The Cedar Crest Society for Community Living, a society that strives to change attitudes surrounding people’s developmental disabilities, allows its attendees to work towards the future and enter the workforce with entry-level jobs, such as delivering the 100 Mile Free Press and Cariboo Connector papers through their Careers program.
“We’ve had a Free Press paper route up in the Spruce Hill area since 2004, and we use that as a transition youth route, so there’s a high school student that’s always working that paper route,” said Lori Williams, a staff member at Cedar Crest.
Including the high school student, there are about six other carriers who deliver the newspapers every week.
“My favourite part about being a carrier is delivering the papers to other people. I talk to the people. I say good morning,” said Dominic Pacaud.
Pacaud delivers papers in the downtown 100 Mile House area and prefers going into the various businesses to interact with people.
Other carriers, such as Kian Pope who does the Seniors Gardens and Scott areas, said they enjoy the walk.
“Everybody has a varying degree of support when they go. Either one of our staff will go walk them. If somebody has difficulty carrying that much weight at one time, we’ll do that with a vehicle or sometimes we just observe from afar. It depends on the route. Safety is a very big thing with us. No bikes, the majority walk their routes. Sometimes there has to be a pock up to another section. We do whatever is needed to get there,” said Gina Myhill-Jones, one of the staff members at Cedar Crest.
Some of the carriers use a sling, others a cart.
Myhill-Jones said everything is catered to the needs of the individual doing the deliveries.
“I think Careers is all about finding employment and the paper route is ideal as an entry-level, skill-building tool for all of us,” said Williams.
Dylan Sund, one of the carriers, said it helps them build skills such as making sure to wear winter jackets, boots, hats and gloves when it gets cold out.
Brett Tassell, another carrier, mentioned people skills like socializing with customers professionally.
Others said learning new routines, routes and memorizing different houses, being flexible, time management and counting skills as tools they have built while slinging papers.
“I think it’s an opportunity for people to see what we’re doing at Cedar Crest and I think it’s proving its showing people that some of us can do it,” said Tassell.
For the month of October, the 100 Mile Free Press is giving back to its dedicated newspaper carriers from the Cedar Crest Careers Centre by donating $5 from every subscription renewal and $10 from every new subscription purchased between Oct. 1 and 31.
“We’re going to be using it for our drop-in centre, Links. We’re probably going to put it towards an entertainment unit. They have games and stuff like that so we’ll probably get them something more in the sense of a flatscreen TV, or something to upgrade what they already have. They just have a small unit right now there and it’s being more and more these days and there are more people coming to the drop-in centre,” said Darlene Stevens, the director of employment services for Cedar Crest.
Links is part of Cedar Crest’s Careers program and is only used by people that attend Cedar Crest.
“The 100 Mile Free Press feels very honoured to have a team of passionate and dedicated newspaper carriers making sure our subscribers and Connector clients in 100 Mile House Recieve their papers on time,” said Martina Dopf, the publisher. “We value our carriers and all they do for us every week and for bringing the news to your doorstep.”
Canadian Carrier Appreciation Day is celebrated this Saturday, Oct. 12 to recognize their critical role in providing Canadians with access to trusted journalism.