Ponoka Rising Sun Clubhouse members Alex Brill (right) and Garrett Norman sort through the recyclables collected through the club’s blue box program June 6. The club wants to continue its program while ensuring its sustainable. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

The Ponoka Rising Sun Clubhouse looking at sustainable work program

The blue box recycling program employs staff who would not necessarily be able to get work.

The Ponoka Rising Sun Clubhouse is looking to ensure its work program will remain sustainable for members.

Speaking to executive director Amanda Henderson-Kada, the clubhouse has seen some great growth over the years but increases to the minimum wage has affected the program’s funding model.

The program is there to provide members with some extra work that they would not normally be able to get. “It’s always up until this point been very self-sustaining.”

The goal is not necessarily to make money in a profitable manner, says Henderson-Kada, but more to set up those much-needed employment opportunities for individuals. Some of the members are unable to find a place to work, she added, so the program helps.

The blue box recycle and cardboard program has been operating for the last 18 years and functions alongside the Town of Ponoka’s recycle program.

“Residents that sign up for our blue box program, it does exempt them for the town portion of their waste and reduction bill that they get,” said Henderson-Kada, adding that the town does support the group in its endeavours.

Read Reflections: Rising Sun Clubhouse’s work program has been going strong for many years now

Read Remember When: Many changes for the Ponoka Rising Sun Clubhouse

“We run four and a half days a week currently, with one supervisor, we employ nine individuals,” she said.

With the minimum wage increase, the clubhouse has had to increase its program to $15 per month, up from $12. Another initiative the clubhouse has worked on is with door knockers as a means of reaching residents.

Staff members came up with the idea in the hopes they will be able to increase customers from 200 to 250 or more. Henderson-Kada feels the program can run relatively smoothly with 275 customers.

There is also the big golf fundraiser planned for the clubhouse. Set for June 15, this is a new venture.

Member benefits

For just about one year, member Alex Brill has taken part in the work program.

“First of all, it gives me some structure and it kind of forces me out of the house,” said Brill of the benefits.

One of his personal challenges is he struggled to leave his house. Brill works about three days a week for four to six hours.

There has been a lot of change for Brill in the last year.

“My confidence is up and I don’t have any problems leaving the house any more,” said Brill.

He has also enjoyed being able to work with the other staff members. “Now that I’ve gotten used to everybody we joke around a lot.”

“I don’t have anymore fears when I’m working with them.”

Brill added that the clubhouse’s work program is designed in a way that it makes it easier to start up and get working.

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