The Greater Moncton Association of Community Living has launched a mentorship program aimed at helping individuals with disabilities learn new work and independent living skills.

"We still are living in a stigma that people with learning exceptionalities need so much support and so much care and that we don't realize that a lot of our individuals have so much potential and they can be contributory members in our community as well," said Sharon Warren, the pre-employment facilitator for the association. 

The volunteer mentors will help individuals with life skills, job skills and skills for independent living.  Warren says they don't need experience, just a background check to get going and the association will provide training. 

Sharon Warren

Sharon Warren, pre-employment facilitator with the Greater Moncton Association of Community Living. (Kashmala Fida/CBC)

The mentor's role varies with each individual. It can range from teaching someone French to helping someone use the public transit system in the area. 

Shane McClusky is a student at the University of Moncton, and is taking part in the program as part of an internship.

"It gives you a sense of real world, what it's like out there. Especially with people with disabilities. It gives you a sense of knowing that you are helping someone."

McClosky is helping people learn to navigate the Moncton transit system and says he's learning a lot too. 

"I would say that's the main thing, to adapt yourself for the people you work [with] because usually you need a little bit more patience but you get the hang of it after a while," he said.

The association is looking for volunteers for their Mentorship Matters program on forums such as Kijiji, and is reaching out to other organizations like Best Buddies and schools and universities. 

Currently there are six mentors in the program.