Matheson House youth in Prince Albert recently made a special delivery - but the foundation that led to such a generous act was laid long before.

The youth delivered a handmade picnic table to Elder Dave Laroque and his partner, Margaret. Elder Dave and Margaret have a long history of working with the youth and staff in our northern programs. From attending annual events to offering cultural ceremonies and teachings such as sweats, powwows, and dressmaking, the roots between Dave and Margaret and the Buckland youth and staff run deep.

It was at one such event – the Truth and Reconciliation flag-raising event in September – that Dave noticed a picnic table made by the youth as part of a partnership with the agency’s property management department. He was impressed, voicing his appreciation for the work that went into it.

“Elder Dave and Margaret are very real, and they are wonderful in everything they do for us,” said Matheson House unit manager Ron Schlamp. “They create a healthy alliance in terms of relationship building.”

“He has a great appreciation for the work we do.”

It’s this appreciation that led to Ron’s idea that the youth should craft and deliver a table, especially for Dave and Margaret.

Activities such as building the picnic tables are incredibly useful for the youth.

“It gives our youth an opportunity to have a vocational experience – to see what it’s like to work and earn some cash, which is part of their care,” Ron said.

“Not only are projects such as this developmentally centered (one of six core CARE principles), they are also competency centered.”

We are guided by the CARE model, Children And Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change, which is a multi-level program aimed at improving services for children and youth in care. Based on six guiding principles (developmentally focussed, family involved, relationship based, trauma informed, competence centred, and ecologically oriented) the CARE model is designed to significantly influence the way professionals work with children.