Since 1970, Cosmopolitan Industries in Saskatoon has had life-changing impacts on countless people.
The social enterprise currently supports more than 400 adults living with intellectual disabilities and offers a number of programs from life enrichment to work opportunities.
Now the organization is expanding its reach — celebrating the opening of not one, but two new locations.
“We know there’s a need in the community to expand and we are really thrilled to have that opportunity,” Cosmo executive director Sharlene Duquette said on Wednesday.
The existing Cosmo day program in Market Mall is now double in size and can support an additional ten people. The focus at this location remains job skill training.
“They send participants out into the community to work on projects for employers,” said board member Kevin Lucas.
“It trains them and gives them the possibility that maybe someday they will graduate into a permanent job.”
Lucas has a 24-year-old daughter with an intellectual disability who takes advantage of Cosmo programming.
“It allows her to have a place to go every day that has a meaningful purpose,” he said.
“She’s made several friends — she’s even made a social connection with a young man where they go to movies together.”
At the other new location on Acadia Drive, 20 participants can benefit from programs geared towards socializing and recreation.
“We’ve got the community garden, we’re volunteering at places, we want to connect to the schools — we’re right across from Sherbrooke,” Duquette said. “We want to develop more ongoing partnerships.”
“It doesn’t matter where you are, each program at Cosmo is unique,” she added.
The Saskatchewan government provides more than $8 million in funding to Cosmopolitan Industries every year.
They kicked in $20,000 for the program in Market Mall and provided $120,000 to cover start-up costs at the Acadia Drive location.
As for Lucas, he said he’s proud of his daughter’s growth during her first year in the program.
“It’s given her a sense of independence and a sense that she can go out into the community and do some things that parents just can’t do for their children,” he said.
“I know she plans on being here for a long time.”