Citizens of Yellowknife have been taking to social media to sing the praises of Inclusion NWT’s Odd Job Squad.

“They help my mom a lot. They do a great service,” said Andrew Diveky in one online group.

“I have hired them for so many different jobs and I’ve never been disappointed,” said Azure DeGrow in another.

“Love the Odd Job Squad,” Victoria Lavers gushed.

Formed in 2018, the squad helps out community members by doing the ‘odd jobs’ that folks may not have time for in their day-to-day lives. This includes, but is not limited to, “mowing grass, raking and other yard work, snow shovelling, delivering small furniture, stacking wood” and more.

As well, the squad offers free lawn care and snow shovelling for those 65 and up in Yellowknife, Dettah, and Ndilo.

According to Lynn Elkin, executive director of Inclusion NWT, the pandemic altered the workforce.

“Prior to the pandemic lockdown, it was primarily one group of clients that we worked with who were all underemployed,” said Elkin. “They would sort of drop in each day, and would take whatever job sort of came along. We had some jobs, not a huge number, but we were starting to establish ourselves.

“As soon as the lockdown was finished and we were back in full force — able to start working around where other people were over a year ago — we realized we had a number of other individuals who were more than capable of this type of work, a lot of it physical outside work,” she said.

The workforce continued to grow — sending up to 25 people out to take on tasks each day — as did demand for its services.

“As word of mouth has gotten out there about the quality of the work and what we can provide, the work has grown, so that’s really fantastic,” Elkin said. “We can really guarantee that we will have people on a certain day and can book things in.”

Members of the Odd Job Squad receive earnings and make more than minimum wage, resulting in a positive impact on their lives.

Elkin and the squad appreciate the positive community response and hope to continue providing high-quality work.

“I think it means a lot to all of us,” she said. “Especially the individuals doing the work, and the staff that support them. It’s really great to know that the work that you’re doing is well received, that people feel you’re doing a good job. Many of our folks are underemployed or unemployed, and they don’t get that satisfaction that other people might get from going to a job and receiving that feedback. So, it is wonderful for people to say: ‘You did an excellent job at what we asked you to do.’”

The service’s name came about from a former Inclusion NWT manager, and Elkin felt it “really conveyed” who they were.

“This is about odd jobs,” she said. “It’s about those things that people need done and maybe can’t get someone else to do. It’s something where individuals can re-enter the workforce, they may have been out for one reason or another, maybe building those skills. Odd Jobs allows you to do that.”

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