By: Alycia Ambroziak
Light a Dream began in 1999 as a candle-making business designed to give training and vocational opportunities to young adults living with development delays. But it has grown to be so much more than that.
It’s like a second home for almost 20 young people who hand-make candles, soaps and flavoured lip balms and it also has expanded into a gift shop, with art work – much of it made by the young students – picture frames, hand-made gift bags, wedding and baby items and much, much more, all at affordable prices.
Light a Dream also takes custom orders – for example, the team was busy making candles for a memorial service last week – and offers workshops to community groups such as Sparks and Girl Guides and even caters to birthday parties.
“The parties are a lot of work but it’s also a lot of fun,” Jeremy To, a Light a Dream alumni who still volunteers at the homey shop located at 475 Dumont, just off Herron Road in Dorval.
Because of his experience at Light a Dream, To got an internship at a Tim Horton’s next door and that has turned into a three day a week regular job.
But he always finds the time to volunteer at least one day a week at Light a Dream.
“I was a little nervous when I first came here but I learned a lot – and I still enjoy being part of the group,” he said.
Light a Dream is a non-profit organization and is an essential part of the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s cooperative education program for students aged 18-21. Light a Dream is an initiative which is sponsored in part by West Island Community Shares, and serves as a primary work skills training site to bring together education and industry in an effort to better prepare students for a successful vocational future.
Through a mix of classroom experiences and hands-on training in a variety of job placements, Light a Dream develops their work and social skills and expands the students’ career choice opportunities.
Chelsea Pollock is in her second year of the three-year program and says she enjoys the experience, some things more than others.
“I like making candles, the soap not as much,” she said noting that besides crafting candles of all sizes and shapes, of different waxes and scents and colours, students also learn to operate the cash, choose and place items in the gift shop and even keep the place clean, which is not an easy job considering that melted wax does tend to drip on the work top and even the floor.
Student Jessica Sauve, also in her second year at the program, said what she likes most is the social aspect of the job.
“I like working with people,” she said as her fellow students Rachel Leduc and Zach Arsenault worked in the store.
Diana Zuleeg-Crawford, the store manager at Light a Dream, said the store is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and will soon be open Saturdays and evenings during the holiday period.
“We also participate in craft fairs – in Dollard on Nov. 17 and 18 and have travelled to various craft and holiday fairs in such places as Alexandria and Cornwall, Vankleek Hill in Ontario and to Laval and Greenfield Park,” she said.
As well, at Light a Dream will be hosting an anniversary event on Dec. 5 from 4 to 9 p.m. This event is open to the public. “Entrance is free but we do hope that people will purchase something once they see what we have to offer,” she said adding that a fundraising Casino and Auction Night to benefit Light a Dream will also take place on Nov. 15 at the Beaconsfield Golf Club in Pointe Claire.
“Our students will be there and it is really a fun night with appetizers, casino dollars, door prizes and attendees will get an official tax receipt,” she said, noting the cost for the Casino and Auction night is $30.
For information about Light a Dream and any of the upcoming events, call 514-636-9966 or online at lightadream.eventbright.ca/