Alex Guy House Youth Care Leader Renee St. Germain has only been trained and using Ukeru for a few months, but she can already see the impact it can potentially have on all direct care staff.

“These kinds of tools are extremely important. They have the potential to reduce or eliminate many critical incidents. We want the Ranch to be a safer environment,” she said.

Renee has worked at the Ranch for several years. She began her career in social services as a young new mother working with individuals with special needs. She joined the Ranch soon after. She stated that the incentive to initially come to the Ranch was the competitive salary, especially important as a single parent, but the sense of purpose she found in her career was equally as important.

Renee explained, “I couldn’t do a job that doesn’t have a purpose or that doesn’t fulfill me. I have to feel like I’m making a difference.”

She added that fulfillment can come in many forms even something as small as a youth calling her years after discharge to thank her or apologizing for things they might have said or done.

Staff at Alex Guy were trained in Ukeru in early November, and they introduced the program to the youth shortly afterward with positive results. While it is implemented in the home, there are still some growing pains and staff will continue to work on using the Ukeru techniques.

“It is not a regular tool in our toolbox yet. We still rely on the old tools, but we are growing more comfortable with them too and it will be more positive when we do have to use them,” she explained.

Renee added that having the opportunity to learn and use techniques like Ukeru, shows the agency's commitment to staff.

“It makes you think the agency is thinking about us (staff), and our safety, as well as the youth. It makes you feel like you are worth something.”