Lorraine Brown

Hello everybody! My name is Lorraine Brown and I am the Executive Director with Mariner Resource Opportunities Network Inc. in Carbonear. Originally from Glovertown, I now live in Whiteway with my husband. Together we have 4 children and 7 grandchildren.

Originally one of 20 Regional Economic Development Boards (REDBs), MRON, as we are commonly referred to, quickly became a leader in the area of social and economic development for the Baccalieu Trail region and continues to flourish long after the discontinuation of funding to REDBs. In 2004, we were approached by the Provincial Government to implement the Supported Employment Services program; hence the beginning of my time working alongside persons with developmental/intellectual disabilities. I began working with MRON in 1995 and was offered the position of Executive Director in February of 2013. I will have my 23rd anniversary with our organization in October of this year. While our main focus today is the Supported Employment Services program, we do offer employment readiness programs for other members of our population including youth and older workers from time to time. We also have a Housing Support Worker on staff that assists individuals with complex needs who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The health and well-being of the client population we serve is paramount to their success in employment and stable housing and as such I was very pleased to be asked to serve as a member of the Eastern Regional Wellness Steering Committee (ERWC).

On a professional level, MRON staff hold various workshops for our clients throughout the year and incorporate healthy living initiatives into these workshops. We believe that a healthy individual will be a more productive employee and as such take every opportunity to help our clients succeed in the workplace and indeed their personal life. Many members of our staff are committed volunteers within our respective communities. In the past, I have been chair of the Whiteway Recreation Committee, Chairperson of the Upper Trinity South Navy League, Councillor and Deputy Mayor of the Town of Whiteway, Chairperson of the 1995 Come Home Year Committee, Board Member of the Upper Trinity South Development Association and the list goes on and on. Since having a health scare in 2009, I have taken more of an interest in my own health and wellbeing and have somewhat slowed down my involvement in the community, choosing only to take on the role of Treasurer with the Whiteway Heritage Society. While this is my only official volunteer role, I often sing at various benefits for persons who are sick and at coffee houses in the local area, and I am often called upon to perform Master of Ceremony duties at various events. I am an avid fundraiser for the Annual NL Breast Cancer Conference a cause very dear to my heart.

The ERWC has resources that our organization can use to help our staff in their work with our clients. The Coalition is a great place to gather ideas for workshops and is certainly a benefit to us. I would encourage all community groups to become a member of the Coalition and utilize the resources available to them. My piece of advice to other community groups is to keep persons with disabilities in mind when planning your projects and events. All too often, many of us take the opportunities before us for granted and the same opportunities are not afforded to persons with disabilities by unintentional exclusion. In the words of Milton Berle “If opportunity doesn’t knock…..build a door”. That’s what we do at MRON, build doors for our clients to walk through. Let’s walk through those doors hand in hand.

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