In 1999, when we were younger and thinner, Dorna Downey and I started working at Dartmouth Work Activity in an old converted warehouse in Burnside. Dorna was the new Office Administrator and I was the new Food Service Facilitator. Dorna later became the Office Skills Facilitator and Manager and after a number of years, I moved on to Employment Support and more recently have been doing some management work.

Now anyone will tell you, Dorna is the nicest person at Dartmouth Work/Solutions. She is. I'm not, and despite my best efforts to corrupt her - no luck. We've been friends through thick and thin for more than 20 years. Everyone knows we have a weakness for potato skins with extra sour cream, A&W Buddy Cheese burgers and of course, chocolate... And we all know Dorna has the best laugh in the world.

Over the years we've worked with hundreds of participants. They are the reason we have stayed around so long. (or is it as Colin Herbert, past ED, once told me – working here makes you unemployable elsewhere?!) Folks come through our doors with diverse backgrounds, abilities and sometimes, enormous challenges. To be able to help them on their journey, witness their growth and celebrate their successes has been a joy. There is nothing better than running into a past participant who's working or attending school or living independently, busy and happy. We help them get started, but it's their resilience, hard work and tenacity that deserve credit. This is a weird and wonderful place – and it does in fact, change lives.

We've made many lasting friendships over the years. Laughter has always been a big part of this place and it's been quite a ride. Thank you to all our terrific co-workers, past and present. You'll be missed! Spare a thought for us this winter as you scrape the ice off your car, or trudge through the snow. We'll be home, reading and eating chocolate bonbons.

Cheers,

Sheila (and her best of sidekicks, Dorna)

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