Muncie’s Story – Valley Autohouse in Chilliwack

My name is Muncie Knuhtsen. To me, independence means living on my own, getting a job and doing well at what I do. It also means going out with friends when I want to.

When I started at RISE (Real Integration through Supportive Employment), I was offered the position of lead hand, which means taking responsibility for the program, seeing that coffee is ready, clocking myself in and out, unlocking cupboard doors, mentoring the guys on computer, and lending a hand when it’s asked of me. I am also expected to be responsible in looking after the program when staff members are away or at meetings. Since I have started with RISE, I have been able to hang out with friends, meet new people, and connect with the community.

One day, I mentioned at RISE that I wanted to live on my own, and support myself with my own job. Staff helped me apply for work experience at Little Caesars Pizza to practice my skills. It was for eight weeks and it was well worth putting the time and effort into learning more transferable skills, for my next job. The boss was the owner and the supervisor was supportive and treated me as an equal. When I was working, I learned to knead the dough, meet new coworkers, and the staff I was working with taught me a lot about pizza. Making my first pizza gave me satisfaction, and I knew I could be independent.

Next, RISE help me find work at Valley Autohouse in Chilliwack. The employer’s name is Frede Laursen, and after the interview he gave me the job. My job includes; delivering customers to their destination, washing and vacuuming cars, and make deliveries to other companies.

The next step in life was becoming more independent. I emailed my Community Living BC facilitator to inform her that I was working on life skills, and invited her a lunch I was preparing! I was really pleased to know that she enjoyed the meal. After that, looking for a place to live became my next goal. My facilitator set up a meeting with my sister. My sister wasn’t too keen on me moving out to start with, but she slowly realized that I needed to be independent.

My facilitator helped me with planning and finding an apartment. Finding the right place is important; a place that that is quiet, safe and full of good neighbors is what I was looking for. I found the right home for myself and I love living there. This makes me feel positive about my life. I had the right people to help me. Getting support from friends helps me to stand on my own two feet.

My ultimate goal was to have my own place in life and I have that now and I’m proud of myself for not giving up on the idea. It feels good to be wanted by people who really care. It’s people like the staff who made me what I am today. I’ve proved to myself that I can do it, so others can see that I have faith in myself and that I’m following my dreams. I believe if I can make it in life, others can too. My life seems to be better and brighter than it has ever been in years.

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