Affirmative Industries

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This Profile of Effective Practice is one of fifteen stories examining how innovative, community-based initiatives are using comprehensive approaches to improve social and economic conditions on a local level.

In Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, in the late 1980s, on a Psychiatric ward of the Nova Scotia Hospital, a young Psychologist working with 20 patients was using traditional methods of behavioral interventions to help patients re-integrate into the community. Results were poor, with very few - if any - of the patients developing the skills necessary to live outside the institution. Dr. Norman Greenberg was challenged by this and decided to try something different. He imagined that if the hospital provided a work setting with appropriate supports, there could be an opportunity for new skills to be developed in non-institutional settings. The theory was that if the environment was new and individuals liked the environment, they would respond with willingness and excitement towards this learning opportunity. Based on the philosophy that everyone could contribute if provided the right opportunity and supports, a journey began that uses work, business and skills building to help people integrate into society.