On Friday, October 6th the Spunt & Carin team attended JEM Atelier for a tour and volunteer experience. JEM is a packaging factory which is an adapted workplace that provides employment to adults with different abilities. At the beginning of the tour, Maia Cooper, executive director informed our team that the workshop will exceed any expectations we may hold. The experience at JEM was a deeply meaningful and eye – opening experience for the Spunt & Carin team, many of our team members described their time at JEM as “heart – warming,” “profound,” and “extraordinary.”
The JEM team gave us a warm welcome and we set to work learning about the individuals, what they do and how they do it. We sat one – on – one with the employees at JEM and helped with their packaging and labelling tasks. Sitting one – on – one with the employees gave our team members the opportunity to see and hear about the impact adaptive workplaces have on the individuals who work there.
Following the volunteer experience, we had a debrief and many of our team members were touched by how welcoming and genuine the employees were. Adaptive workplaces like JEM provide employment opportunities for those who may not have any other opportunities. What we witnessed at JEM was truly a reduced stress environment, while there are deadlines and objectives to be met the leadership at JEM is willing to adapt to the abilities of the employees. JEM is a very supportive workplace, and we witnessed a close-knit staff. The work that JEM is doing is very important, they are actively helping to defeat the stigma towards individuals with different abilities.
Our team at Spunt & Carin truly valued our time at JEM. Collectively, we feel JEM is a place that needs to be shared and many of our team members felt that the volunteer experience is something that everyone should try. The entire team at Spunt & Carin, says thank you to Maia, Daniela and the JEM team for hosting us!
Here are a few testimonials of our team members that attended JEM:
- Ayompe, a paralegal at Spunt & Carin stated “it is not usually common to see peoples’ genuine smiles and all I saw at JEM was genuine smiles. I think it’s a good initiative for adaptive workplaces like JEM to have volunteer experiences like this because not only does it have a positive impact on us as visitors, but it makes the workers, who are sometimes looked down on feel loved and supported. Most people think of the workers at adaptive workplaces as having disabilities or limitations.” Ayompe also shared an interesting saying he had seen on a t – shirt, “don’t diss my abilities.”
- Carla, an attorney at Spunt & Carin, noted that the least interesting thing about the people who work at JEM is their disabilities. She said, “when you start talking to the employees and working with them you forget you’re talking to people with neurodiverse differences.” When she spoke to the individuals, they just had a normal conversation, and their neurodiverse differences disappeared.
- Spunt & Carin receptionist, Elizabeth said she loved the intention of JEM to provide their employees with autonomy and a chance to be seen.