There are people working behind the scenes to keep Tsawwassen’s commercial core looking good. For the past three years, the Tsawwassen Business Improvement Association (more commonly known by its moniker of Sunny Tsawwassen) has employed young "community ambassadors" to clean, paint, plant and partake in other community improvements.
Started in partnership with the LEAP program of the Delta Community Living Society, the business association employs people with disabilities to help them gain valuable work experience.
"Our purpose with this program isn't simply to complete a task of cleaning and beautification," explained Lydia Elder, executive director of TBIA. "It's an opportunity to get real-world work experience for our community ambassadors."
The youngsters have made some valuable contributions to the community in recent years, with landscaping, flower-planting, cleaning and painting in front of several businesses.
This year, the TBIA hired Jason, Georgia, Andy and Gauri. Jason, 19, has been with Sunny Tsawwassen for all three summers since the program began. Most recently, Jason, Georgia and Gauri picked up litter at the inaugural Bathtub Race & Festival in Boundary Bay. He said he wants to gain more work experience like this to one day become independent and self-sufficient.
To provide advice on that front, Terry Koroluk, a 17-year maintenance employee with Barbican Property Management in Tsawwassen, recently took some time to speak with Jason and the other LEAPers about the sort of work he does.
Much like these young people, a lot of Koroluk's work happens behind the scenes to enhance visitor experience to the Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall. He does all the things you might expect of a maintenance worker, from sweeping the sidewalks and parking lots to keeping tile floors and washrooms clean. He also picks up litter, handles waste management and recycling, cleans up spills, waters and rakes and sweeps up the gardens, landscapes and so much more.
Koroluk shared why he loves his job: the variety, the sense of accomplishment in completing different tasks and working in the community he calls home.
Elder said it was a great message to share with LEAPers who are eager to find out how they can apply their newly-learned skills.
"They get to try different types of work and build up their resumes, all the while making a positive and valued contribution to our community," she said. "Mentoring by experienced folks like Terry is a wonderful way to do that."
You can find out more about the LEAP program at sunnytsawwassen.ca/news.