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Celebrating World Down Syndrome Day 2014 with Paul Knoll and CMHC

paul-wdsdWorld Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. LiveWorkPlay directly supports about 100 individuals with various intellectual disability labels, including people who have Down syndrome.
This year LiveWorkPlay member Paul Knoll, along with two of his colleagues at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), were celebrated for 20 years of employment. Paul has prepared this story especially for LiveWorkPlay.

My Career

by Paul Knoll

After receiving the opportunity to participate in a training program, I started my career at CMHC in 1994 and my current job is to be the clerk for our finance department.

Over the years my job has changed. For example, in the old days, there was lots of mail for me to pick up and deliver. Today many people use e-mail so I don’t have as much mail so my job changed and I learned new skills. Now I do many different types jobs including stocking the printers with paper, taking care of the office supplies, preparing papers for shedding and recycling Tim Hortons cups.

I love getting new tasks to do, and I think it is exciting and interesting. My favourite job that never changed is organizing and raising money through our annual United Way Ottawa campaign.

Over 20 years I have had many good times and some hard times with my work. My co-workers, my supervisor and Human Resources take time to help me learn so I can be successful in my career. I appreciate them because my job at CMHC helps me to have a good life.

In recognition of World Down Syndrome Day we would like to thank Paul Knoll for sharing his story. Maybe his story is a lot like the summary of your own career. Paul started doing one type of work, but times changed, supervisors came and went, and he has enjoyed the benefits of his workplace and also struggled at times with the pressures of change. We think that’s a great way to mark our observance of WDSD 2014. It’s not about what is “different” about people with Down syndrome. It’s about what is the same: they are unique individuals just like the rest of us – who bring their own talents and personalities to workplaces and communities.

Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition, exists in all regions across the globe and commonly results in variable effects on learning styles, physical characteristics or health. People with Down syndrome are active contributors in all aspects of community life. Neighbours, co-workers, teammates, leaders, family members, spouses, parents, and friends are just some of the roles that are associated with people with Down syndrome in our communities.