Equal Opportunities West was established in 1979, as a non-profit organization that provided persons with disabilities individualized supportive services to help secure competitive employment.

Over the last five years Equal Opportunities West has grown into a burgeoning system of support for adults with developmental disabilities. The group’s original mandate of helping find employment, whether it be part or full-time, still plays a key role but the overall programming has branched out to truly change the culture and perceived value of individuals with disabilities.

The current program is designed to empower individuals through choice and goal setting, whether they be career or personal objectives. Through Equal Opportunities West’s services and programs, such as e-waste and recycling or computer refurbishment, or outside employment, individuals are given the opportunity to choose their career path, the opportunity to make a pay cheque, and achieve their goals. Program staff is dedicated to working with each individual to support the realization of those dreams.

The program has proven to be highly successful with individuals finding work in restaurants, hotels, care homes, retail, and other areas of the workforce. This has  been a mutually beneficial system whereby a company acquires a motivated, valuable employee, and the individual receives a sense of accomplishment, belonging, and self-worth.

The group has also identified the need to encourage social and personal growth with individuals. Through an in-house kitchen and lunch program participants learn valuable skills such as nutrition, cooking/baking techniques, and even table manners to prepare them to work in a hospitality setting, aid in social situations, and become more independent in their own food choices. Recreational activities, such as swimming, bowling, or sporting events, opens up opportunities for physical development and health, as well as development of social skills that are imperative for interaction with employers, co-workers, and the community.

How can you achieve a dream if you’re never given the chance to do it? Equal Opportunities West and its staff are dedicated to making sure each individual in the program is given the opportunity to succeed and achieve.