A Personal Account from a DDA Canada Summer Jobs Student

By Bethany Lim,

After being greeted by half-awake “mornings” and finishing the ceaseless sanitizing wipe-down, our day starts with the anticipated morning meeting. It’s usually full of chats and laughter, and of course, business too. We discuss how we can help our clients better and attain solutions to problems to move forward. Soon after, our clients come filing in through the door. Some arrive eager to start the day, while others come cruising in as if they own the place and expectantly wait to be served a steaming cup of coffee. We usually get our stretch in with ten-minute yoga and play with the iPads until everyone arrives. Then, it’s time to go out! Every day brings a new adventure, and I get to be part of the fun.

This summer, we went to the beach, BCMOS paddle boarding, kayaking and hiking, ASABC sailing, Grouse Mountain, IKEA, moved the DDA market to its new location, and bowling at Revs in Burnaby. We also played lawn games at various parks throughout Vancouver, had our BBQ at New Brighton park, eat, eat, and eat even more. I’ve never done so many fun activities in one summer. After an exciting and refreshing day out, we return to the program to catch up with the whole crew and maybe eat some more. Then, we gather in our hot temporary location and send off each client as their HandyDart pulls through.

Sounds like a dream, right? But the real deal behind this is the team that makes the experience much better—led by our furious leader, Donneil, who holds us together. She leads with integrity and respect while embodying humility and valiance for the team to follow. So when I started the program four months ago, my first week, I felt nervous, incompetent, and confused student. Nevertheless, the staff welcomed me and made me feel like I belonged to the team.

They supported and taught me well and ensured I was comfortable. An example of this would be the first time I went bowling with the program. My last experience bowling was in grade 10 PE class and vicariously through the Wii. Therefore, I was not very good at the game. However, the team gave me quick tips on what size ball to use. They cheered for me even when my ball went straight through the gutter.

Through patience and care, they modeled how to be the best support for their clients. Their perfect blend of passion and experience allowed me to move past the apprehension of being the “new kid on the block.”

It’s evident that the staff care so deeply about their clients and enjoy the environment they’ve created. They also have great relationships with each client and their families, displayed through authentic interaction. You can tell that the clients are seen and known by each staff member. Despite a lack of sleep and shoulder pain, the team collaborates to make the client’s time at Grandview the best part of their day.

Grandview has taught me:

  1. To celebrate well
  2. Never forget a birthday
  3. Always drink coffee
  4. Never reject the food
  5. Only cook a few hot dogs
  6. To have better music taste
  7. Value the use of fans
  8. Work as a team
  9. And most importantly, to provide a space that allows our clients to flourish.

Thank you, Grandview, for receiving me so well. You’ve made saying goodbye incredibly hard, and thanks for taking a chance on me.


Bethany, aka as Dean would say (Donna)


Posted by dda-editor in: Blog