Writing to release the past

Writing to release the past

Posted by on Jul 13, 2017 in Then and now, Whats-new | 2 comments

One of the more expected, but no less important, aspect of Ranch Ehrlo’s Family Treatment Program (FTP) is the treatment groups that families have the option to participate in weekly. Each group is led by one of the FTP’s highly qualified clinical supervisors or managers.

The groups cover topics from parenting skills, yoga, horse therapy, recovery, dad’s topics, and a group for parents to share and talk about their week.

One group that was recently created focuses on writing. FTP participant and mom of five, Felicia Kakakaway, has been a regular participant of the group since it began a few weeks ago.

“All of the hurtful (experiences) that you can’t get out verbally, you can write it down on a piece of paper and release it,” Felicia explained.

“In my situation I had a very rough start to my adulthood,” she said.

Felicia was a user of alcohol, suffered from depression and anxiety throughout her early adult years. She was also a victim of domestic abuse at one time of her adulthood. Her eldest child, now 13, was diagnosed with autism at four years old, and her 9-year-old is epileptic. After suffering a stillbirth six years ago, Felicia found herself in a dark place and contemplated suicide.

“And then I thought, I have two children here – what am I doing, what am I thinking? I thought, ‘how are my kids going to react, and who’s going to be here for them if I did that?’”

It was then she realized she needed help and began the process of reaching out to get it. She started counselling with a mental health therapist, took a suicide prevention training course and life skills, and got a part-time job.

But working on herself wasn’t all that Felicia needed to do – she worried her oldest son may be placed in a group home because of his autism.

“I didn’t want that, because no one knows him like I do,” she said.

Felicia learned of the Ranch’s Family Treatment Program, where families remain together to heal as a unit, through her social worker and knew it would be the perfect place for her family. They began the program in February of this year.

“It’s been really, really good,” she said. “I was a very angry person because of all the stuff that’s happened, and now I can calm myself faster and easier and I have the support of the FTP therapists if I need someone. I realized I celebrated five years of sobriety and plan to make it a permanent goal. Back home there was nobody to talk to.”

She is anticipating returning home in August and admits to having some trepidation, but says that FTP staff have been instrumental in helping set up aftercare supports to ensure her family can continue their road of success.

She continues writing about her experiences, and plans to share some of her work through our blog in the future.

“I feel like if I get my story out, it might help some people,” she concluded.

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Buckland makes community connections

Buckland makes community connections

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017 in Whats-new | 0 comments

While we at Ranch Ehrlo have long known of the benefits of Equine Assisted Learning (EAL), we don’t often get the chance to share that knowledge outside of our own clientele. A unique program based out of Prince Albert has recently given others the chance to learn firsthand what benefits can be gleaned from some one-on-one time with horses.

Amanda instructing

The Homeward Bound program focuses on moving people who are chronically and episodically homeless as rapidly as possible from the street or emergency shelters into permanent housing with supports that vary according to participant needs. The program also helps participants access community health services for acute and chronic health issues.

Organizers were interested in EAL and contacted Ranch Ehrlo’s equine program leader Amanda Snell to see if a partnership could be arranged. The first group of participants arrived at Buckland campus for their lesson last May.

“Everyone was quiet, and initially a little nervous to be around the horses,” said Amanda, who designed an EAL exercise called “starting the journey” for the group.

“First, we talked about horses and what they bring to the experience – horses never lie, and they work best with a trusting and respectful relationship,” she continued.

Participants had the opportunity to discuss what their personal experiences with trust and respect and how they affect day-to-day living before moving out into the arena to work with the horses.

“Once out in the arena, everyone was talking and laughing with one another and picking favourite horses,” Amanda described. “The staff member in attendance pulled me aside toward the end of the session and expressed her astonishment at the way the participants opened up so quickly, discussing how they felt and how the horses made them feel.”

Ultimately, each participant had a different experience: some wanted to race around with the horses from one obstacle to the next, and some were content to groom and care for their horse in a quiet area away from the exercise.

Another group had the opportunity to physically ride the horses, which is a much more challenging task for individuals who haven’t been around horses very often in their lives.

“It was so uplifting to see these participants, who have had some difficult experiences in their lives, smile and enjoy their experience out on our trails,” she added.

The Homeward Bound program is not the only group to benefit from the Equine Assisted Learning program this year. Ranch Ehrlo recently formed a partnership with the Carlton Alternate Education program, as well! Look for a future blog with all the details on that initiative.

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Ehrlo Housing tenant appreciation day

Ehrlo Housing tenant appreciation day

Posted by on Jul 3, 2017 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Ehrlo Housing celebrated 20 years of providing hope and housing to vulnerable individuals in the city of Regina with a come and go tenant appreciation barbeque on June 29th.

line upThe event was held at Lakeshore Village, the first complex purchased by Ehrlo Housing in 1997.  The appreciation day also included children’s activities for the families of Ehrlo Housing including dino bouncers, face painting, and balloon twisting.

