Seeds recognized for community support

Seeds Natural Food Market in Cumberland has been recognized for providing a different kind of community support.

Seeds Natural Food Market in Cumberland is known for championing local producers, but recently it’s been recognized for providing a different kind of community support.

Cumberland’s full-service green grocer is dedicated to community development, which means it strives to offer products and services that support broader community ideals. So when owner Tina Willard-Stepan was approached last summer by Vancouver Island Community Connections (VICC), a local organization that helps adults with developmental disabilities find meaningful employment, it was a match made in heaven.

The VICC Community Employment Service matches pre-screened employees with employers that have suitable job vacancies. Once an employee is matched with a position, a VICC job coach provides on-the-job training at no cost to the employer – a win-win scenario. Melanie, a participant in the program, was supported to find employment that matched both her interests and her abilities. She’s been working part-time at Seeds since last August, and everyone involved is delighted with how it’s worked out.

“It’s been great,” says Willard-Stepan. “Working with VICC fits right in with our store’s values and the role we want to play in the community, which of course supports inclusivity.”

“Seeds has shown a genuine interest in the program, and it’s worked out really well for everyone involved,” echoes Cori Emery, a job developer with VICC. “Seeds has a very welcoming environment and has proven to be a very inclusive and forward-thinking employer.”

“As a busy business owner, that VICC training was very important, and the way it all went worked perfectly,” recalls Willard-Stepan. “Now Melanie works completely independently just like any other employee.”

Melanie, who says her favourite parts of the job are stocking shelves and cleaning the children’s play area, completes important tasks that would nonetheless take time away from other duties requiring more specialized expertise. Having Melanie on board, says Willard-Stepan, has greatly improved productivity and efficiency.

“Not only is Melanie a valuable part of our team, but I’ve also gained a lot personally from this process,” she says. “For one thing, it made me look at how I train and communicate with my employees, which you can sometimes take for granted. It made me re-focus, and that will definitely help with training future staff.

“I highly recommend this program to any employer,” she adds. “Never mind the community benefit and the value in providing meaningful employment – any time you can cut your recruitment and training costs and improve productivity, it just makes sense to do so.”

Just Posted

Heavy police presence at Comox Valley RV

There is a developing incident with heavy police presence at Comox Valley… Continue reading

Help the Comox Valley RCMP ‘Cram the Cruiser’ with items for the food bank

RCMP will be onsite at the Real Canadian Superstore Saturday

Transit Rider Appreciation Day Friday in the Comox Valley

Transit riders in the Comox Valley are invited to enjoy some festive… Continue reading

Police respond to alleged bear-spray threats

A number of Comox dog owners have reported their off-leash dogs being threatened with bear spray

Brent Flahr new Philadelphia Flyers assistant GM

Courtenay resident reunited with Chuck Fletcher in Philadelphia

Cannabis gift ideas for this holiday season

Put the green in happy holidays, now that cannabis is legal in Canada

Woman forcibly confined, sexually assaulted between Creston and Cranbrook

The suspect forced the woman into her vehicle before driving along Highway 3

‘I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun’

Keremeos gas station attendant tells story about man with gun coming to store

John murder trial at Duncan courthouse on pause until spring

John is charged with the May 2016 murder of 20-year-old Derek Descoteau

‘People talk about deep sadness:’ Scientists study climate change grief

Some call it environmental grief, some call it solastalgia — a word coined for a feeling of homesickness when home changes around you.

As protectors abandon Trump, investigation draws closer

Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for an array of crimes.

Senate delays start of sittings in new home, delaying start of broadcasts

The Senate and House of Commons are moving into temporary homes for the next decade as a result of long-planned and badly needed renovations to the Centre Block.

UK leader seeks EU lifeline after surviving confidence vote

EU leaders gather for a two-day summit, beginning Thursday, which will center on the Brexit negotiations.

French police try to catch attack suspect dead or alive

Local authorities increase death toll to three, including 13 wounded and five in serious condition

Most Read