4th annual powwow

4th annual powwow

Posted by on May 18, 2019 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Our 4th annual powwow will take place August 29th on the Pilot Butte campus. It is a place to join in celebration through dancing, singing, visiting, renewing old friendships, and making new ones while honour the culture of our Indigenous clientele, staff, and community partners.

Once again, our powwow will be competitive style – cash prizes will be given out to the top dancers in each age group/dance category. We will also be hosting a family-style carnival and will be providing a hamburger supper free of charge. (A canteen will be available throughout the day, and popcorn and snow cone stations will be available to round out the selection.)

Timeline – August 29, 2019 (all events will take place on the Pilot Butte campus):

  • Feast 9:30 a.m. (Schaller school)
  • Grand entry is at 1 p.m.
  • Family Carnival 2 p.m. (we also have bingo, snow cones, popcorn, candy floss)
  • Supper break at 5 p.m.- this is a free hamburger supper
  • Closing ceremonies at 7 p.m.


Thank you to our sponsors

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, contact Trudy Bosch.

Event sponsors

   SGI  Welldone

Drummer/dancer sponsors


Canteen sponsors


Family carnival sponsors


Print sponsor

 Signature Printit Centres
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Coming out the other side

Coming out the other side

Posted by on May 6, 2019 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Kelly Ettagiak came a long way to heal her family.

Kelly and her three children made the journey from the Northwest Territories to Regina in hopes that the Family Treatment Program (FTP) would be able to help them.

“I really had no idea of what to expect at the beginning, but social services said I had to do something, or they would take my kids,” she explained bluntly.

“Something” turned out to be 17 months in Ranch Ehrlo’s Family Treatment Program.

Kelly and kids

Kelly and two of her children – photo courtesy of CBC Nichole Huck

FTP is an in-home service that works to either prevent the placement of children out of their home or to assist families to unite after having a child in care.

Before coming to Regina, Kelly had a conference call with FTP director Patti Petrucka who explained the program set up – she and her children would have their own home, and staff would work with them to set and achieve goals, both personal and family-related.

“The program is tailored to your family’s specific needs, instead of just being a set program that’s the same for everyone,” Kelly said.

Still, the first days in the program were lonely.

“I felt isolated because I was put in a new city and a new home, and I didn’t know anyone.”

It was also difficult to let the staff into her family.

She explained, “It was a long hard process, but the workers helped me. At first, I was like, ‘who are you to tell me what to do with my kid’. It took a long time to realize that they were trying to help me.”

Kelly soon adjusted, and with the help of her FTP therapist Rikki Gusway, emerged herself fully in all the program had to offer. She participated in all the therapeutic groups offered by the FTP and dove headfirst into supporting her children at school and daycare.

“Kelly’s desire for adventure, spontaneity, and fun made tough moments in treatment much smoother, as she was able to self reflect and come up with creative but possible solutions,” said Rikki.

Working together, Kelly and the FTP staff identified her strong skills in organization, housekeeping/cleaning, and leadership. Keeping her strengths in mind, as her time in the program drew to a close, Kelly was provided with employment opportunities within the program and at Ehrlo Sport Venture. She was instrumental in helping set up new FTP homes in the communities of Moose Jaw and Fort Qu’Appelle.

Kelly was officially discharged from the Family Treatment Program in mid-April but continues to live in Regina, close to the house where she and her children lived for the duration of their time in the FTP. Her mother made the move down to Regina to be closer, and the family is slowly adapting to life beyond the FTP.

“Life without Kelly for me has certainly been an adjustment. She reaffirmed for me as a therapist the work we are doing is real, raw, and so important. At the FTP we get to do heart work. Heart work is hard work, but heart work is why we choose to do what we do,” explained Rikki.

For new families in the program, Kelly has simple advice: “You have to stick through it. It is lonely. It’s going to be hard. You are going to want to quit – but it is worth it. What better life to have than a successful one, with your children?”

“Kelly always provided me with the hope that the treatment process is possible for all families,” Rikki concluded.

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CARE in housing

CARE in housing

Posted by on Apr 30, 2019 in Whats-new | 0 comments

All Ranch Ehrlo employees – from direct care workers to administration and everywhere in between – have or will take CARE training. CARE, Children And Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change, was developed by Cornell University to improve services for people in care. Though we all understand the importance of the CARE principles, for those of us who are not direct care workers, opportunities to directly apply those principles are less common.

