Guest blog by Scott Landry, Ranch Ehrlo vice-principal, programs south
Ranch Ehrlo Society provides many services for young people, all with distinct and unique aspects.
One of these aspects is the emphasis we put on education; so much so that it is one of the agencies’ four cornerstones of our treatment model. The model of work, education, treatment, and recreation is a holistic approach to helping the young people we serve and captures all of the areas that are needed to help young people make positive changes in their lives and begin moving toward achieving their fullest potential. Our education and vocational programs help meet these goals by providing a variety of programs to suit the different stages, ages, and needs of the young people we work with.
Education can be the catalyst for positive change both in the short and long term for individuals as they grow and move throughout their lives. Education can and is a way for any individual to escape the grips of poverty, as well as overcome the many “isms” that still exist in our societies. Education can empower individuals to have control over their own destiny and pursue their own hopes and dreams of a positive future.
Many of the young people that we work with have not had many positive experiences with education. Some of our clients have not attended school for long periods of time and have significant gaps in their education. Others look at school in a negative way or as something that has not provided them with much confidence in the past and therefore tend to view education as a whole as a pointless endeavor.
One of the unique aspects of the education program at Ranch Ehrlo is the process and procedures that our young folks go through when they come into our care. Almost all clients in the south come to Schaller Education Centre for a period of assessment and stabilization. This provides the students with time to adjust to the change of leaving their home communities, as well as some time to reacquaint themselves with the routines, procedures, and expectations of the school environment. The intake step is key in helping our students, especially in terms of their educational gaps, and also identifies any possible learning difficulties that may require extra support such as specialized programming or extra supports in the classroom setting.
Once a student has readjusted to routines and expectations of the classrooms setting, a plan is developed for students to transition to one of our vocational or educational programs. The plan will continue to build on a students’ strengths, along with utilizing and building upon the suggestions and adaptations identified during the intake process.
The overarching goal of each plan is to build upon progress and guide the individual toward independence by utilizing relationships, supervision, and on-site support throughout each phase and stage of their educational experience at Ranch Ehrlo.
If we can help the young people we work with make positive changes and begin to see that they can in fact achieve success in school (however large or small), the likelihood that they will remain in school and reach their fullest potential while they are with us and after they are discharged from our care increases exponentially.