It started as a pilot project in April of 1986 and three decades later, it continues to evolve and change the lives of people in the Lethbridge community.
DaCapo is a program ran by Lethbridge Family Services that helps individuals living with developmental disabilities, brain injuries and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, held a 30th anniversary celebration on Wednesday. The program has grown to help almost 400 clients across the city every year, including Julia Clausen, who was more than excited to participate in the special day.
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“I’m happy. I’m very happy about it,” Clausen said.
Clausen said she has learned fundamental skills through DaCapo that have helped her learn how to take the bus by herself, land a part-time job at a grocery store and volunteer in her community.
“I volunteer at Saint John’s Ambulance and Saint Michael’s Health Centre,” Clausen said. “I really like it.”
The program has helped hundreds of clients like Clausen over its 30 years and provided over five million hours of service in southern Alberta.
DaCapo’s director, Dianne Kotkas, said she cannot express how proud she is of the staff and the commitment they show to their clients.
“The focus of DaCapo is the individuals in our program,” Kotkas said. “We’ve been very successful to be able to support people to become as independent as possible so that they can live independently and work independently in the community.”
One of those staff members is Tracy Thompson who has been with the program for 27 years. She said she fell into the job by accident and has never left, all thanks to the clients.
“They tell you you’re not supposed to be friends with them but you are,” Thompson said. “Your job is your life. I get up every morning with a smile on my face and I come to work and it’s great… and you say don’t get emotional, but you do. I love it.”
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