Family ties at Matheson

Family ties at Matheson

Posted by on Mar 17, 2019 in Whats-new | 0 comments

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.”

*name changed

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Ranch residents take gold in Yukon

Ranch residents take gold in Yukon

Posted by on Feb 16, 2019 in Whats-new | 0 comments

From January 31 to February 4th five residents and two staff from Ranch Ehrlo’s Programs for People with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) visited the Yukon to participate in an invitational Special Olympic soccer tournament, where they took home both the gold medal and memories of a lifetime.

Unit manager Shaun Silzer and personal support leader Cam Huberdeau travelled with the residents for the five-day excursion.

Besides their incredible success in the tournament – their team won all five games and took the gold medal, there was plenty to write home about.

From beginning to end, the trip was full of firsts – for four of the five men, it was their first time on a plane.

“(On the first flight), from Regina to Vancouver there was a lot of nerves but after that it was fine,” Cam recalled.

While there, the team had the opportunity to witness the Northern Lights and participate in a dog sled tour.

“This was an amazing opportunity for our residents to be able to participate in a tournament with their team that they typically would not have,” said Shaun.

“For (our residents), it’s not just about the sport – it’s about being part of a team,” Cam said.

The five practice weekly with their team, and play once per week in a Co-Ed league in Regina.

 

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Ranch Ehrlo a Top Employer, again!

Ranch Ehrlo a Top Employer, again!

Posted by on Feb 13, 2019 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Two, four, six, eight – this designation means we’re really great (to work for)!

For the eighth consecutive year, Ranch Ehrlo has been named one of Saskatchewan’s Top Employers! This special designation recognizes the Saskatchewan employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work. We are proud to have received this honour and will continue to strive to offer our employees an above-average place to work at in 2019 and beyond.

We wanted to take this opportunity to look back at some of the reasons why:

2018

2017

2016

2014

The official reasons for our selection can be found here.

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Family program expansion

Family program expansion

Posted by on Feb 5, 2019 in Whats-new | 1 comment

The best place for a family to heal is at home. With that in mind, Ranch Ehrlo’s Family Treatment Program (FTP) has expanded outside the city of Regina.

The unique, innovative, and nationally recognized program was created in 2006 to address the need for intensive in-home service provision to families in need of clinical treatment. The program expanded several times over the years to allow more families to have access, but the latest growth has expanded the program that works to keep families together to the communities of Moose Jaw and Fort Qu’Appelle.

Due to demand from across the country, Ranch Ehrlo will be growing to allow six additional families to access the program in the neighbouring communities.

“The family program has a lot of strengths and a lot of history but one of the missing pieces for program development is delivering services in families’ own communities. Through this expansion, if we can get services to meet families’ needs right in their own community, that really is the next step for the Family Treatment Program,” FTP director Patti Petrucka explained.

She added, “Often families are hesitant to come to the program in Regina because they want to get away from the temptations of the cities or they don’t want to be in an urban setting. Many northern families feel safer in smaller communities.”

The expansion will allow the program to build relationships and partner with community organizations.  Each community has vast services in place that are already assisting families, we simply hope to fill any identified gaps in the service continuum.

“I’m very excited about expanding in the Fort Qu’Appelle area as they have an incredible abundance of  First Nations cultural components embedded within the community. There are also amazing supports and community agencies in place that we are excited about the opportunity to partner with,” she continued.

Families in the expanded communities can still take advantage of the many group classes offered to parents in Regina as well as access support services locally.

The expansion will include three new homes in each community. Currently, the agency is recruiting new staff, including a therapist and two and a half treatment workers in each community.

The Family Treatment Program delivers research-based best practices to keep children safe, strengthen families, and reduce the need for placing children into out of home care and to provide services to minimize the time that children are placed away from their families.

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CARE in loss

CARE in loss

Posted by on Jan 24, 2019 in Whats-new | 1 comment

Family involvement is a key part of all Ranch Ehrlo’s programs. That is especially true for our Treatment Foster Care (TFC) program which serves children and youth, between the ages of six to 15, whose special needs require individualized treatment within a family environment.

Family involvement is also one of the six CARE (Children And Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change) principles which guide Ranch Ehrlo to improve services for children and families.

Eight-year-old Troy* has been with his foster parents since October. Troy has some cognitive delays that make verbal expression difficult for him, but when his grandfather passed away in December, foster mother Nadira Deschner knew that he was feeling deep sadness, even without his saying so.

balloon in the skyThe day of Troy’s grandfather’s funeral, Nadira and her husband held a small ceremony for Troy. They read the book The Invisible String, which talks about how families can remain connected no matter where they are. Nadira explained that although Troy’s grandfather was in heaven now, the invisible string that connects their hearts will always remain.

“The book helped him process that our hearts can still be connected with people (regardless of distance),” Nadira explained. “He lives very far away from his grandmother and siblings, but we can still have that heart connection even though we’re apart. And we explained that Grandpa is watching him from heaven now, but that connection can still remain.”

They played and sang some of Troy’s favourite music, before concluding with a balloon releasing ceremony.

“We explained with the balloons – some things you have to say goodbye to today. And everyone in your family will have to do that too because your grandpa has passed away. So, one of the things you’ll have to let go of and say goodbye to his grandpa’s hugs.”

The second balloon was representative of things Troy could hold onto – like the memories he shared with his grandpa.

“We said all those things will forever stay with you – and that’s the balloon you get to keep. And that balloon is still over his bed.”

Nadira says that Troy has been able to verbally express that he’s feeling sad due to missing his grandpa and has even asked for a hug.

“That feels like a huge success,” she said. “We can see the impact of (being part of the TFC program) in Troy’s life. He’s just been here for two and a half months and there have already been so many positive changes. It’s been so rewarding to see how he’s opened up relationally. His little heart is drinking in the love, and he’s finding things that bring him joy.”

“CARE training is wonderful. I loved it. For the most part, it gave the things I was already doing, language, which validates a lot of what we’re doing as foster parents.”

*names changed

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Art from the Heart

Art from the Heart

Posted by on Dec 27, 2018 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Ranch Ehrlo’s artists showed off their artistic achievements at the 14th annual Art from the Heart calendar reception. Staff and families had the opportunity to get the first glimpse of the calendars at the reception held on Dec. 19th at Schaller Education Centre on the Pilot Butte campus.

The calendar was unveiled, and the artists had the opportunity to showcase their work and sign autographs for those in attendance.

Cover artist Joan* has been drawing for four years and plans to gift the original piece to her teacher.

January’s artist Debbie* was inspired by historic cultural events, explaining that her picture represented coming home from residential school.

The February artist is a repeat winner, having had her art featured in the calendar in previous years. This year’s art is inspired by her own struggles.

“It’s about mental health issues,” she said of her picture, which features a girl with a taped-up heart. “I have a hard time dealing with my feelings sometimes but art helps.”

Each year the calendars are printed and distributed to Ranch youth, staff, board members, and partnering agencies.

*names changed

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