Meet Anne (Independent Living Assistant), Attendant Outreach Program Anne has been a member of the PACE Attendant Outreach team for over 23 years. She reveals that she is proud to say that “she still loves working here”. Anne shares, “I like the appreciation from the clients’ receiving services. I really enjoy helping people.” Anne was born and raised in Grenada and came to Canada in 1990. She comes from a large family of 12 children. Today her siblings are spread across the United States, Canada and Barbados. When Anne first arrived in Toronto she liked the opportunities that were available to her. She went to school for a nanny program. Anne worked full-time and continued to take classes in the evening at Bathurst Heights including the Personal Support Worker program.
Her favourite memory working at PACE Anne recalls, “I have quite a few moments but, if I must pick one it would be the time I had a client- Franca, who was Italian. Franca was receiving Meals on Wheels and she didn’t like the food. (It was because she was used to homemade Italian dishes.) I told Franca that she could teach me how to make some dishes and she did. Once Franca had her Italian dishes again, she said to me, “I feel alive again – I’m not useless.” Franca was back in control of what she had to eat and was so happy. Even today I use some of her cooking tips.” Why do you work at PACE?
What do you like most about working for PACE? “Program Management responds and is very willing to talk, listen to you and understand. Even when my daughter was going to school, they understood work life balance and made you feel at home. Another thing I really like is that you continue learning. Every year – you attend a workshop on something to help you to able to do the job better. I have friends that work with other organizations and they don’t have this.”
What lessons has your work life at PACE taught you? Anne reflects and then shares,
• “To be grateful and not judge people;
• Listen to everyone’s story first. Don’t judge them;
• Life is short and I should always be grateful;
• I’m not different and/or better;
• Treat people with dignity – treat them for who they are and how I would want to be treated
• Love and don’t judge – everybody has a story.”
Taylor is an entrepreneur and her successful business Cup of Té impressed Oprah enough to land a spot on Oprah’s “Favourite Things” list in 2020. Taylor shares, “Life is good. I have been working hard over the last four years. Everything goes back into the business. I’m really proud of the journey the business has been on.” She has a new venture that has just opened at Dufferin and Lawrence where she now has a brick-and-mortar location.
Taylor doesn’t have a lot of free time given her business and now that she has started accessbytay where she shares her experiences on social media with accessibility in the city. This venture came out of a conversation with a friend. Her friend got engaged and was planning her wedding and Taylor was going to be a bridesmaid. Taylor recalls, “My friend kept going to wedding locations and seeing that they would say they were accessible but they weren’t.” Taylor’s friend suggested that they should, when world opens back up from lock down, we should document their accessibility reviews of restaurants, etc. Taylor shares, “I haven’t had a good work/life balance. My reviews venture is win/win for everyone. I help other people by really documenting if the restaurant was accessible or not. I learned that I could help other people while I was out. Now providing accessibility reviews forces me to get out. This is part of my new worklife balance and is going very well. It helps me find a better balance and spend time with my friends.”
Taylor had her accident when she was 14 which left her paralyzed from the neck down. She was in rehab for 19 months and in March 2010, moved back home with the necessary support services in place and her mom helps a lot. Taylor has received support services from PACE through the Attendant Outreach program for more than 10+ years.
Taylor shares, “Having good care is imperative to your healing and daily mental wellbeing. The people I’m working (PSWs) with have been with me for a very, very long time – some people that is many years and I’m extremely happy with that. There are times when someone came, and it wasn’t a good fit. When we get a good one – we keep them. They are almost like family at this point. You work very intimately and closely with people. They become a part of the fabric or an extension of yourself almost.”
“I have a PSW which I adore, Laurie who has been with me since my first year of university. She used to go with me to school. We were laughing the other day as it’s so crazy that I’m going be 29 soon. So much of my life has changed. When I was in university, I didn’t know what I was going to do. Laurie has seen me through university, transitioning to figuring out what I’m going to do – starting a business and having a relationship. She’s been with me throughout it all and in the whole time she has taken maybe 5 personal days outside of regular vacation – she is very reliable.”
“More recently I have a PSW named Yonette. She goes above and beyond all the time. Literally all the time! I don’t know what God sent you to me – I’m so grateful. In the span of a year – we have built a very close relationship.” Taylor describes receiving services from PACE as, “PACE is the like the friend that you don’t always need but, you’re really, really blessed to have. You’re grateful that they are there. PACE is a friend that you may not talk to all the time but, if you need them – they are always there.”