Clearing the waters for employment at the SSILC

Lisa Goudy
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Tina Ludwar, employment services manager at the South Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre (SSILC), works in her office this week.

The South Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre (SSILC) helps the invisible become visible.

“People that come in here are good people and sometimes I think they get overlooked because they blend in. They’re on social assistance. They have poor self-esteem and they, I guess, in a sense become invisible,” said Tina Ludwar, employment services manager at the SSILC in Moose Jaw.

“We are here to show them and to support them and to tell them you are not invisible. You are a valuable member of this community.”

The SSILC offers a variety of programming to help individuals get past barriers to employment. Located at B-637 Main St. N., right now 75 people use the centre.

“Technically it’s for anybody that has a disability, although our definition of a disability is very broad. There are so many invisible disabilities,” said Ludwar. “I think one of the biggest things that everybody who walks through our doors experiences poor self-esteem and we classify that as a disability.

“It’s so debilitating when one has low self-esteem. It affects every aspect of life and so we’re here to try to assist people to overcome that I guess, to boost their self-esteem, give them the support they require.”

The SSILC offers a variety of programs to do just that. Currently, there is a Life Skills for Employability program running on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. until June 26. After June 26, there will be another group program.

The Life Skills for Employability deals with issues such as anger management, decision-making and dealing with change.

“We also have one-on-ones that we do to address more personal issues with regards to whatever. We’re a jack of all trades,” said Ludwar. “Wherever the consumer needs assistance, support we assist that person and we do what we can to knock down all those barriers.”

Another group is Readers Review. Right now that group is finishing the novel The Tunnels of Terror by Mary Herelkin Bishop. Intended for people trying to get past social anxiety or to gather with like-minded folk, the program is intended to improve comfort level.

No one has to read aloud or participate if they don’t want to do that. It is on Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  That program is open to the public.

The main group running on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays is for registered consumers or for people who are testing it out to see if it’s a good fit.

There are two options for the referral process. An individual can connect with a consultant with Labour Market Services. The other option is to complete the referral at SSILC.

“All of our services are free of charge,” said Ludwar. “We’re open through the summer too. A lot of people don’t know that,” she said. “We still have group programming through the summer and we have computers here that individuals can come in and access. They do not have to be a registered consumer … The only time those computers are off limits is when it’s group time.”

For another two months, the SSILC is offering a resume writing service. At the end of the two months, the contract for the service ends.

“We’re willing to work with an individual,” said Ludwar. “I think that’s what makes us quite unique is we don’t tell the individual what they need to do. We work with them, find out what their goals are and what is manageable for them to create an opportunity for success.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: SSILC, Life Skills for Employability, Labour Market Services

Geographic location: Moose Jaw

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