A culture of gentleness for me has come naturally by genuinely caring for the three gentlemen I serve.

A culture of gentleness for me has come naturally by genuinely caring for the three gentlemen I serve. Since I started at COR almost one year ago I have created relationships with the three guys I serve that without a doubt will last a lifetime. Being able to care for someone on a daily basis and watch them grow as people has been one of the most professionally satisfying accomplishments to date. Watching the look on the guys faces while they do things they love can turn even the worst of days around in a heart beat.

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I would have to say I more so reciprocate a culture of gentleness however. To say I create a culture of gentleness would minimize the amount of caring that these individuals show us who come in to serve them. The three guys I support have some of the biggest hearts I have ever met. They will share what ever it is they have with out batting an eye. I strongly believe the culture of gentleness is created by those who we serve.

 

Danny, COR Support

 

Gentle Teaching really made me assess my own life

Gentle Teaching has transformed the person I am as well as the person I aspire to be in many ways. What started out as a “job” in the beginning, quickly became “spending time with the guys” and this was because of Gentle Teaching. I think essentially, Gentle Teaching allowed me to understand the importance of living in the moment and appreciating the little things in life. I started realizing quickly the opportunities for learning and life experiences that these guys I support had missed out on through their lives because people who were supposed to “care” for them, honestly did not care. Showing them first hand that they are just like everyone else and have the freedom to make their own choices was sometimes anxiety filled. In the end though, not only did they learn something, but I did as well – how much I took for granted in my own life.

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Gentle Teaching really made me assess my own life to what I viewed as important and what others thought I viewed as important because these are very different categories. Gentle Teaching has allowed me to view situations from multiple perspectives which enhances my problem solving skills. I think someone cannot fully understand this culture of gentleness until they are fully immersed in it. In order to fully understand the culture of gentleness, it is important to allow yourself to be vulnerable not only with the individuals you support, but your support team as well. I’ve never had a job where I could discuss personal struggles with a coworker and come out feeling more equipped to support rather than being torn down and humiliated. I have truly been blessed with an amazing COR family and continue to grow and thrive because of them. Gentle Teaching quickly becomes a way of life and you begin to realize how often you use it outside of supporting. I look forward to using my experience with the culture of gentleness in my future endeavours of nursing and beyond.

Shelbi, COR Support

4to40 Interview with Patrick, SaskTel and RHSAA Employee — Celebrating Inclusive Employers!

Patrick Flaman is well versed in the working world and is a seasoned member of the Sasktel crew, rockin’ employment there for around two years now. His job provides him with security, friendship and that ever important paycheck; but Patrick was given an opportunity that was hard to refuse. Patrick got a second job. Now one might think: How is more work an opportunity that is hard to refuse?

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Patrick was offered a job with RHSAA as a line judge and first down official; but most importantly, he was offered that opportunity to work alongside his best friend Rene. If working with your best friend isn’t enough, Patrick also gets to stay fit running up and down the sidelines, as well as out onto the field with his alma mater, the Campbell Tartans.

When asked about what his favorite thing at his new job was, Patrick got excited and exclaimed, ‘getting to work with my friend, and running out with my boys the Campbell Tartans! They love it when I come out with them and high five me as I leave the field.’

Being a guy who loves physical activity and is involved in any sport he can be a part of, this is a great opportunity! Patrick’s connectedness to ‘the boys’ and his comradery from that group of young athletes is special and can’t really be achieved in many lines of work. How many of you can say that you have torn out onto the grid-iron and ripped through a banner touting your colours and company name on any given Monday morning? What a rush!

In addition to Patrick’s dedication to his work, he is also extremely responsible with his extra cash. Finally, when asked what he planned on doing with his extra paycheck, Patrick said nonchalantly, ‘Probably add it to my RDSP’s. Save it. Save it for a day when I get hospitalized or need it for an emergency.’

Wow!

Employment can be all that and a bag of chips. You just have to find the right job!

Thanks Patrick!

To learn more about Inclusive Employment, visit: www.4to40.ca.

 

Ben Morris,

Community Education and Outreach

 

4to40 Interview with Austin, SARCAN Employee — Celebrating Inclusive Employers

Austin has been passionate about recycling for as long as he can remember. In his spare time he cleans up his neighborhood and is always looking for ways to help out the environment. If there is a will there is a way, and Austin’s will is what pushes him to research all the different ways to reduce waste and maintain a healthy planet! That is why a job in recycling could not be better suited for him!