Earlier this month, Ehrlo Housing employee Terry-Lynn Triffo received a call about a tenant who was locked out of their apartment.

Ehrlo Housing operates as part of Ranch Ehrlo Society’s community services and its mandate is to provide affordable housing to low-income families, individuals with chronic mental health conditions, and young people transitioning from care.

“I’m not required to respond to calls that occur in my off hours that aren’t emergencies, but I saw it as an opportunity to meet a new tenant, so I went,” Terry-Lynn said. Relationship building is one of six CARE principles.

When Terry-Lynn arrived, a young girl – Terry-Lynn estimated her to be around 9 or 10 – was the one who was unable to get into the apartment through a miscommunication with her parent. Though she has no experience working with children in her role, Terry-Lynn adapted on the fly once she realized the mix up.

“Initially she said she would be okay because the daycare was right there, but when I explained to her that the daycare would eventually close and there would be no one around, she changed her mind and asked me to stay.”

Able to tell that the youth was scared in this environment – a new apartment, with no parent around – Terry-Lynn, who by then had unlocked the door and let the youth into the house, asked if she wanted some company while she waited for her mom to return.

“I asked her some questions; and tried to get information in a gentle way,” Terry-Lynn said. “I remembered what CARE training teaches us about listening and lowering our expectations, as well – so maybe we wouldn’t expect a nine or ten-year-old to be as frightened as she was, but because of CARE training, I knew meeting the youth where she was at and lowering those expectations to her developmental level was important.”

“We talked about her family a little, but mostly I tried to keep her calm and laughing,” Terry-Lynn explained. “It was more or less about making her feel safe.”

CARE teaches us that children need to be and feel safe in order to develop, grow, and heal from past traumas. While we may think of this as being solely applicable to times when children are in active treatment, Terry-Lynn’s interactions are proof that it extends to any time in a child’s life.

“Ultimately it ended up being a really good experience for both me and the youth,” Terry-Lynn said.

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Surprised and honoured

Surprised and honoured

Posted by on Apr 12, 2019 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Ehrlo Counselling’s Shelley Tamaki has spent six years providing outreach services to the community of Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation, located approximately two hours southeast of Regina.

“Outreach counselling is important because there are situations where people simply are unable to come into our offices,” she explained. “There are so many obstacles that can prevent someone from getting the help they need – communication issues such as having no phones or Internet, having no transportation, time constraints, or issues with day-to-day coping that simply make it impossible for someone to physically come to the office.”

Knowing this, Shelley has made it part of her career to bring counselling services to areas such as Pheasant Rump.

“It’s important for me to understand what rural Indigenous families go through when they come to the city,” she added. “I strive to understand Indigenous culture and to provide services that are specific to what they need.”

Earlier this month, her contract came to an end. She was surprised and honoured by the reaction received to the news she wouldn’t be renewing.

“I told them in the morning I wouldn’t be renewing my contract, and by the afternoon they had flowers, food, and many gifts – a handmade shawl, a smudge bowl, sage, tobacco, an Indigenous mug, a blanket, and some hand and foot cream. One woman gave me her smudge bowl wrap that was handmade by her sister,” Shelley recalled. “I’ve never seen so many people at the band office – I felt so undeserving and very honoured.”

As an advocate for First Nations decolonization and truth, Shelley’s time at Pheasant Rump was very meaningful to her.

“I believe we could all benefit from attending at least two Indigenous cultural ceremonies a year to have more cultural awareness and humility in service to our Indigenous clients,” she continued, “providing these services is a way of practicing personal reconciliation,” she concluded.

Clinical director, Natashia Schoenroth, noted what an amazing tribute to the beautiful work that Shelley has done with Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation.

“It’s a true testament to the CARE principles with which Ranch Ehrlo Society operates from.  Shelley has always sought to be flexible and creative in providing treatment to the clients and families with whom she works.  This is just another testament of the great work that Shelley does.”

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CARE in self-expression

CARE in self-expression

Posted by on Apr 8, 2019 in Whats-new | 0 comments

What happens when you don’t feel safe to express who you truly are?

Many of us are fortunate and will never know. But Casey*, one of Ranch Ehrlo’s longstanding clients in our Programs for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, has recently helped us to understand just a little bit of what goes on when you finally feel safe enough to be who you are.

Having an ecologically orientated space that suits the needs of our clients and helps them to develop and grow is one of the six guiding principles followed by the agency. This model called CARE, Children And Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change, was developed by Cornell University to improve services for people in care.

