Atelier Beausoleil, in operation since 1974, has seen a shift in community acceptance
Atelier Beausoleil, founded in 1974, is a government–funded centre for adults with special needs. The workshop is housed in an old school building in Fairisle, near Neguac.
“Twenty–five years ago, we were going into the community, we used to have faces and different looks,” said Lola Rousselle, director of Atelier Beausoleil.
“But now we go into the community with the clients, and we are so welcome.”
When Rousselle started at the atelier, some clients had eight “crises” a day. Now, “it’s very rare.”
Jobs of all kinds
The workshop has contracts with several businesses in Neguac, including two restaurants.
“I count napkins and put them in a box,” said Susanne Robichaud, at work on one of the contracts.
The clients at Atelier Beausoleil wrap rubber elastics around plastic forks, knives and napkins, to be used by hungry diners.
In the downstairs wood shop, other clients sand stocking–shaped pieces of wood. Upstairs, stockings are painted red and green, and monogrammed according to Christmas orders.
Some clients volunteer in the community. Susanne Robichaud cleans at a daycare in Neguac. She has also secured outside employment at the local Tim Hortons.
“To see the smile on their face when they go to work, it’s amazing,” said Jeanne Breau, an intervention counsellor. “And they don’t like to miss a day at the job.”
An annual banquet, held in April, showcases Atelier Beausoleil’s work in the community.
“They appreciate every single thing that you do,” said Rousselle of her clients.
Last year, for the first time ever, the banquet was sold out. The community, it seems, appreciates them right back.