Welcoming disabilities in the workplace

Ellen Zilkie has a developmental disability, and is tasked with reading, scanning and collecting relevant articles for Kyllo.

Job well done: Ellen Zilkie clips and sorts newspaper files for MLA Greg Kyllo.

As part of October’s Community Living Month, MLA Greg Kyllo was excited to announce the efforts of his most-recent employee, Ellen Zilkie.

The “article organizer extraordinaire,” has a developmental disability, and is tasked with reading, scanning and collecting relevant articles for Kyllo.

A lover of news and reading, the job is a repackaging of the old for Zilkie, who said she is enjoying being inside. Having done bundle-drops for the Observer and Market News for 15 years, she kept up with the local events, saying that’s how she first heard about Kyllo.

Now, she’s putting books together and keeping articles up to date.

“I put it all into categories,” she said.

“One of the tasks we have in the office, we always try and comb through the local media—we want to track some of the good news stories,” said Kyllo.

Kyllo’s constituency assistant, Holly Cowan said it was difficult to find time to organize the clippings, so hiring Zilkie was a perfect fit.

“She’s awesome, we love Ellen,” she said.

“She’s got a great sense of humour and morale,” said Kyllo,  as Zilkie showed off her new teal and purple shoes which she wears in her office.

Kyllo had the idea of hiring someone with a developmental disability in his office for a while, after seeing the success of Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond, who had a developmentally-disabled person working office.

“In government we talk about how we need to be more inclusive, so I thought ‘what a great idea.’”

He also thought it was a good idea because “we’re going to have a shortage of workers, because (there will be more) workers leaving the workforce than those coming in, so we’re having a look at how we can provide increased employment opportunities for person’s with disabilities.”

The 54 year old is a life-long learner, as she accomplishes new tasks on the job. She’s new to a scanner, and learned how to scan documents.

She enjoys keeping busy, having three part-time jobs. She also works at Shoppers Drug Mart and the Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap.

“You gotta do something for your mentality. You can’t just sit around just doing nothing,” said Zilkie.

Shuswap Association for Community Living vacational counsellor Vicki Donnelly helped train Zilkie, so she was well-prepared for the job. The association helps train the individuals with no cost to the employer.

“You need that encouragement,” said Zilkie, who presented a floppy folder which holds her to-do list.

To find out more on how to get involved visit the SACL website.

**** A previous edition of the Observer stated that Zilkie collected articles for Kyllo’s campaign, which is incorrect. Kyllo’s constituency office and campaign are separate.


Just Posted

Petition calls for regulation of cigarette boats on Shuswap Lake

Public call for tighter controls on the fast, powerful vessels initiated before Sept. 1 collision

Salmon Arm martial arts school evicted along with assisted living facility

Students call Northern Spirit Martial Arts’ Hudson Street location a sanctuary

Salmon Arm RCMP see upswing in thefts of, and from, vehicles

Police report thieves prowling at night, entering unlocked vehicles

Successful Salmon Arm farmer’s market extended into December

Market may switch to indoor venue during the colder months of winter

RCMP investigating thefts from Shuswap mail boxes

Salmon Arm residents with compromised boxes asked to pick up mail at post office

‘It’s almost surreal’: South Okanagan fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

Chief Larry Watkinson and Sam the disaster dog spent 8 days assisting a search and rescue team

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year

The police department has already purchased three drones, as well as three others for training

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Most Read