Lessons learned from a nephew: Modelling inclusion at home and at work

Nick Borzel (far right) and his colleagues work together to support individuals and families in the Central and Upper Island. “We have a fantastic group of people who love their job,” says Nick. (left to right) Rob Brownlee, Stacey Roshinsky, Lisa Evans (Back), Jaclyn Koning (Front), Mary Blackburn, Randi Nykwist, Nick Borzel.

CLBC facilitator Nick Borzel has a personal reason behind his work and volunteer efforts.

His nephew led him into this field of work after he was diagnosed with Autism as a child. Since then, Nick has dedicated the past 11 years of his career with CLBC in various roles throughout Central and Upper Vancouver Island supporting people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Inspiring insights

Being part of his nephew’s life has helped him gain some insights. For example, when his nephew was receiving children’s services he moved away from his community in Alberta. But this was hard for the family, so Nick’s brother worked to create local services so his nephew, who is now receiving adult services, could move back to his hometown and still receive the supports he needs. This has added to Nick’s understanding about the importance of trying to provide services where people want to live.

And now it is important for Nick to show his sons, 11 and 13 years old, the importance of including people who have diverse abilities. He coaches and manages soccer teams in the community, and his sons volunteer for a local soccer program for people with developmental disabilities.

“It’s very important that our younger generation understands what it’s like to work with people with developmental disabilities, and know that they’re regular people like everyone else,” says Nick. “It’s important to me because we’re so far away from my nephew in Alberta. I truly believe if we put in the time here, somehow someone will do the same for him in Alberta.”

Building relationships and trust

Nick approaches his work as a facilitator with honesty and tries to set realistic expectations with individuals and families. The CLBC facilitator is responsible for helping people plan for adulthood and access community supports and funded supports. Nick says building relationships and trust is key so people feel heard and respected. When meeting with families, he tries to take the time to really hear what somebody is saying to identify what they need.

“I make it really clear what we can and can’t do,” says Nick. “I don’t like the idea of sugar coating things but I work really hard to make sure they get a service in place that will work for them.”

Nick says that collaboration with other partners such the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities (STADD), and school districts, is essential to accessing other supports in the community.

“Through good collaboration and information collection, we’re more prepared for the families and individuals that will be approaching CLBC for services,” says Nick.

He notes that CLBC’s new approach to planning with individuals and families will help people have a better understanding of CLBC prior to coming through our doors. (See information about the recently announced new CLBC Welcome Workshops being offered across the province here.)

When asked what else he loves about his work, Nick is quick to mention his team.

“We have an amazing team in Central Upper Island because we work really hard to support each other whether professionally or personally,” says Nick. “We have a fantastic group of people who love their job. Whatever problem comes up, we can solve it by working together. That’s why I love coming to work every day.”

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