Casey has lived at Ranch Ehrlo for over 20 years. For almost that entire time, she was known by staff, housemates, and coworkers as he. There were small signs that she was experiencing some issues with her gender identity but paired with her cognitive difficulties (in both understanding and expressing what was going on with her), they were easy to dismiss.

“It’s been a bit of a journey to get to this point,” said clinical consultant Holli Holmes, who has worked with Casey and everyone around her to help ease the transition.

Recently, Casey ordered women’s clothing online, and when they arrived at the house, questions arose.

“Through these conversations, it came out that Casey identifies as female and would like to dress as a female,” Holli explained. “It’s been a bit of a shift, and there have been a lot of questions from both staff and participants, but everyone is doing a great job. They’ve really continued working to make both home and work a safe place for her.”

The staff of Casey’s home – formerly an all-male home – have stepped up and learned skills like hairdressing and fingernail painting to continue to help Casey in the best way they can. Her housemates have taken it in stride, as well.

Outside of the home, Casey spends her days at the Ranch’s Supported Employment Program (SEP), the vocational program is managed by John Fraser. Though Casey’s transition was a surprise to John and his staff, they immediately knew what they needed to do.

“We want to make sure that she felt safe enough to come in, and we’re providing a safe outlet and a safe place to come, and we wanted to make sure the rest of the clients understood as well,” John explained.

Shortly after Casey began expressing her identity outwardly by dressing as a woman full time, Holli came in to speak with John, his staff, and all SEP’s clients. The clients had an opportunity to ask questions, and Casey had the chance to explain, with help from Holli, what was going on with her.

“That was kind of a changing moment for us as well,” John recalled.

“The group of participants was so accepting and asked some really good questions and kind of left it with a ‘well, you’re still our friend; no matter how you choose to dress,” Holli added.

“Within our Ranch walls, we can make a safe place and we can support caregivers and participants. That part has been really good, and we’ve had a bit more control over that to make Casey’s home and work into really safe places,” Holli said.

“Without that safety, we wouldn’t have got this true expression of herself,” she added.

“The client hasn’t changed,” John added. “She’s still the same person – she still comes to work and does a great job. She still plays crib in the morning.”

*name changed for privacy

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Lessons learned in MasterChef kitchen

Lessons learned in MasterChef kitchen

Posted by on Mar 25, 2019 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Mitchell House unit manager Josh Miller is a familiar face around our Regina and Corman Park campuses, but soon he’ll be getting recognized even more.


Josh: Source MasterChef Canada/CTV

Josh will be appearing on the upcoming season of MasterChef Canada, a reality television show that pits amateur and home chefs against one another to earn a grand prize of $100,000 and the title of MasterChef Canada.

Josh, whose interest in cooking began before he could even see over the countertops, has been applying to the show for the past six years. From hearing nothing back after his written application the first year to making it to the telephone interviews in the next, to securing the face-to-face interview (the final step before selection) for the past three, Josh has inched closer and closer to being selected.

“Every year that I went, I kind of wondered, ‘I wonder why I didn’t make it this year?’ But I think just refining the dish that I made, looking at the textures or tastes or things you can do differently definitely helped in the process,” he recalled.

At this year’s audition, Josh made his grandmother’s chocolate cake.


Josh with fellow contestants: Source MasterChef Canada/CTV

“She gave me the recipe a long, long time ago when I was a kid. I made an upscale chocolate cake using that recipe, with buttercream icing and sponge toffee and homemade cherry bourbon ice cream, and a cherry sauce underneath,” he explained.

As luck – or maybe love, given the recipe’s family ties – would have it, this was the year Josh could have his cake and eat it too – he was finally selected to compete on the show.

Though he’s bound by confidentiality and can’t give anything away about what will happen on the upcoming season – including whether or not he snags the grand prize – Josh was able to talk about what filming the show was like, including how he applied what he’s learned at Ranch Ehrlo to in the MasterChef kitchen.

“Just being able to think on your feet and make quick decisions; and staying calm – being in the kitchen is a lot like being on the floor here, sometimes. We’re working with some kids that need a lot of support, and you can’t panic. You can be panicking on the inside, but on the outside, you have to show nothing but calm – it’s important to have that in either place, whether it’s in the MasterChef Canada kitchen or on the floor of the unit.”

The show premieres on April 8th, but since the announcement broke Josh has received an outpouring of support from co-workers and clients alike.

“The support has been great. Everyone will have to tune in to see if I can take the next step to get that MasterChef title,” he said.

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