Working at the Ranch

Click on the links below to learn what it is like to work in our different programs as described by our staff.

Youth care worker Erika

Twenty-two-year-old Erika Lopes spends her workdays fulfilling the needs of the youth by bringing authenticity, flexibility, and personality to her job each day.

Erika currently works in a home with nine girls and boys ranging in age from eight to 12 years old. Her days begin at 2:30 p.m. Upon arrival to work, Erika prepares for the late afternoon and evening when youth will be picked up from school, complete chores, eat supper as a family, and attend their evening programming – which may include skating, swimming, hiking, or an activity in the community. Erika finishes her day with a nightly report, debriefing, and quick clean-up of the home before leaving at 11 p.m.

Erika works alongside the youth, meeting their needs by providing care, support, and role modelling each day.

Erika’s YCW responsibilities include:

  • Participate and engage with youth
  • Assist with planning and implementation of activities and programs
  • Teach youth life skills such as self-care, cooking, cleaning, budgeting, and good hygiene habits
  • Help with daily routines
  • Transport youth to and from school, appointments, and activities
  • Resolve conflicts and respond to crisis situations (training provided)
  • Complete daily reports and debriefings

Whether the job takes her to a skating rink or to a stool perched outside the bedroom of a child who can’t sleep, Erika said her job is more fulfilling than she could have imagined.

“I just really enjoy helping people,” said Erika. “It’s so rewarding to see the youth grow. The best part is seeing them discharge from the program knowing I made a difference.”

Personal support worker Courtney

Courtney Zinkhan is a personal support worker in the agency’s Supported Living Programs (SLP). The mother of two usually works night shifts and some evening shifts. The SLP program supports persons with differing abilities by providing group living, educational, and vocational services. The participants in her program range in age from 16 to 32 years of age. There are some participants on the autism spectrum while some are living with brain injuries or other differing abilities. The biggest priority, Courtney explained, is sticking to a routine.  

Courtney's duties include: 

  • Nightly cleaning 

  • Making lunches for the participants 

  • Making breakfast for the participants when they wake up 

  • Having conversations and building relationships with the participants in the house 

“I feel like when I get that bond with a participant and they feel like someone is looking out for them, and their voice is being heard, it gives them something they wanted for a long time and just didn't know. It helps them grow and helps me grow, and it makes the job unbelievably rewarding,” she said.   

Youth care leader Karlyn

Karlyn Kenny says it’s important to bring your personal interests to work with you. Karlyn has used her interest in physical activity to get the youth in her home excited about group cycling around the neighbourhood in her role as a youth care leader (YCL). YCLs are sort of a liaison between the manager and the youth care workers in the house. 

“I would tell someone who is thinking about working at the Ranch to bring their passions with them. It’s a really fun way to keep our participants engaged,” she said with a smile. 

Karlyn generally works from 3 p.m. to midnight, unless the youth are off school, in which case she works from noon until midnight. Youth in her program are 16 to 18 years old, so they are preparing for life after the Ranch and prioritizing authentic life skills that the youth will need when they transition out of care.   

Karlyn's duties include: 

  • Program planning for the youth in the program 

  • Helping youth with homework, creating resumes, applying for jobs, booking appointments, or looking for apartments if they are transitioning out of care 

  • Working with youth to develop their independent skills and abilities from cooking to grocery shopping and budgeting 

  • Helping youth with chores 

  • Spending time talking with the youth, listening to music, singing, playing a game, watching tv, or dancing 

  • Helping with group sessions usually run by the caseworker 

  • Helping with evening activities like swimming, visiting the library, or mentoring programs with younger children 

  • Helping with bedtime routines and hygiene 

  • Compiling reports and daily logs of what happened in the home 

Karlyn feels very fulfilled being a YCL, and she really enjoys taking a leadership role, developing CARE-based planning, and creating opportunities for developing life skills for the youth. She goes home at the end of the day knowing that she did something good. 

 “It’s not just the wonderful relationships that I’ve built with the youth. I met my fiancé working at Ranch Ehrlo. Some of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life work here,” she said. 


Personal support leader Sean

Sean Whitaker is a personal support leader in the Supported Living Program (SLP) which supports youth and adults with differing abilities by providing group living, educational, and vocational programs. Sean works a 3 p.m. to midnight shift except on weekends when it’s 12 p.m. to midnight. His role in the home he described as being a liaison between the workers and the program manager.  He also helps to keep a positive environment in the home as the participants will respond to the positive or negative energy of the staff.  

Sean's duties include: 

  • Grocery shopping for the program 

  • Helping participants make their lunch to take to vocational programs and preparing supper in the evenings 

  • Helping participants with daily hygiene 

  • Participating and arranging transport for evening programming such as art therapy, horsemanship, basketball, floor hockey, playing pool, or just watching sports  

  • Helping with evening bed routines 

  • Paperwork and chores around the home once everyone is asleep 

  • Relationship building with participants 

“We all work together to support our participants in the best way possible. We bond with each other while we build positive relationships with our participants,” he said. 

Multiple program worker Louie

Louie Felicen is a youth care worker who works in the multiple program worker (MPW) program based at MacKay House. Employees in the MPW work in our Group Living Services at a home unit, and also cover shifts in different programs as the need arises in both the Ranch’s Youth Group Living Programs and the Supported Living Program. 

