Humanities degree helps Briercrest alum in his occupation

Posted: February 3, 2014

As Jordan Varey steps into his new position as executive director at Menno Homes of Saskatchewan Inc., he is grateful for the education he received at Briercrest.

“The humanities degree at Briercrest prepared me to go into different situations and to be prepared to think critically. We were taught to look at life through a variety of lenses so we could come into a situation and think about all the different things it will impact and the ripple effects,” the 2008 graduate explained.

“Also, we learned about narrative and story through reading literature, which is so important in people’s lives. What I do now is sort of like reading people’s lives and then becoming part of their stories, so all those skills I learned from Briercrest have been amazing. It helps me do my job every day and I am grateful for the education I received there.”

The organization, which was founded by the Mennonite Central Committee, works with people who have intellectual disabilities.

“Menno Homes is big, so we have over 140 employees and we serve roughly 70 people with intellectual disabilities. Currently we have 11 group homes and we run a number of vocational programs. We have two SARCAN depots, and a day program that is activities and crafts,” he explained.

“And then we have a really successful business called The Wooden Needle - a retail store where we sell handmade folk art and wood art kind of things. The things sold there come from carpenters who work in the woodshop with participants with disabilities. Together they make the (merchandise).”

Varey, who stepped into his new role this past November, said that while he is slightly intimidated at times at the enormity of his job, he is very excited at the opportunities his new position holds.

“I am really looking forward to learning more about myself and about leadership,” he explained.

“I am also looking forward to being a part of the next chapter of Menno Homes. They have a 50-year history and they have done so many good things, but I am excited to be a part of the next chapter, and I think a big part of that chapter, in my mind, is to explore and then demonstrate what it looks like to live this sort of thing, and provide these types of services, from a Christian worldview.”

As executive director, the Briercrest alum is responsible for the daily ins and outs of running Menno Homes.

“I oversee the operation of the organization and I am responsible to a board. I oversee Menno Homes as a whole, anything from financial management to people management to visioning. I guide the agency as a whole,” Varey said.

Since starting his job, Varey said he has really enjoyed being in a community where he can openly share and explore his faith.

“One of the highlights has been to move into a place like Briercrest. It was because of my time in the small Christian community at Caronport that I was able to recognize the value of a tightknit community and was able to decide to move to Waldheim,” he explained.

“Here they are really open about their faith as well, and it is great to be in a place like that again.”