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What’s your dream? Triangle Community Resources

November 8, 2012

Writing about non-profits is a trip through a goodwill thesaurus. ‘Passionate, enthusiastic, dedicated, caring, compassionate, inspiring, motivating, giving, kind, motivated, generous’ are words I use to describe what non-profits and volunteers do for others. How people help others and the positive impact this has on those who give. I want to share with you the kinds of big-hearted things the staff of Triangle Community Resources and Brian Chiasson, its owner, have done for their clients over the years.

The story starts with his staff, a dedicated and caring group. When I interviewed Lorraine Murdoch, Team Leader for Triangle, she said she was hooked when she had to lead a class one day. She found her passion that day and she looks for the same heart and compassion when she hires her staff, people who tend to stay a long time with Triangle. When I met with Lorraine, she had recently been to a wedding of one of Triangle’s clients, a client who calls her “Momma”.

Triangle works with people who have multiple barriers to employment. Triangle helps them develop work skills and life skills that will bring, for many, their first real success in life. Brian tells me about what happens behind the scenes. That first year of Triangle’s operation, in Maple Ridge, when Brian asked his students what they were doing for Christmas and eight of the 12 had no plans. Brian felt that couldn’t be allowed and so started a tradition of free Christmas dinners for all the Triangle offices. Rising in time to a thousand or more clients, families and staff attending, all paid by Brian personally because he felt it was important.

The students that he has paid tuition for, then driven to school to make sure they got there. Some of whom later ended up working for him. The young man who Brian asked “what’s your dream?” The man replied “I want to work for MuchMusic” and, with guidance and determination, he achieved his improbable dream. Another man who used to work for a railway but ended up not being able to work for many years. This very shy man went on to BCIT and became an environmental scientist; he just needed someone to believe in him.

The many clients who come back to talk, who bring their families with them and want to show off their graduation pictures that are in the many photo albums in the office. The DVDs that are made during classes, that the students get at the end so they can see their progress. Graduations with pizza, families welcomed and proud. Haircuts that are paid for, clothes that are bought from Value Village from time to time or obtained through Dress for Success, Vancouver. The tradition of graduation plaques that started when a father wanted to honour his son and offered to put all the certificates onto plaques. A tradition that has continued. The intangibles that the student takes away and the good feelings that stay behind.

Persistent is another adjective that I would pin on Brian. He took his own experiences and built Triangle upon his beliefs of how people could best be helped. And he didn’t rest until he convinced others, including governments, that his ideas worked.

Brian says, “I started Triangle because I want to make a difference. I want to inspire and motivate people to achieve success….. it is a shared reward.” Interestingly, after publishing my last blog about Brian, I received an email from a reader who reported that her friend credits Brian and Triangle with her brother’s recovery. Read some of the testimonials on the Triangle website to see how much a difference it has made to so many people and please read the comments below the last blog post and in particular the comment from Marlisse. They show the impact of one man, one group, one vision. If you know of someone who has benefitted from Triangle, I would love to hear from you.

Please come back to visit.

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