RMACL’s Ridge Meadows Enterprises: not your everyday landscaping business
The Ridge Meadows Association for Community Living (RMACL) is no stranger to our community. Receiving its funding through Community Living BC – the RMACL empowers those with developmental disabilities to live engaging lives within our communities, while providing a supporting framework for individuals, their families, and care givers. With a wide range of programs and initiatives ranging from: residential and home sharing services – to – employment and community service – to – family support and respite – the RMACL fills an vital role in Maple Ridge.
One of the more unique programs that falls under the umbrella of RMACLS employment and community services is ‘Ridge Meadows Enterprises’ (RME). RME offers affordable landscaping and waste disposal to the residents of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, while simultaneously creating a tremendous opportunity for those employed by the program.
According to the RMACL annual report Connected to the Community this program is:
A co-operative approach allow[ing] all participants to be included in the process of owning and running their own business. The business allows for 20 individuals to participate in…profit sharing…[receiving] revenue from various areas including lawn care (lawn cutting , weeding, cleaning) composting sales, residential garbage pick up, downtown Maple Ridge core contracts (litter pick up, plant maintenance, watering). All of the proceeds from the sales of products and services go to profit sharing where the participants earn income.
In 2003 the Maple Ridge Community Foundation (MRCF) had the opportunity to assist in this very worthwhile program. On behalf of our donors we provided a grant in the amount of $1000 to help with the purchase of much needed tools and equipment.
In speaking with Roger Larmor, Director of Employment and Community Services for RMACL he further echoes the valuable impact of this program. Via email he shares positive feedback from the office of the Mayor praising how this work is “really meaningful” and how it is “really cool the…larger contingent of people with disabilities [that] do work for [the community and municipality].”
When asked what sort of Impact this program has, Roger replies enthusiastically – “a big one!” And grants such as MRCFs “allow for this great work to continue in the community.” In fact, they allow for the replacement of equipment which is a necessity “otherwise RMACL must do so – and [considering] all other expenses this can get costly.”
By supporting organizations such as the RMACL we are truly impacting the lives of those who rely on their services. Furthermore, innovative programs such as the RME landscaping and waste disposal offer affordable access to landscaping services for the residents of Maple Ridge, and give those with developmental disabilities meaningful, self-sustaining business and work experience.
Story by Aaron Theilade