At age 17, Austin has done what so many people fail to do in a lifetime. Find a job which they can care passionately about and make a solid living while doing it. His partnership and employment at Sarcan Recycling is his avenue for success, but Austin’s deep well of knowledge on the subject of recycling helps him in his everyday work.

Austin’s attention to detail helps him with sorting and knowing the exact right way to care for all recyclables. Have you ever noticed that every plastic vessel that you buy has a number attached to its recycling instructions? Austin knows! He also knows what that plastic is made of and where you properly dispose of that vessel.

When asked about his favorite part of his job, Austin simply said, “the fact that I am recycling. Well, and helping the environment.” Austin also took some time to elaborate on his perfect dream job to which he said, “If I could work anywhere I think it would be where I am working — at Sarcan. Or Crown Shred. That would be cool.”

In addition to being a great worker and citizen, Austin is humbly responsible. To be fair, at 17 one doesn’t have a lot of expenses, but he manages to save most of his paychecks every two weeks. “It’s nice to have money. Especially when I want to buy something big.” He does however splurge with twenty dollars every pay day to celebrate his hard work.

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Finally, when asked what his favorite part of being on a team is, Austin said, “that we are all recycling together and making a bigger difference. More people recycling is better for the planet.”

Austin’s experience in the workplace is still fresh and new, but faced with the temptations of the everyday, he manages to stay true to himself and his strict code. When we work together we can create the greatest change. Great work Austin! Thanks for keeping us all in check brother.

To learn more about Inclusive Employment, visit: www.4to40.ca.

 

Ben Morris,

Community Education and Outreach

 

4to40 Interview with Rene, RHSAA Employee — Celebrating Inclusive Employers!

Work.

Work pays the bills.

Work helps create identity and gives meaning to our day.

Often overlooked is the less obvious face of work which is connection. Work connects us to people that we often wouldn’t have the opportunity to rub shoulders with, and work is often the soil of which great friendships and relationships are nourished. For Rene, work is opportunity! Not only does he get to earn a fair wage and paycheck, but he gets to be involved in sport. Which is something that Rene also truly values.

Rene is a field judge and yard stick holder for the Regina High School Football League (RHSAA), which not only puts him right in the middle of the action, but it allows him to be active as well. When asked about his favorite part of his job and being part of a team, Rene jovially laughed and said, ‘running back and forth and getting lots of exercise!’

Rene 4to40

In addition to getting exercise and being part of the action, Rene noted that ‘[he is] lucky to get to work with [his best friend] and some new people too.’ Also highlighted here are the social aspects of the job where he gets to eat pizza with his boss, and hang out with new colleagues and friends.

Rene and his best friend Patrick were given the opportunity to face the challenges of a new work place beside one another. Together they are learning to count on each other and together they are teaching each other how to be accountable. These skills are not only great to have in friendship, but they are also foundational in the work place.

I asked Rene what he planned to do with all of the money he was making from his new job, to which he replied, ‘I dunno. Save up for my trip to Calgary, or a new guitar. Even go out on the weekends to meet up with my friends.’

For Rene, working one or two nights a week affords him the ability to dream for himself and write his own life story. Having a steady paycheck changes a trip with friends to Calgary from being a fleeting thought in conversation and empty promise to one’s self, to an attainable goal. Thanks to the equal opportunities provided by the RHSAA, both Rene and the organization have benefited significantly.

To learn more about Inclusive Employment, visit: www.4to40.ca.

 

Ben Morris,

Community Education and Outreach

 

Gentle Teaching has inspired me to become a better person

The way I maintain a culture of gentleness at COR is simply being friends with the individuals I serve. When I am supporting, I look at myself as a guest in a friend’s house. I am not there to ‘take charge’ and tell them how they need to be living their lives. Again, I am a friend and a friend will never judge a friend’s decisions. If anything, I would suggest better choices for them just like any other friend would. For example, if one of the individuals I serve wanted to spend their entire pay check on a $200 used game system, I may suggest other options for the reason of helping them manage their money or I may ask nicely how important the game system is to them. From there, they could hopefully tell me that the game system is not important enough that they spend their entire pay check on or they may choose a cheaper option. If not, they buy the game system and we move on. At the end of the day, it is their choice and if that choice makes them happy, that is all that matters.

