontario, 1.85 million people have a disability, but only 49% are employed. That was certainly true for Ron.

“There was a medical issue when I was born. The doctors said I would never be able to read.” Ron’s disability impacted his ability to find work and shattered his confidence.

What changed for Ron was the birth of his son. “I felt helpless to support my wife and son. It was time for me to wake up.” Through a referral from Project Work, Ron found himself at our Employment & Training Centre.

Our Enhanced Services team helps people with disabilities prepare for and find work. It starts by working with the person, their family, and occupational therapist to create a personalized employment plan that focuses on the individual needs and goals, as well as any accommodation a person may need to thrive in a new job.

The success of this approach has exceed our expectations: In October 2018, we were proud to receive an Impact and Innovation Award from First Work for our Team’s work.

And for Ron, the approach helped him find steady employment at Bee Clean Building Maintenance. “Things are much better now. We’re not month to month. Seeing my son’s face at Christmas when he opened his gifts makes it all worth it.”

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