Free Rein started out as a tiny company delivering workshops for unemployed people in Hope, BC. These workshops helped people with significant barriers to employment improve their life skills and determine a plan to become re-employed.
My colleagues, Christine Proulx and Hilary Kennedy, and I contracted and coordinated with specialists to present workshops on each of the life skills. We would sit in on the workshops, offering our ideas and participating alongside the clients. But the facilitators ran the workshops. At the same time, Christine and I attended university programs to develop skills in employability programming. In time we needed fewer specialists as our own capabilities grew.
When we were trying to create a name for our company, Christine saw the words free rein in the thesaurus while she was looking up synonyms for the word “independence”. She told us that when she was a child, growing up on a cattle farm, her father would tell the children that if they ever became lost on the range, they should give the horse a free rein and that it would find its way home.
This story and its associated metaphor struck our imaginations and we named the company Free Rein Associates.
Despite our limited understanding of employability, we formed a strong ideal which is reflected in our name. We wanted our clients to achieve independence from systems, people and thought processes that had held them back. We wanted to create an environment that was respectful to our clients and we saw ourselves as their ambassadors. We advocated for better services in the community and we sought to provide the best programming that could be delivered. We designed holistic programs that served the whole person and moved people closer to employment.
Free Rein Associates grew and is today a larger organization delivering a wide array of services to the community.