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Gentle Teaching has inspired me to become a better person. I find myself using the Gentle Teaching philosophy in all aspects of my life, which has allowed others to feel more respected and warm when they are around me. My Mother first noticed this in me about two months after I began working for COR. She told me that I had came a long way with my personality and the way I show myself to others. Growing up, I was not the child with the best personality or the child with the most respect toward others. As I get older, I am improving in these things every day. It was nice to hear that from someone who sees me almost every day. I know that I am nowhere near perfect, but some progress is better than none. In the end, anyone can better themselves and no one is ever too old to improve.

 

Jason, COR Support

Gentle Teaching isn’t about trying to change behaviour…

Through my 3 and a half years of experience with COR and the philosophy of Gentle Teaching, I have attained a wealth of knowledge and an everlasting impact on my life. When I first started with COR, just like most people, I was a bit skeptical of the whole ideology of unconditional love. In latent terms, I perceived it as ‘give them whatever they want’ or ‘they can do whatever they want without consequences’. At the time, I failed to realize it was so much more than that. The whole basis of Gentle Teaching isn’t trying to change the individual’s behaviour, but rather changing our approach on how we serve the individuals.

My ability to use Gentle Teaching had never really been challenged until I began supporting at a new home and more specifically supporting one individual at that home. When I began, to be 100 percent honest, I was quite nervous. I had heard all the stories that this was the hardest team to support on. To my surprise, it really wasn’t! I got off to a good start with two of the guys. The only one I hadn’t connected with was one of the guys. Every time I would enter his space or try to interact with him, he would completely shut me down. This really bugged me personally. I am the type of person who really likes to get along with everybody, and at times, will over step boundaries to be liked by that person. This happened one day when I was supporting him. I came in that day with what I thought was a solid game plan. I was going to force myself to stay with him, we were really going to joke around and have an awesome time together. I also had the idea to take him to a Rider practice that day thinking it was going to be an amazing experience. I was completely wrong. Sure, he enjoyed the idea of going to Rider practice and seeing all his favourite players, but he still didn’t feel safe around me. I struggled to interpret what he was saying numerous times throughout the day and it led to numerous negative moments, the worst being at the Rider practice where he hit me. After that day, I came to realize that by forcing myself to be in his space, I had removed one of the most fundamental and most important pillars of Gentle Teaching; feeling safe.

They have taught me if I adjust how I provide care and unconditionally love them, rather than force them to be who they are not, that they will reciprocate it back in their way

In order to fix this, I needed to change how I provided care, while also trying to encompass the tools of Gentle Teaching to build the four pillars. For the next couple of months, I took a step back and really focused on observing, rather than forcing myself into situations for my own personal reasons. I was selective and patient in choosing the times that were appropriate to help strengthen his sense of feeling safe around me. Most of these interactions were focused around watching sports games or going out to grab a drink from 7/11. I tried keeping the interactions short and consistent allowing him to become comfortable around me. As time passed, I was able to get him to feel safe by changing how I provided for him. Once I had the sense of feeling safe around me, the other three pillars (feeling loved, feel loving towards others, and feeling engaged) came much more naturally.

Through my experience with all the individuals I support, they have had an everlasting impact on my life. They have taught me if I adjust how I provide care and unconditionally love them, rather than force them to be who they are not, that they will reciprocate it back in their way.

 

Brydon, COR Family Member

My First Two Weeks with COR

When I first came to COR I didn’t know what to expect. Much like the first day of school, I held my lunch kit close to me – as it is the only thing I knew in my unusual surroundings – and made the tentative first steps towards my desk. I expected the commonplace whisperings from the corners of the office, “Who is that?” “Is that the new guy?” as they avoided all eye contact and slithered back to their desks checking emails all the while telling myself how silly I was for leaving my comfort zone and placing myself in such unfamiliar territory…

Except none of the snickers happened – not did I have regrets for leaving the cocoon that was my last job. I was greeted with smiles, handshakes, and most importantly laughter. Everyone welcomed me and assured me that my first few days were going to be great. They didn’t lie. My first few days flew by as I fell into my new position and started meeting my new colleagues. Any questions I had were greeted with friendly and encouraging answers. It felt great to be part of a positive team again; more importantly it felt that I was an actual team member, an equal; no one was higher or lower on the corporate ladder – we were all one big team working together to help those that we serve.

