Cody Grey sits in an office at the back of Maple Roch’s new storefront on Victoria Rd. N.
The 15-year-old is hard at work making signs for the business. “Roch’s Office” the sign says. “Open” says another.
He shows the signs to his social worker, and then to Maple Roch owner Roch Fortin.
Everyone is thrilled to see his work and Grey is proud of his morning’s work.
Grey has autism and an intellectual delay/disability. This makes things like understanding what people are saying difficult and can be frustrating for him because he doesn’t understand what people are trying to say.
He started working at Maple Roch earlier in the summer through a program called Working Together, which helps students like him find jobs for the summer months.
The program covers wages for students looking for jobs and makes it easy for employers to find employees.
Grey takes his job at Maple Roch quite seriously. He gets up at 5:30 every morning to be ready to get to work for 9 a.m. and, once he’s there, he works hard all day.
“It’s my first job,” says Grey. “I love being busy and working in a business.”
Mirjana Komljenovic, who is the office coordinator at Maple Roch, says the job is great for Grey. “We have found the empowerment is incredible,” she says. “He’s a part of our team. He’s helping open up the business, he’s helping us run the business.”
She adds, “It’s important to him because he’s important to us.”
Grey is, according to his business card, the Team Support Director and his tasks include things like sweeping, organizing the shelves of the store, helping box up orders for delivery and he helps out at the Farmers Market when they set up there.
“Cody is a very good, hard worker,” says Roch Fortin, owner of Maple Roch. “We’re very lucky to have you.”
For Grey, the job is helping him by being a routine and something to look forward to. “One of my goals was to start and finish a task without distraction getting in the way,” he said in a letter he wrote about his experiences working at Maple Roch. “I’m also working on my social interaction and independence.”
Grey’s employment was supposed to be for the summer only, but he will be staying on with Maple Roch until December, helping out when he can while he’s in school. Mostly, he’ll be helping get ready for the Christmas season, packing boxes and labelling things.
“I love him because he brings some joy to us,” said Fortin. “He’s giving meaning to the business and contributing and making a difference in our lives.”
Grey has made an impact on the those at Maple Roch and has helped everyone with the opening of the new location for Maple Roch on Victoria Road North.
“We never would have been able to open without him,” says Roch, “because he has the open signs.” Then, almost on cue, Grey hangs the open sign he made on the front door, declaring Maple Roch open for business.