The Shanty Initiatives was originally established in 2007 as The Shanty Cafe, Consignment and More in an effort to provide persons with disabilities the opportunity to attend day programs or participate in comparable employment through the storefront & cafe.
In March of 2013, it was realized that trying to manage both the storefront & cafe, as well as the day programs as a single entity was actually providing a disservice to our clients, as we were forced to split our time between managing a Social Enterprise and trying to grow it, and managing a Vocational Services Program. As such, in May of 2013, the storefront & cafe and the Vocational Services Program split into two separate entities, with the Vocational Services becoming known as The Shanty Initiatives.
With the mission in mind of providing meaningful and educational programs to our clients, The Shanty Initiatives centers their focus on life skills training and pre-employment training. The majority of programs are centered on tasks that translate to use in the community, or they are centered on preparing the client for a work environment with an employer in the community.
Within The Shanty Initiatives population, there is a wide divide of skill levels and job readiness. As we value each employee and client, we recognize that they deserve a positive work experience and as such, our goal is to find the individualized program for each client that highlights their strengths in public while giving them the freedom to grow their skills.
The Shanty Initiatives encourages all clients to work towards fulfilling their dreams and become productive members of the community. This is accomplished by providing our clients with the best possible support and training that we can provide.
2.0 Program Overview
While there are numerous programs in place through The Shanty Initiatives that have been tailored to the individual needs of our clients, there are several key programs which all clients have the opportunity to participate in, and which provide a variety of different skills to the individuals involved:
Tall Boys: Our most recognized community based program, Tall Boys serves the community by providing a coffee & food delivery service. For a small nominal fee ($0.25 per item), our clients receive orders and ensure delivery to the business in question. Currently, we have twelve businesses which place daily orders, including a large call center and the Yarmouth Hospital.
The value in this program is two-fold. It gives our clients the opportunity to be out and about in the community, interacting with various businesses, as well as teaching them valuable skills such as money management, customer service and organizational readiness.
Rag Production: Another of our well known community based programs, the Rag Production was developed as a means to provide our clients with a business based responsibility. Materials are donated through various means and it is then the responsibility of the clients to sort through the material, separating what can be used to make rags and what can’t. Any material that is deemed to be no usable for rags is packaged up and given to the SPCA and to Frenchy’s. The material that is good is then cut into specific sizes, packaged and sold to various garages and businesses in surrounding areas.
Bottle Recycling: A new program that has recently taken off is our Bottle Recycling Program. Various businesses around town, including a local Community College, donate their bottles to The Shanty Initiatives. It is then the responsibility of the clients involved in this program to arrange to pick up the bottles, return them to The Shanty, sort & clean them and then ultimately have them delivered to The Enviro Depot for recycling. This presents an environmental friendly view to our clients, while giving them the responsibility to manage the program with only minimal support from a worker.
Job Brokerage: This is a new program that has been put into place with a purpose to prepare our clients for employment through one of our Social Enterprises or with an employer in the community. With the end goal of preparing them for employment, we focus our training in areas such as: Customer Service Training, Training on Point of Sale Systems (Retail Cash Registers), Money Management, Organizational Skills and People Skills.
3.0 Partnership Overview
In an effort to provide meaningful and educational job experience to our clients, The Shanty Initiatives has partnered with two of YACRO’s other Social Enterprises, All-Ways-Us & The Shanty Cafe. Through these partnerships, The Shanty Initiatives has the opportunity to introduce our clients to two different work environments and the various tasks and functions that are required through each.
Various other organizations throughout the community have committed to different levels of partnership with The Shanty Initiatives in an effort to help support our mission and dreams and to give us every opportunity to succeed.
All-Ways-Us: A Bath & Beauty Product manufacturer, All-Ways-Us makes a wide variety of different products for sale through various retailers, as well as through their online store. Through the partnership that has been established with them, our clients have the opportunity to assist with the physical manufacturing of the All-Ways-Us products, as well as assisting in the production of the gift crates that All-Ways-Us packages their products in. This allows us to give our clients real world job experience, while offering them competitive workplaces wages.
The Shanty Cafe: Before May 2013, The Shanty Cafe and The Shanty Initiatives were the same entity under The Shanty Cafe, Consignment and More. Realizing the growth potential of the Cafe and the opportunities that it held as a Social Enterprise, it was spun off at the same time as The Shanty Initiatives. Housed in the same building as The Shanty Initiatives, a partnership with The Shanty Cafe was a natural opportunity. Through this partnership, our clients have the opportunity to gain experience in a restaurant/cafe environment, such as Cooking, Inventory Management, Grocery Supply Planning & Shopping, Customer Service and Point of Sale Solutions. As a result of this partnership and shortly after it was formed, one of The Shanty Initiatives clients received full-time employment in The Shanty Cafe.
YACRO: Although YACRO is the parent company of The Shanty Initiatives, they have recently entered into a partnership with us to help further the job experience of our clients. Recently, YACRO found themselves without a cleaning service and after some discussion, it was decided that The Shanty Initiatives would take over this role and provide job opportunities to our clients as a result. Not only does this allow us to pay our clients, but it gives them valuable experience in a professional work environment.
4.0 Social Overview
The Shanty Initiatives understands that providing residential support to people is not enough. As a result, the majority of our programs are designed with community as a focus. This philosophy provides a much needed social aspect to peoples’ lives and increases the visibility of what our programs have to offer.
We also understand that there’s more to life than work experiences and day programs. With this in mind, we’ve made it part of our job to ensure that our clients have opportunities to simply have fun or to hang out. Several recreational programs have been created in which our clients have lunch together, enjoy a barbeque, go to the movies or have a fun evening out with friends. The Shanty Initiatives has bought several games and stored them in The Shanty so that any client who wishes to come down and relax is able to have something to do.
In the coming months, The Shanty Initiatives is looking to create a social room at their location, with couch, chairs and a television, so that clients can come down alone or together throughout the day and watch a show or perhaps even a movie. There’s no better way to spend free time then in the company of friends or family, after all.