Hard work, dedication and determination have always been John’s motto!
John suffered complete hearing loss due to a childhood fever and hearing aids are not effective. He relies heavily on visual sensing and is able to lip read and understand body language while considering other visual cues, and requires an ASL interpreter for almost all important meetings. John does not believe his hearing loss is a disability and endeavors to live a full life. He learnt at an early age to build and maintain farm buildings, barns, tending livestock and gardening, learning the value of being independent and self-sufficient. In 2012, he left for Fiji and New Zealand as a Missionary with his church where he built churches, schools and houses for the poor. He also taught and facilitated the locals on sustainable farming and fishing practices until he returned to Vancouver in October 2015.
At that time he was struggling with severe financial hardships while sleeping on the floor of a friend’s house, he had no money for food and warm clothing. At Whalley WorkBC, he was provided with information on Income Assistance and an online application was completed which helped with stipend for basic needs.
In November of 2015 John met his vocational counselor who provided him with immediate support such as clothing and bus tickets for participating in the program and WorkBC ensured ASL interpreters were available for all his appointment needs at the centre and with employers. He began working toward Customized Employment Services at WorkBC by completing one-on-one career planning workshops, job search support and First Aid certificate.
John’s long term goal is to be self-employed in the Landscape Industry, to be able to work outdoors and in nature as much as possible as he frequently volunteered on sustainable organic farms and properties in exchange for room and board in his past travels. This being his primary employment theme the vocational counselor started contacting employers for a volunteer opportunity to assess his actual performance. To improve his employment skills, he also received financial support to renew his expired driver’s license and BC ID, which is an asset in landscaping industry and also gives him mobility.
Upon finding a suitable employer, the vocational counselor got him one week of volunteer experience (UWEP) in landscaping. He was able to impress the employer by demonstrating that he is a hard worker, fast leaner with strong work ethics, self-motivated and able to work independently and as a team. Based on his performance, the vocational counselor was able to negotiate a job offer through Wage Subsidy contract. John was provided with a Smart Phone as an accommodation for communication to text employer. The vocational counsellor also helped him with a grooming kit, basic clothing for employment like rain gear and steel-toed shoes. Since John was still without stable housing at this point, vocational counsellor used her resources to find him a rental room to ensure success of this placement.
Being a customized employment placement, the vocational counsellor provided employer a detailed handout on working with and providing job accommodations for deaf employees. She also helped facilitate accommodations on the job as mutually agreed by the employer.
We’re happy to confirm that John’s progress at work is meeting expectations at all levels. He is diligently performing and taking on more responsibilities within the organization.