Bringing the Terrace community together to build stronger foundations for future success and independence

Building community connections with those living with developmental disability

We all need to feel we’re part of our community — it’s personal networks that make life enjoyable. When the pandemic made it difficult to gather in our community groups and enjoy activities together, it underscored just how important those connections are.

For some, working from home and maybe home-schooling for a while presented some challenges, but what if you depend on somebody else to bring community to you? What if you need a support worker to go out into your community?

Building a good foundation

Great programs don’t run themselves. Without dedicated, caring people like Harvinder Nijjar, they would be greatly diminished.

Harvinder has always been community-minded. She moved to Terrace 26 years ago from India, speaking little English and knowing no one but her husband. Together, they made their home here, and raised a family. She understands that our greatest supports come from those connections we build with others, whether through helping at her community temple, or cooking her signature butter chicken dish with naan for her family. Finding a career that allowed her to connect others within the community was a natural fit.

Harvinder started working with TDCSS eight years ago, quickly finding that she loved helping others build their own community support systems.

“The best part of my job is helping my clients achieve their goals. I love to see the smile on their faces!,” Harvinder says. “I love everything about my job.”

Although the last year has meant changes, Harvinder continues to strive to make the community accessible for everyone, and most importantly, she continues to nurture and grow those vital community connections that make us stronger as individuals and as a community for the people she works with.

READ MORE: Respite, support and long term care: Helping Terrace feel at home!

Maintaining vital connections

For many people dealing with developmental disabilities, the pandemic meant a huge change in what was accessible. It became harder to do things the rest of us were still able to take (almost) for granted such as grocery shopping, or meeting up with friends albeit outside and at a distance. If not for the team at TDCSS (Terrace and District Community Services Society), many of these more vulnerable folks might have lost the connections that are so vital to feeling a part of their greater community.

Helping people access services is one part of what TDCSS does, but even more important on an emotional-support level is the Community Inclusion program that includes support with grocery shopping, accessing medical appointments and learning how to gain and maintain independence.

Adults with a disability who are eligible for funding through Community Living BC can also access goal-based skills development (cooking, fine motor skills, language), sports and recreational activities, arts opportunities, self-advocacy and rights awareness, learn how to acquire and maintain meaningful employment, and how to build social connections.

READ MORE: Supporting and empowering Terrace youth… by any means necessary!

To find out more about TDCSS and the work that Harvinder and her colleagues do, check out the website here. To donate to this amazing resource click here. Find them on Facebook here.