Light a Dream fires up disabled youth
An unassuming storefront in a Dorval strip mall is run almost entirely by young adults with disabilities.
The 'Light a Dream' participants are finishing their high school diplomas, and working at the store in a type of co-op program.
"As they get more comfortable working in a business environment we then try to find them other places where they can also work on their business skills and work study skills," said Cindy Finn, the vice-president of Light A Dream.
The more participants do, the more responsiblity they are given.
"Everything from planning the products that they make, designing the marketing strategy, to greeting customers when they come in the store," said Finn.
Jeremy To has been through the program, and after working at Light A Dream was able to get a job at Tim Hortons.
To enjoys his job because of the sense of responsibility that comes from doing many tasks. At the restauraunt he has to "do dishes, do garbage, fill up peanut butter and jam, and make coffee," said To.
Diana Zuleeg-Crawford, the directing manager for Light a Dream, is thrilled when the program's graduates succeed.
"Our slogan is seeing the abilities in the disabilities and our motto matches what the students live here," said Zuleeg-Crawford.
The skills taught at the candle store are broad, but what is most important is learning how to be a productive member of society.
"I've learnt a lot over the years," said Marni Spunt. "I learned how to make candles, I learned how to sell and learned how to use the cash, learned how to be able to have a job in the community."
The Light A Dream store is located at 475 Dumont Avenue in Dorval.