 Louie’s duties include:

The first thing Louie does on shift is to read up on the participants to learn more about them if he isn’t working at MacKay. He then introduces himself to the participants when they arrive home. Other duties include:

  • Helping and supporting the participants in their daily lives and helping them work through any of the issues they may be experiencing.  
  • Helping participants with homework.
  • Helping participants with their chores.
  • Taking part in planned activities.
  • Playing games with participants - both outdoors and indoors.
  • Helping participants with challenges they are facing, or just hanging out with them while they need to relax. Regardless of the activity, all his interactions are meaningful.

“If you’re just supervising or watching someone playing basketball, for example, you could remark that the participant made a good shot. If you’re engaged with the participant, you can help him develop their skills and even challenge them to try and beat you in a game,” said Louie. 

“I enjoy being an MPW because I get to see how the other programs run, and I get to meet many participants and staff. Each day can be totally different,” said Louie. 

Houseparent Andrew

Andrew Brown is the housefather for Alex Guy House on Ranch Ehrlo’s Buckland campus outside of Prince Albert. He works Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and handles running the household in the group home.   

Andrew's duties include: 

  • Making lunches for the youth 

  • Waking up youth and serving breakfast 

  • Driving youth to school 

  • Comforting any youth staying home who are sick 

  • Helping youth with chores, teaching them skills in the home including cooking 

  • Grocery shopping 

  • Evening meal preparations 

  • Household chores to maintain a clean and sanitary home 

  • And most importantly, playing games and building relationships with teens 

“I love my job at the Ranch. I’ll be doing something, and one of the youth will ask if I want to play a game, then suddenly I’m getting paid to play baseball,” he said.  

He added that the Ranch offers excellent wages, benefits, and training opportunities. His advice for anyone thinking about working at the Ranch is to be energetic and have fun.   

Program manager Sarah

Life is very busy but rewarding for Sarah Ovens, program manager at Frank May House at the Corman Park campus just outside of Saskatoon. Sarah oversees a 10-bed group home of young people, so a large part of her job revolves around ensuring the youth have everything they need to be successful in treatment.  

“I love my job. I’m excited to come to work every day,” she said. 

Sarah's duties include: 

  • Scheduling appointments and activities for youth 

  • Team meetings with the staff in the home, including youth care workers, youth care leaders, and the houseparent 

  • Check-ins with the caseworker in the home 

  • Meetings with referring agencies' case managers 

  • Building relationships with the youth and staff in the program 

Sarah thinks Corman Park is a great place to work. She explained there are a lot of really fun and positive people. 

“It’s a small campus, so we all know each other. I am secure in the knowledge that all our staff are top-notch,” she said. “It’s beautiful here. I look out my window and I can see fields for days. I like that because I’m a prairie girl at heart. 

Family treatment worker Sandi

Sandi Grass is a Family Treatment Worker (FTW) and she said it’s by far the most rewarding career she’s had. She works in the Family Centred Addictions Program (FCAP) at Ranch Ehrlo. FCAP is an innovative addictions treatment program that supports not only the individual struggling with substance misuse but also their immediate family. It is centred in an apartment building in Moose Jaw that has nine suites for families. 

“It’s really a fascinating program. Our participants are here voluntarily. We work at reunifying the family as a whole. For many of these families, this is one of the first steps on their sobriety journey. It’s amazing to be able to walk through those moments with parents when they’re struggling and be sort of their rock,” she said. 

There are no typical days in FCAP, but there are routines. Workers are assigned tasks throughout the day and the program is staffed 24 hours a day. Families are in the program on average for 90 days. 

Sandi's duties include: 

  • Helping families in the morning get their children up and help them make breakfast 

  • Providing additional support to families in therapy 

  • Keeping family suites safe by checking for drug paraphernalia and alcohol 

  • Helping with lunchtime routines 

  • Helping and accompanying  families with any health appointments 

  • Helping and accompanying families with tasks outside the home like grocery shopping and extracurricular activities 

  • Helping families with childcare and household chores 

“My favourite part of the job is teaching people what they’re capable of doing. When I see that realization on their faces it’s just the best,” Sandi said. “This career is absolutely rewarding. If someone were thinking about becoming an FTW, I would tell them to be prepared to laugh a lot. Ninety per cent of this job is just flat-out fun. It’s a fun and rewarding job.”  

Clinical caseworker Rachelle


Rachelle Lavoie-Stumpf is a clinical caseworker (CC). She has been a caseworker for 13 years. She is currently at Alex Guy House on the Buckland campus outside of Prince Albert where she is responsible for the therapy needs of the youth. Working alongside the program staff in the home is critical for caseworkers. 

Rachelle’s duties include:

  • Morning meeting with the program manager to discuss any updates and make a plan going forward.
  • Debrief with staff and youth, practicing open communication and positive reinforcement.
  • Progress support planning to discuss each individual youth’s needs and how we're going to meet those needs.
  • Organize staff training.
  • Review any critical incidents.
  • Once-per-week one-on-one counselling sessions with each youth in the house as well as regular group therapy sessions.
  • Open door policy, youth typically drop in as needed for any additional support.
  • Facilitates communication with outside agencies.
  • Assists in planning youth visits.
  • Planning conferences. 

She said it’s beneficial for the youth to have her available in the home every day. She has access to their day-to-day lives which allows her to work with them consistently with an understanding of what’s actually going on for them. 

“Sometimes if something happens then I’m able to work with them in the moment. That helps to build our relationships and trust which also gives me starting points for their casework,” she said. 

She said that one of the most exciting things a staff can witness is to watch a child grow and develop.




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