Even when our youth are no longer living at Ranch Ehrlo, they know they always have a place to return to.
No story illustrates the bond between youth and staff better than that of Becki*, who spent five and a half years at Ranch Ehrlo Society in Prince Albert; beginning at Alex Guy House and transitioning to Matheson House where she lived until last month.
“Becki is still very much a part of the extended family at Matheson House,” said caseworker Marissa Lafelle.
Matheson House is somewhat unique in that many of the youth who live there don’t have family discharge options – they often stay at Matheson until, like Becki, a plan is developed to help them transition into a more independent living situation.
“The staff becomes like their family,” Marissa explained, adding that most youth stay in the Prince Albert area, so the small community and ease of access to former staff allow the relationships to continue to flourish after youth have discharged.
This is very true for Becki, who said that one of the biggest challenges in moving on was leaving her Matheson House family.
“It made me sad, but I know I’m leaving them for a good reason,” she said.
Though Becki has transitioned to living in her own apartment through the YWCA Homeward Bound Oakdale program in Prince Albert, Marissa and Matheson House unit manager Ron Schlamp often head over to visit her in new apartment, and Becki has a standing invite to Ranch Ehrlo events like Winterfest and Awards Night.
Oakdale provides a safe and supportive living environment for young adults transitioning towards independence. The goal is to provide life skills and opportunities for youth to grow in areas of hygiene, cooking, budgeting, education, employment and connecting to community resources. Youth will have access to staff 24/7, opportunities to set goals and work on case-management.
But some of Ranch Ehrlo came with Becki to Oakdale. Her support worker through Oakdale, Kandace Korycki, worked at Ranch Ehrlo for five years and spent two of those working with Becki.
“She made a smooth transition to Oakdale thanks to the supportive team at Matheson House, and has been such a wonderful addition to our program at Oakdale – which I had no doubt that she would be,” Kandace said.
Ranch CEO Andrea Brittin concluded, “Thank you to all of you who have worked alongside Becki to see her off to this new stage in life. I believe that the single most important key to success when youth are transitioning is to have people available who they trust to call up and talk to, find support, or perhaps provide a shoulder to cry on when they need it.”
“Thank you, Matheson staff for being those trusting people for Becki.”