Who we are

A community where everybody belongs

Our Stories

wdds stories person in baseball cap

Justin, age 24, is no stranger to hard work. Having been employed at Yard Basics for (4) four years, Justin works with a crew completing yard maintenance in the Woodstock area. Justin is skilled in understanding machinery and technology, and this year Justin landed a labourer position at E. Solutions in Ingersoll. Initially his job was 2-3 hours twice a week sorting electrical materials. From there, he expanded to (1) one full day a week along with his job at Yard Basics. Justin is in charge of skid inventory, breaking down, sorting and recycling used electrical materials. When speaking to Evan, owner of E. Solutions, he states that Justin is “one of the best worker I have.”

wdds stories fishing photo

For Mark A. aged 54, some of his favourite childhood memories include climbing trees and picking oranges in the heat of Bangladesh with his brothers and reenacting Olympic events by racing against his father in Olympia, Greece. For most, these are not typical childhood memories, however Mark has travelled to corners of the world many often dream of.

Born in Malawi, Africa, Mark and his family frequented countries like England, France, Greece, India, Thailand and Malaysia – to name a few. A well-worn photo album captures an array of happy family moments amongst beaches of India, smiles aboard Gondolas in Venice, and Christmas’ spent here in Woodstock. Having had seemingly caught the travel bug as a child, Mark continues to explore.

Travelling independently to visit with family and friends in England, New York, Washington and Alaska, Mark continues to plan trips in his spare time. For his next trip Mark would like to visit Kenya to see some old friends.

people company sign cut and sew co

Cut & Sew Co. is one of several micro businesses that has roots tied to WDDS. Deb, Nancy, Shantelle, Sandy and Ashley create handmade sewn items. From baby bibs, shawls, reusable lunch bags to scarves and kid’s clothing; these ambitious women work diligently to meet their orders. When speaking to Nancy, “I felt nervous at first. I learned how to sew with my Mom and also took a sewing class when I was younger.” Baby bibs are Nancy’s favourite pattern to sew. When asked what she’d like to learn next, Nancy answered, “I like to learn more about how to sew on a sewing machine.” Cut & Sew Co. educates on self-reliance, promotes innovation and maintains a positive and rewarding work environment. Feelings of losing one’s job, and purpose have been renewed with feelings of opportunity and possibility. When asked about her future sewing goals, Nancy explained she would like to make her own clothes. The renovation of ARC Industries paves the way for future success stories like that of Cut & Sew Co.

person in hoody smiling

Thirty-one-year-old Lynsey is a fun-loving and spirited young woman who moved out of her parents’ home into her own home, sharing with four (4) other ladies, at the age of twenty-six. While Lynsey and her roommates shared common interests, something was missing. Lynsey recalls wishing to make her own meals, to do her own laundry and to have her own set of keys. In short, Lynsey longed for independence. While setting the goal to move into her own apartment was an easy decision, Lynsey had a lot of work ahead of her. Lynsey took classes to learn how to live on her own. She learned street safety and worked on her cooking skills. She learned about her community’s resources and how to use public transportation. She practiced budgeting, meal preparation and laundry. “I set a goal for myself to live independently.” Today, Lynsey has her own apartment and travels independently using para-transit. She continues to work on her life skills at her Options classes. When asked how she got to where she is now, Lynsey replies “well it’s because of me and because of my staff. I feel like I accomplished my goal with their help. I have my freedom. Now I’m where I want to be”.