Many people don’t pay attention when opportunity knocks. Tanya Loria paid full attention, turning a small opportunity into a big accomplishment.
Although Loria has an intellectual disability, she recently received her Level One certificate from the B-Pro Dog Grooming Academy and is now working at Fancy Furs Dog Grooming.
Loria was given the chance to attend B-Pro by Alliance Personnel, a division of Brampton Caledon Community Living, a government supported agency that aims to help people with intellectual disabilities lead fulfilling and enriched lives.
“There’s a stigma out there that people with intellectual disabilities aren’t capable of regular employment and other aspects of normal life,” said Sharon Lennie of Alliance Personnel. “A lot of times it’s about giving people a chance. Once they get that chance, most take it as their opportunity to shine. Tanya’s case is terrific because she chose to take the leap and attend grooming school to develop her skills.”
Christine Trajkovski, Loria’s employer at Fancy Furs, has seen first-hand that any negative perception of people with special needs is far from the reality.
“Even though Tanya has what people call an intellectual disability, she’s a great worker who catches on to anything I teach her very quickly,” said Trajkovski.
Loria’s interest in dog grooming grew from her love of animals and her experiences with her own dog at home. She saw attending grooming school as a challenge, but took each obstacle in stride.
“With me having special needs, I have to work harder than anyone else,” said Loria. “Fancy Furs really helped me a lot. I’m very thankful to them for giving me a chance.”
Like Loria, her mom, Tiziana Loria, is grateful for Tanya’s opportunities.
“Everybody deserves to do something useful in life,” said Tiziana. “I’m sure there’s a lot of parents of kids with special needs who get to a point where they don’t know what to do - but Brampton Caledon Community Living has done a lot to help people with special needs and their parents move forward, helping them accomplish things with their lives.”
Barb Hodgkinson, owner of B-Pro Dog Grooming Academy, echoes the sentiment that people with special needs deserve to be given a chance to contribute any way they can to society.
“A lot of people give up easily on this group of society, but I’d take 20 of Tania any day. She’s very artistic and articulate, and always has a smile on her face. She’s a real sweetheart, I’m very proud of her,” said Hodgkinson.
Tiziana doesn’t see Tanya’s employment as the only reward for attending school.
“The fact she didn’t realize she could accomplish so much but did, is great. It’s given her an opportunity to see she can accomplish things on her own,” said Tiziana.
Not one to turn down a challenge, Tanya is now looking forward to going for her Level Two at B-Pro in the fall.
The following article appeared on June 12, 2002 in the Brampton Guardian and was written by Jeff Beer, Staff Writer.
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