Ranch Ehrlo Society was named one of Saskatchewan’s top employers for 2012. It is a testament to the fact that the agency boasts remarkable employees and innovative programs and services. Ehrlo Counselling Services, one of these services, is comprised of highly educated and extremely compassionate individuals, who together make an unparalleled team delivering top-notch counselling and community intervention services to the community.     

Denise Swallow, an employee of Ehrlo Counselling Service, was recently nominated for the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards. Denise has been a Cognitive Disability Consultant at Ehrlo Counselling Services for six years. One of her adult clients nominated Swallow for the Education and Mentorship award. This recipient is a mentor and/or educator in many avenues of life and inspires a passion for life-long learning in those around her through the education system, employee training and development, community education or alternative programs. She may be developing innovative programs to meet the special needs of learners, and/or building a strong rapport with students, parents, colleagues, and the community at large to foster learning in a broader sense.     

Co-worker Dave Wiebe has known Swallow since she started at Ehrlo Counselling in 2006. He submitted a letter of support for her nomination. “A lot of the work she has done has been with adults in the community who have a variety of cognitive disabilities. She has a wonderful way of being really respectful and then really making good connections with these people and they respond to that,” observed Wiebe.     

Wiebe pointed out that many long-term clients see Swallow as one of the very few people in the community who advocate for them and honestly care about them. “Through all the work I have done with Denise on the cognitive disability strategy, I have seen Denise’s ability to always look for what she calls ‘gaps’ – where are the gaps in the system? What needs are not being met for these clients by the existing system? - Which is what the cognitive disability strategy is really for? She is a tireless worker in that regard; she tries to figure out innovative ways to fills those gaps and meet those needs,” explained Wiebe.     

Interestingly, this was also a mandate shared by the late Dr. Geoff Pawson, who fully supported employees identifying gaps in the community and then going forth and fulfilling those gaps through programs and services.     

“I am extremely humbled and honoured by my nomination. One thing that is most meaningful to me is that it came from one of the adult clients I work with and she took it upon herself to talk to my coworkers and get the nomination organized,” said Swallow. “Not to be cliché, but just to be nominated, I already feel like I won the award. It is the greatest honour for me. To be part of the process and the caliber of the other women – I am just honoured to be in their presence.”     

Another co-worker, Leona Morrison, receptionist for Ehrlo Counselling Services, was also pleased to write a letter of support for Swallow's nomination. " Her dedication to her work is demonstrated every day. Denise has impacted the lives of over 50 grateful families living in the community. I am proud to say that working with Denise has given me the priceless gift of her experience. She is a Woman of Distinction," wrote Morrison.


Swallow also summarized her feelings about working at Ehrlo Counselling, a division of Ranch Ehrlo. “As far as the Ranch being a top employer for 2012, I am always proud to say that I work for Ranch Ehrlo. I think it’s the agency’s ability to outside the box in their cognitive disability strategy, and even here at Ehrlo Counselling – being able to see what opportunities for Ehrlo Counselling to be more in the community as well as for being able to provide the level of expertise and supervision for my position – has just created opportunities where there may not have otherwise been with community and systems. I am very proud to be representing the Ranch and they support me with resources that may not be available to other consultants.”     

The Women of Distinction Awards Gala will take place on Thursday, May 3, 2012 at the Conexus Arts Centre.    

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