Funky furniture fuels excitement for group

Funky furniture fuels excitement for group

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Getting ready for Saturday’s opening are, from left, Adrian Baptiste, program manager Tara Hovanes, program assistant Garry Doll, and Peter Cooley. Above, Baptiste works on a stool. Lyonel Doherty photo
Getting ready for Saturday’s opening are, from left, Adrian Baptiste, program manager Tara Hovanes, program assistant Garry Doll, and Peter Cooley. Above, Baptiste works on a stool.   Lyonel Doherty photo
Getting ready for Saturday’s opening are, from left, Adrian Baptiste, program manager Tara Hovanes, program assistant Garry Doll, and Peter Cooley. Above, Baptiste works on a stool.
Lyonel Doherty photo

painted chair 1A “colourful” new program in Oliver is making a big difference in the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities.

The proof is in the pride emanating from individuals like Adrian Baptiste as he proudly sands down a stool awaiting a funky new look at “The Painted Chair.”

Baptiste is one of several people involved in turning upcycled wood furniture into vibrant, art-deco like works of art.

The program is an extension of Hovanes Community Services Ltd., which provides services to developmentally disabled adults and children. For 25 years Ron and Tara Hovanes (and their employees) have helped individuals with job skills, physical fitness, commerce, community inclusion and life stills.

The agency brainstormed how it could help these individuals even more by boosting their self-worth and esteem, hence, The Painted Chair.

Clients make upcycled wood furniture and sell quality used clothing at 5857 Sawmill Road (red warehouse building). All of the profits made at the shop go back to the individuals as income.

The grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, June 8 from 9 am to noon. The shop is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 am to noon.

“It has given them (our clients) a sense of purpose, and it has given us a new spark in what we do,” said Ron.

He pointed out that community inclusiveness for individuals with developmental disabilities is crucial, and The Painted Chair provides that.

For example, individuals learn transferable job skills by making furniture and dealing with the public. They go home happy and dirty, with money in their pocket; income they’ve made on their own.

“It’s way better than a hand-out,” Ron said.

Tara noted this opportunity is making the individuals they serve more saleable in the community.

All of the furniture and clothing is donated, thanks to groups like the Kiwanis Club. Once clients get their hands on a chair or a stool, they strip it down, sand it, and turn it into a funky piece of furniture for a good price.

The clothing boutique features tops, dresses, shirts and tons of baby outfits, all at thrift store prices.

“We want this to be a vibrant place for the workers and the public,” Ron said, noting he’s confident the community will help make a difference in these people’s lives.

Lyonel Doherty

Oliver Chronicle

 

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