We will all face challenges in our life that will test our courage and strength. The trick is finding something meaningful and consistent that will anchor us when a storm in our life arrives. For many VOCEC associates, employment can play a critical role in recovery and through purposeful work, we know recovery is possible.
For the better part of the last decade, the Hands On Car Wash at 525 Montreal Street has acted like a second home to Clayton Dunford. His job with VOCEC has provided him with a sense of accomplishment and his carwash colleagues have become like a family.
Last fall, Clayton was forced to take a leave of absence from his job to deal with pressing health concerns. But according to his Case Management team at Providence Care, getting back to work is a driving force behind his recovery goals.
“To Clayton, working at the car wash is his career – it almost defines him,” explains his Social Worker Detlef Stein. “Clayton wants to work and getting back to the carwash is one of his main priorities.”
Detlef has been following Clayton for the last 1.5 years and continues to support him through his recent medical appointments, testing and hospital stays. Detlef explained that the circle of care Clayton is receiving though Case Management, VOCEC, his psychiatrist and medical team is paramount to his healthy and happy future. Without this team around him, reaching his recovery goals of returning back to work and continuing to live independently may not be possible.
“The circle of care keeps individuals out of hospital and because Clayton has all of these supports, he is able to live in his own two-bedroom apartment and hold down a steady job,” Detlef explained. “Clayton wants to make sure he continues to see his friends at work and hopefully we can get him back there soon.”
Until he is better, Detlef will continue to bring Clayton by the carwash to see his friends. In his absence, VOCEC has hung a picture of Clayton and his colleagues up in the car wash waiting room and has given a framed copy for him to take home.
“Clayton is dedication personified. He has been with us for almost 10 years and we have a lot of fun together,” explains VOCEC Support Worker Dave Lewers. “The work we provide at VOCEC is truly meaningful to our associates as it provides people with new employment skills but also a sense of pride and constant companionship,” he added. “We have tremendous support from our customers and community. Clayton is a big part of what we do and we look forward to his return.”