This is the fourth in a series of stories about a day in the life of Ranch staff.
Sandi Grass has been a Family Treatment worker (FTW) for the last 10 months and she said it’s by far the most rewarding career she’s had.
She works in the Family Centred Addictions Program (FCAP) at Ranch Ehrlo. FCAP is an innovative addictions treatment program that supports not only the individual struggling with substance misuse but also their immediate family. It is centred in an apartment building in Moose Jaw that has nine suites for families.
“It’s really a fascinating program. Our participants are here voluntarily. We work at reunifying the family as a whole. For many of these families, this is one of the first steps on their sobriety journey. It’s amazing to be able to walk through those moments with parents when they’re struggling and be sort of their rock,” she said.
Sometimes the person who is in addiction is afraid, hesitant, guarded, or excited to be in the program. They are all there because they want to do the best for themselves and their families.
Sandi’s route to her current position has been a winding one. She started her professional career as a preschool teacher and transitioned to teaching children with differing abilities. She went from there to work at two non-profits.
“So, I’ve had a pretty varied career, but all my jobs were helping people in one way or another. I really feel that my past careers have been an asset for this position I have now at the Ranch,” said Sandi.
There are no typical days in FCAP, but there are routines. Workers are assigned tasks throughout the day. The families are only in the program for 90 days, so those days are busy.
“In the mornings we go to each one of the families and check in with them. Some families need more intensive supports, and we help them get their children ready and help them make breakfast,” she said.
The children then go to childcare, and the parents go to group therapy and Sandi is available to provide additional support for whoever needs it. The FTW also checks the suites for drug paraphernalia and alcohol, to make sure they are safe for the families.
“At lunchtime, the families return to their suites, and we help the ones who need it. We will help them bring their children down for group therapy in the afternoon,” she said.
Since the program is only three months long, there are usually appointments that need to be attended, such as doctor and dentist appointments. The FCAP helps to ensure everyone is in good physical health.
“We have to accompany everyone when they leave the program to go on these errands. We teach them how to go grocery shopping with their kids and which foods are nutritious,” she said.
The FCAP building is staffed 24 hours a day. There are usually four people during the weekdays, one person overnight, and three on the weekends.
The FTW helps families to establish routines in their daily lives and also acts as mentors. Sandi said, “Sometimes I’ll just grab a broom and start sweeping, or I’ll tell someone to go play with their kids and I’ll wash their dishes. We help them make budgets for groceries, and sometimes we just play games with the families.”
“My favourite part of the job is teaching people what they’re capable of doing. When I see that realization on their faces it’s just the best,” Sandi smiled.
Families are also accompanied on their weekend outings, which could be swimming, visiting a museum, going to Buffalo Pound, attending festivals, or other activities.
“This career is absolutely rewarding. If someone were thinking about becoming an FTW, I would tell them to be prepared to laugh a lot. Ninety per cent of this job is just flat-out fun. It’s a fun and rewarding job,” she said.
To find out how you can build a successful career at the Ranch like Sandi, visit our careers page.