Caring to Work - Skill Development Program

Nourishing Hearts

Julie Casey MSW, RSW

Wellness Care Farm


Nourishing Hearts Wellness Care Farm's "Caring to Work" program provides high quality, engaging skill development opportunities for people with an intellectual disability that aims to enhance job-ready, social and life skills while also developing and building on strengths and supporting community participation.

The objectives are to:

  • Support people to set and achieve individual goals
  • Support young people with transition into adult life
  • Build on current skills and assist people to learn new skills
  • Encourage people to maintain and develop peer relationships
  • Provide people with choices and access to a wide range of activities and life experiences
  • Help people to transition to supported employment by helping them to gain the skills needed to be prepared for work


Nourishing Hearts helps people to discover the different types of work available, gain an understanding of the duties they may be asked to carry out, what they can expect and how they should conduct themselves in the work place.


This includes:

  • Building skills for work
  • Understanding a workplace
  • Being safe at work
  • Problem solving at work
  • Communicating at work


This can include expanding on the skills people have built at school, by setting achievable and individualized goals in collaboration with parents and or carers. If good progress is made, additional supported work may be arranged in one of Nourishing Hearts' social enterprises. If participants decide they don’t want to transition to additional supported employment, we can still help to build skills in an inclusive environment, where people can also develop lasting friendships.


Employment Supports - Work to Care


Ontario Employment Support Program  (http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/odsp/info_sheets/employment_supports.aspx)

You may be eligible, if you:

  • are 16 years of age or older
  • live in Ontario
  • are legally allowed to work in Canada, and
  • have a physical or mental disability that is expected to last a year or more, making it hard for you to find or keep a job


Participation in employment supports is voluntary.

If you are currently receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) income support and are interested in getting help from ODSP employment supports, talk to your ODSP caseworker.

If you are a person with a disability who is not currently receiving ODSP income support, you can still apply for ODSP employment supports at your local ODSP office.


Work-Related Benefit

ODSP will give participants $100 each month when at minimum 1 hour of paid employment has been completed. Nourishing Hearts has creatively designed a Work to Care individual and group options that utilizes the Work-Related Benefits to fund care farming participation that  aims to enhance job-ready, social and life skills while also developing and building on strengths and supporting community participation. Nourishing Hearts will hire participants for 1 hour paid employment at $15 per hour. The paid employment provides an opportunity:

  • To utilize the skills learned in the care farming programming
  • Earn paid employment in a supportive environment
  • Access work-related benefits to fund further learning 


Paid Work Opportunities Include:

  • Animal care
  • Horticulture
  • Landscape maintenance
  • Wildlife conservation
  • Market vegetable farming and sales
  • Woodworking
  • Felting


Option 1: Individual

Weekly 2 hour sessions (10am-12 or 1-3pm) - $35 per month for 8 hours participation

Week 1: 2 hr session (1 hour/per month paid work @ $15 hr plus 1 hour free recreation)

  • Access to $100 Work-Related Benefit to fund participation

Week 2:  2 hr session - $50 
Week 3:  2 hr session - $50 
Week 4:  2 hr session - $50 

Cost to Participant: $35 out of pocket
($150 minus $100 Work-Related Benefit, minus $15 paid work)


Option 2: Group (5 participants)

Weekly 2 hour sessions (10am-12 or 1-3pm) - $35 per month for 8 hours participation

Week 1 - 2 hr session (1 hour/per month paid work @ $15 hr plus 1 hour free recreation)

  • Access $100 Work-Related Benefit to fund participation

Week 2:  2 hr session - $50 
Week 3:  2 hr session - $50 
Week 4:  2 hr session - $50 

Cost to Participant: $35 out of pocket
($150 minus $100 Work-Related Benefit, minus $15 paid work)



Option 3: ​Group (5 participants)

Weekly Full Day (5 hour sessions 10am - 3pm) - $185/month for 20 hours  participation

Week 1: 3 hr session (1 hour/per month paid work @ $15 hr plus 4 hours free recreation)

  • Access $100 Work-Related Benefit to fund care farm participation

Week 2:  5 hr session - $100 
Week 3:  5 hr session - $100 
Week 4:  5 hr session - $100 

Cost to Participant: $185 out of pocket
($300 program fee minus $100 Work-Related Benefit, minus $15 paid work)


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