LakeCity Works is a non-profit organization that empowers people living with mental illness to build on their strengths and grow their skills through work experience, education, and employment.
LakeCity creates practical opportunities for its clients through a variety of innovative social enterprises. These include LakeCity Woodworkers, which has been building quality solid wood furniture since 1972; LakeCity Plastics where the team build beautifully robust outdoor furniture from 100% post-consumer recycled plastics; Bright Firestarters, an enterprise that repurposes woodworking waste; and Reboot, which uses donated computers and refurbishes them into affordable devices for those in need.
In partnership with Home Services Nova Scotia and DirectioNS, LakeCity also operates Odd Jobs, an initiative that creates training and employment opportunities for adults living with intellectual disabilities and mental health challenges by delivering cleaning and yard work services for members of their local community.
One of the most successful LakeCity initiatives has been its annual tiny home lottery. Through these projects, teams of talented youth were employed to build beautiful tiny homes to be the first prize in a lottery fundraiser. As well as creating jobs and raising funds to support people living with mental illness, the projects have been a way to raise awareness about the need for affordable housing. With increasing numbers of people championing this cause, LakeCity is shifting from advocacy to action and will be building its first affordable home in spring 2021.
Tickets for the last tiny home lottery are on sale until March 8th, 2021 and the grand prize draw will take place on March 12, 2021. This year’s prize includes high quality wood finish, sky lights, four season insulation, a full bathroom including bath, a washer/dryer hookup, a full-sized refrigerator, and more. Tickets are $25 for one and $100 for five and can be purchased online at www.rafflebox.ca/raffle/lakecityworks or at the LakeCity Woodworkers showroom in Dartmouth.
LakeCity’s Sophie Eld, Director of Business says, “We are constantly looking to expand our many ventures and initiatives to provide our clients with internal opportunities. In the last year, through new ventures, we have been able to open four supported employment positions to clients. We have more positions in the pipeline through our affordable housing initiative and our goal is to create financial independence, away from disability support, for all these individuals.”
In addition to these practical opportunities, LakeCity has a team dedicated to supporting job-seekers living with mental illness. Employment services are free and available to anyone over the age of 19 who is living with mental illness. Working with an Employment Navigator, clients receive access to job postings, career counselling, work readiness skills, options for volunteering and educational opportunities. All services are client-centered and based on an individual's goals. For individuals not ready to connect to the job market, but are looking to take a step toward job readiness, a variety of participation opportunities in their social enterprise ventures are available at LakeCity Works.
Danielle Pentland is the Director of Client Care at LakeCity and would like to see more employers open up to working with persons living with mental illness. “Our experience in working with people with mental illness is that when they are provided with respect, compassion, consideration and support, they grow in confidence, and capability,” she says. “Hiring people living with mental illness creates opportunities for a workplace to assess and develop a strategy to improve their efforts to promote wellbeing for all employees. We encourage employers from all industries to consider partnering with us as they seek to fill their recruitment needs and diversify their teams.”
For Nova Scotians who want to support local, social purpose organizations, you can visit the LakeCity showroom at 386 Windmill Rd. in Dartmouth for your solid wood and outdoor furniture needs. Another great way to support LakeCity’s operations, services, and programs is to buy a ticket for the Tiny Home Lottery.