“We don’t often get an opportunity to thank our tenants in a public way and in honor of the 20th Anniversary, we thought this would be a great opportunity to do just that,” explained Ehrlo Housing director Shelley Sayer. “Our tenants have always helped to shape the way we do business. We want to learn what is important to our tenants so we can work together to make housing at Ehrlo the best possible experience for everyone.”

Ehrlo Housing operates as part of Ranch Ehrlo Society’s community services and they provide affordable housing to low-income families, single mothers, individuals with chronic mental health conditions, and young people transitioning from care.


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Youth Activity Fair 2017

Youth Activity Fair 2017

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 in Whats-new | 0 comments

The annual Youth Activity Fair (YAF) on June 17th, put on by Ranch Ehrlo Society in partnership with the Prince Albert Optimist Club, was a great success. It gave youth in the Prince Albert area an opportunity to learn about all the recreational opportunities available to them.

vendorOver 16 vendors came out to showcase local opportunities. Not only did they set up booths, several held demonstrations throughout the day including a mock ringette game and an Irish dancing display.

“The fair reaches people from all areas of Prince Albert and allows them to see all the activities available, not just the ones that are offered in a school setting,” said unit manager and event organizer Nicole Connolly.

This event is an important one for Ranch Ehrlo as it helps people in the area to understand that we strive to be part of the communities that we serve.

“We are sometimes only associated with children in need, rather than what we can do for all children in our community,” Connolly said.


One of the lucky bike winners

Though the fair has traditionally been held in August, it was moved to June this year in conjunction with the annual Prince Albert Street Fair. The move was favorable as a lot of the street fair traffic came into the mall. Over 10,000 people came through the mall that day! Also new this year, instead of handing out small prizes all day long, activity fair goers had the opportunity to win one of two bikes drawn for at the end of the day.

“It was a really great day and a relaxed event,” explained HR and office administer and event co-organizer Shantelle Petersen.

Youth from Alex Guy House also helped with set up and were onsite drawing mall goers to the display and handing out popcorn.

“The youth were a huge help and they did an awesome job,” Shantelle explained.

Stay tuned to the YAF Facebook page for details on YAF 2017.

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Therapist presents at mental health conference

Therapist presents at mental health conference

Posted by on Jun 20, 2017 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Erica Gray, a therapist in the Family Treatment Program (FTP), recently travelled to Winnipeg to present at the second annual CMHA Manitoba and Winnipeg conference. The theme of this year’s conference was bridging mental health and addiction supports. She was part of a panel called “Lessons Learned – Success and Challenges in Family Based Care.”

Erica at the conference

Erica at the conference

Erica presented on family work, focusing on three components: the need for collaboration of all family members, flexibility in providing services, and engagement for each family member in both the individual treatment plan and the family treatment plan. She also discussed the importance of ensuring that families are engaged in program development, and the desire to have families involved in sharing feedback regarding the treatment facility’s practices and policies.

To drive home her points, she was able to share stories of success and challenges from the families involved in the FTP.

“One of the reasons why doing events like this is important is that it’s a way to collaborate with a national organization – the Canadian Mental Health Association – and bring exposure to the way Ranch Ehrlo does family work at a provincial conference,” Erica said of her reasons for agreeing to present.

“There was also an opportunity for learning about new trends in mental health and addiction, while sharing best practices associated with family work,” she continued. “We were able to gain learning opportunities and connections to other agencies that are working to better support individuals and families in mental health and addictions.”


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New VP of clinical services

New VP of clinical services

Posted by on May 5, 2017 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Ranch Ehrlo is welcoming a new but familiar face to the executive team and saying goodbye to another.



Linda Meyer, the vice president of clinical services, will be retiring at the end of May. Linda began at Ranch Ehrlo in 1989 as a unit manager. Over her 27-year career, Linda has held several key leadership positions within the agency, most recently, vice-president of clinical services. Regardless of her position, Linda’s commitment to the mission and vision of the organization was apparent.

“While we share in Linda’s happiness as she embarks on this new adventure, we will miss her strong and steadfast leadership at the Ranch,” commented Andrea Brittin, Ranch Ehrlo CEO.



Effective June 1st, Bree Fiissel will be joining the executive team as the new vice president of clinical services. Bree has spent the last 23 years working in the residential, clinical, and community programs at Ranch Ehrlo, and for the past ten years has been a clinical director, leading, developing, managing, and implementing both community and residential clinical services.

Andrea added, “Bree has strong leadership experience in all aspects of fiscal and strategic management and has demonstrated ability to form collaborative relationships. She has a solution-focused, strengths-based leadership style that will position her well for success in this role.”

Bree started at the agency as a frontline youth care worker.

“Working in that role was truly influential to my career development and professional growth,” she said.

Twenty-three years later, we are welcoming Bree to the vice president role.

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