Strong, smart and sincere; Katy's Consignment Boutique 0
Doing what you love shouldn't be something anyone has to fight for.
That isn't true though, especially for the differently abled.
For local thrift store manager, Katy Webster, the abilities are vast. She does everything in her store, from sorting and pricing the new merchandise to checking out customers and using the debit machine to take payment. She also does it all with a smile.
For many people, that is a standard retail job. For Katy, it's empowering, because she has different abilities.
Katy is disabled, as most would call it. Her mother, Betty, found that she was also being held back by previous jobs. At the age of 34 she should have graduated from mopping, wiping tables or cleaning toilets, but with her disability in tow no one had given her the chance to use her many other skills.
So the pair took matters into their own hands, and purchased Katy's Consignment Boutique.
"We actually had talked about opening a coffee shop," said Betty, "but this was for sale at the time."
She explained that the criteria they were looking for was met: they wanted Katy to have access to the community and be able to use some of her other skills.
"We thought it was a really great way for Katy to have access to the community, and for the community to see her doing these things," said Betty. "I just felt that she could benefit from something a little more dignified."
For Katy, it was finally a place to call her own.
"We opened on June 6 of last year," said Katy. "I always wanted a store so I could have my own space . I am the manager, and it's really awesome."
That wasn't even the highlight though. Katy was thrilled to explain that she was recently awarded the Individual Leadership Award at the 2012 PDD (Persons with Developmental Disabilities) Calgary Region Community Leadership Awards.
"It was pretty good," said Katy, who never turns down a chance to be in the spotlight. "I was up there, smiling and posing for all the pictures."
Katy was nominated by fellow Hope Bridges board member Marvin Hilton. In his nomination letter he explains how Katy is an essential part of the Hope Bridges board and brings her amazing personality and insight into all discussions.
"Katy dedicated several hours per month to the work of Hope Bridges and does so with enthusiasm, authenticity and a caring heart," states the letter.
After receiving the award on June 28, Katy will now head off to the provincial level of the awards. She was also acknowledged and honoured by Strathmore Town Council at their regular meeting on July 4.
Right now, Katy continues on with everyday life though. She works every Tuesday through Thursday, and some Saturdays at the store located in the Leary Centre in Strathmore. Monday and Fridays she dedicates to her other activities, which include mostly recreational things like swimming. Katy said it's great to be so busy, and the regular customers to the store are glad to see her smiling face whenever she's in.
"This job challenges her," said Betty. "When you have a challenge you feel better as a human being."
That challenge won't likely stop anytime soon for Katy. The business is only getting busier, said Betty, and the relationships it nurtured for the community are growing right along with it.
"She's gaining a lot of respect in the community," said Betty.
"That's the goal."