I have had the chance to experience many community building activities since arriving at COR. I joined the Dragonboat team and even went kayaking with the people with serve – an experience that was so fun, I am thinking of buying my own Kayak! I have been invited out to the art night and cannot wait to attend my first COR BBQ. This is only the tip of the iceberg of activities COR has to offer and I cannot wait to be a part of them all. All of these unforgettable experiences are what makes COR special. You would not be able to find this at any other place of work.

Meeting all the people we serve was the greatest part of my first few weeks. Having limited experience working with people with disabilities had me a little nervous. After the first few days and after meeting quite a few of the people we serve I look forward to having great conversation and interactions with everyone I have met day in and day out – there is no lack of positivity in this workplace and I am elated to have made the step to work at COR.

I am now finishing my second week here at COR and time continues to fly. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything – I am looking forward to many more years with COR and to help all those we serve to smile and laugh every day. Shoot for the Stars!

 

Tom,

Administrative Assistant

 

All ideas are valued and appreciated

Health and Fitness has always been a passion of mine and I have been trying very hard to promote that within our team. I have taken the lead with healthy grocery shopping and meal planning with the individuals we serve, but I have also been promoting our supports to do the same. When speaking to the team about proper nutrition, I open-the-floor for supports to share their ideas on how to promote a healthy lifestyle as well. All ideas have been valued and appreciated.

I hope to continue to promote health and fitness within our team

The team has come together in encouraging the guys to eat more food in a day and at proper times. I have also made it a priority to have the guys eat as many meals together at the table with their support. It promotes a sense of family and togetherness. I stress the importance of proper nutrition and reduced sugar in our diet. The team has been making better choices with what they buy for foods too.

One of the guys is also taking an interest in his health and he is becoming more internally motivated to keep his body healthy. I cook meals with him every few weeks and then freeze them so he has easy access to healthy and tasty meals that he can warm-up on his own. The rest of our supports have also been taking an initiative in getting him more physically active and eating healthy. I take him to the gym every week and he now looks forward to going and works very hard. My culture of gentleness definitely is reflected in my passion for keeping the individuals we serve physically healthy and happy. I am proud of them for telling me the things they like and don’t like when it comes to healthy meals and being physically active. I am also proud of our supports for being consistent in making health a priority. I hope to continue to promote health and fitness within our team, as it has benefited the overall quality of life with the individuals we serve.

 

Kyla, COR Support

 

It isn’t a job! It’s a Culture of Gentleness!

Coming from a standard 9-5 job and not really knowing what all was out there for employment, COR seemed like it could be a new experience, but nothing more! Right from the minute I sat down for my interview I learned that I could not be more wrong. Everything felt different. In the sit down interview we hardly even spoke about the job! Sure I learned what I’d be doing, where I would be spending most of my time, and what was expected of me, but it was warmer than that.

The man who interviewed me asked what I liked to do. He actually cared about getting to know me! We talked about everything from the gym and martial arts; what I initially thought was an interview turned quickly into a conversation. I was spending time talking to someone,  getting to know someone.

Quote from Cole, COR family member

The feeling of having someone care about you and actually want to know, and include you in something this special was amazing! This feeling has only become more intense.

It is a feeling that has began to resonate within myself. I care about looking after and genuinely appreciate the young lady I support. I want to see her do all the things she has always wanted to experience. Watching her grow and learn that we are not the institutions she was accustomed to is uplifting to be a part of.

It’s a Culture of Gentleness, and it is what we strive in COR to instill within ourselves and in the people around us

The work we do is not about a pay cheque. The organization doesn’t allow for people with that mindset to exist within it. It grows us, and it is the 4 pillars that COR stands upon which make it so: safe,  loved,  loving  and engaged are 4 fundamental beliefs in COR that shook my ideas of what a “job” was supposed to be. It isn’t a job! It’s a Culture of Gentleness, and it is what we strive in COR to instill within ourselves and in the people around us. It is those fundamental values that take this “job” and changed it into a community.

 

Cole, COR Support