From a shy, fresh high school graduate, Annika has overcome many obstacles and figured out her own process to become the confident and cheerful employee that she is at Sam’s Place.
A social enterprise run by Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba, Sam’s Place serves as a café restaurant, used bookstore and music venue located in the Elmwood/Chalmers neighborhood. They provide opportunities for youth and young adults to learn employable skills in a supportive environment of volunteers.
It can be really difficult navigating the “real world” after high school, and carving your path and identity when there are employment barriers can be a real challenge.
Annika was afraid to mess up, to make that leap from being at her comfort zone at the back of the house, to having the spotlight on her at the cash till. As a cashier, she establishes genuine connections with customers and tries to provide an exceptional experience at the café through excellent customer service. This may involve remembering loyal customers’ orders, making food and beverage recommendations to new customers, or finding that one book that a customer can read and bond over with their children.
However, with her coworkers’ love, encouragement and support, she conquered her fear and became one of their best employees. Annika stated with conviction that she’s “going to do it eventually. I may take longer than normal people, but I’m going to do it and nothing will stop me. Trust your process”.
Through your support, LITE is able to fuel social enterprises like Sam’s Place with jobs that will help people like Annika grow and thrive. Knowing that there are people out there like Annika who have learning disabilities, her body language changes when she talks about how great Sam’s Place has been to her. She lights up about the positive impact that it had on her, helping her become more confident and ready to face new challenges ahead.
When asked about what advice she would give to her younger self, she stated that “If I can do this, I can do the next hard thing and keep going from there. Nothing is hard. If you make mistakes, it’s fine and you can learn from it”.
Jobs created through LITE’s Powering Up funding create opportunities and moments like this for people to explore their strengths and weaknesses, and learn to become their authentic and confident selves that will contribute positively to our society.
Powering Up: Creating Job Experiences during COVID-19 is supported by the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund, and Winnipeg Foundation. Thanks to Community Foundations of Canada, and Employment and Social Development Canada for making this project possible.