The 15th annual Rotary Tip ’n Taste returns to Coast Hotel and Convention Centre on July 8. This year’s event will benefit LACL.

The 15th annual Rotary Tip ’n Taste returns to Coast Hotel and Convention Centre on July 8. This year’s event will benefit LACL.

Rotary Club Tip ’n Taste returns for 15th year

Annual festival for beer aficionados will benefit Langley Association for Community Living's youth employment program

Samples from more than 20 breweries and dozens of sumptuous culinary treats prepared by some of Langley’s finest restaurants await at the 15th annual Rotary Tip ‘n Taste happening Friday, July 8 from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Cascades Casino.

Taste a good IPA, lager or ale made by local craft brewers, or sip wine and cider, paired with plenty of delicious nibbles and bites while listening to the music of Brett Wade.

The fundraiser has become a popular tradition for Langleyites, with the event usually selling out.

Net proceeds go to a local charity each year, with more than $200,000 raised over the past decade and a half.

This year’s chosen charity is Langley Association for Community Living (LACL) and their youth employment program. Traditionally, LACL has matched employers and adults with disabilities who are seeking paid work. But in 2011, staff noticed that youth aged 16 to 19 weren’t engaging in employment and were, in effect, ”excluded from this transition in life to employment,” said Annette Borrows, employment strategy manager.

“The first year we secured 14 jobs for youth. Three of them became permanent positions,” said Borrows. “Since that first year, 95 youth have secured jobs, many staying on with the employer.”

LACL staff match the needs of the employer with the skill sets of the youth, from warehouse work, customer service, to contract jobs and data entry, she said.

“This is not a charity job, this is a real job. It has to be a win-win to work, and that’s what we’ve done. The employer diversifies their workforce and gets a return on their investment and the youth is a contributing member to society and to that workforce,” said Borrows.

“The community needs to see the capabilities of people with special needs, they can and do contribute. I believe there is a job for everyone.”

While LACL has secured grants and government funding in the past, they weren’t sure how they were going to fund this year’s employment program.

“That’s where we approached the Rotary, and because of the Tip ‘n Taste we are able to help at least 10 students graduating this year and looking for work,” she said.

Burrows encourages employers to stop by their booth at the Tip ‘n Taste and see what the program is all about. They also want to thank all the employers who have come forward over the past five years.

LACL offers a range of programs and services to around 400 children and youth with special needs and adults with developmental disabilities.

Services include family respite and support, adult respite, a full range of residential supports including staffed homes, home sharing and supported living, community inclusion, personal network development and supported and customized employment.

While the association has 250 full-time and part-time employees, it still struggles to meet demand for its varied services.

According to its last annual report, the increased need is due to the population growth in Langley, the transition of youth to adult services and individuals specifically requesting the services of LACL.

Each Tip ’n Taste ticket includes five drink samples, food and a souvenir glass.

Additional drink tickets can be purchased for $2.50 each.

Tickets are $35 (must be 19-plus to attend) and can be purchased online at www.tipntaste.com at the Langley Times office (cash only) at 20258 Fraser Hwy. or from a Rotarian.

To learn more about LACL go to langleyacl.com or phone 604-532-9400.