What does it mean to be truly part of a community?

This is a question that Steve Schufele, the general manager of Okotoks Cinema, reflects on when considering the role of not just the Okotoks Cinema, but also the roles of the people that are employed there from the Okotoks community.

For nearly five years the Okotoks Cinema has employed clients from the Foothills Advocacy IMotion Society (FAIMS) in a variety of roles. 

Matthew Schultz

The opportunities of employment at the Okotoks Cinema have ranged from custodial duties to running the concession booth. All of these positions have been a source of income and pride as well as providing a sense of achievement and belonging to the clients of FAIMS  that are employed there. 

This is where relationships that exist with companies in High River, Okotoks, Strathmore and surrounding areas and FAIMS are of paramount importance in supporting  adults with developmental disabilities. This relationship enables these adults to be independent and contributing members of society.

As a  citizen of the Okotoks community, Dan Wilding, a FAIMS client and Okotoks Cinema employee, has experienced opportunities that have put him in positions of leadership. Wilding has been working at the cinema for nearly 4 years and not only does he know the facility inside and out, he now occupies a role of training new employees on what their tasks are and how to accomplish them.

On top of the skills he has learned, Wilding’s confidence and sense of belonging has skyrocketed. Couple that with the wage he earns and spends in his community, one can begin to understand the importance that employment plays in being part of a communities story. 

When asked why his company hires people from FAIMS, Schufele answered,

  “I don’t believe in hiring people, like from FAIMS, simply because it is a do-gooder or altruistic thing. That would be disingenuous and pandering to them. I very much like to employ people who are thankful for the job and are excited about their work, as well as seeing it as a real opportunity. Plus when you have people who are excited to be working  you get far better value for what you are paying.”

The work ethic and strong FAIMS support provided to all FAIMS clients, according to Schufele, has made his experience of employing clients from FAIMS a successful one.

Amber Wiggs, part of the Okotoks Cinema management team also notes,

 “It is important for Okotoks to know that the Okotoks Cinema is not only a unique theatre committed to the theatre goers experience, but also an inclusive employer and committed member of the community.”

FAIMS would like to thank Steve, Amber and Dave from the Okotoks Cinema management team for being such strong community supports and for being part of the FAIMS family.

FAIMS invites everyone in the Okotoks community to attend a show or two at the cinema and feel for yourself the energy of this special theatre that is concerned with the theatre goers experience and unlike the big box theatres truly is part of the Okotoks community.

Foothills Advocacy IMotion Society 

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