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COR is not like any other job that I have had in the past!

I heart my job at CORWhen joining the team at Creative Options Regina (COR) I had no idea what I was getting involved in.

Everything I knew about COR consisted of knowing I would be working with individuals with intellectual disabilities, that I would be there to help improve their quality of life and to help these individuals through their day as a support person. After six months at COR I have realized that this kind of work goes well beyond what I initially believed I would be getting into. As stated by COR itself, we as support workers follow two ideals: “first, giving each person a sense of feeling safe and loved with their caregivers as companions, and second, helping individuals to express love to others, both in the COR community and in the greater community.”

COR is not like any other job that I have had in the past.

Working other jobs, such as retail or customer service, I was able to distance myself as an individual after I left work; with COR this is not the case. The individuals I support in COR have taken on a role in my life, as well as I have theirs. When I am not supporting the individuals I am usually with, I often find myself wondering what they are doing that day, how their day is going and even missing spending time with them. This kind of relationship goes far beyond that of a working relationship. It becomes a friendship. As with any kind of friend you want to see them lead a good life, make good choices, and improve as an individual; these are all qualities closely related to the ideals followed by Gentle Teaching.

It is because of the friendship I have developed with the individuals I support that I believe I maintain a culture of gentleness. I treat the individuals I support the same way I would treat anyone in my life; with patience, tolerance, compassion and happiness. I am able to joke around and have fun with the individuals I support the same way I interact with my friends outside of COR. This is a special relationship that helps us create a healthy environment for these individuals to thrive and grow. Being able to view the individuals within COR in this light is what makes us different from other organizations that use physical restraints, consequences, and the use of reward and punishment for behavioural interventions.   If we used these traditional practices it would hamper the kind of friendship that develops over time with the practice of Gentle Teaching and I would not be a capable support person or friend to the individuals I spend time with. It is because of the Gentle Teaching philosophy that I have come to love my time with COR and look forward to the time I spend with the people I support.

Kelly, COR Support

Working With People in a Culture of Gentleness: May 20-21, 2014

Working with people, a gentle teaching practicum-Creative Options Regina

Working With People in a Culture of Gentleness is a  two day training designed for direct care-givers and supervisors.  It teaches the basics of providing positive supports and the important role of a gentle caregiver.

COR’s partnership with the Center for Positive Living Supports (CPLS) has proven to have a tremendous impact on our organization! With only two organizations in Saskatchewan rooted in a culture of gentleness, the center has been instrumental in supporting the development of our caregiver training programs and leadership development initiatives; all of which serve to enhance the knowledge and skill set of our caregivers, subsequently improving the quality of life of individuals served.

Saskatchewan is currently in the midst of great change! With our Premier’s commitment to make Saskatchewan the best place for people to live in Canada with a disability, and with the planned closure of the provincial institution in 2016, we are collaborating with our provincial government to further expand and deepen this culture of gentleness across Saskatchewan; we are truly grateful for the support of the Center for Positive Living Supports for their commitment to collaboration and support in cultivating a culture of gentleness in a region far from the state of Michigan.

On May 20-21st, COR will be welcoming Deirdre Mercer, Senior Training Consultant, CPLS to Regina. Deirdre is a licensed social worker with a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Central Michigan University. She loves the opportunity to spread a Culture of Gentleness and uses the lessons learned at MORC to teach others.  Her motto is, “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting their battle too.”

A Night at the Ritz…aka BeerBros

Sleepless in Seattle Award-COR

The “Sleepless in Seattle” Award

In Saskatchewan the month of April is often the most anticipated month of the year: the snow finally begins to melt and spring slowly makes its appearance. People everywhere just seem a little bit happier. Unfortunately, this year Mother Nature didn’t get the memo and the cold just kept on coming.  So in lieu of spring’s arrival the fine people at Creative Options Regina chose to throw an Employee Appreciation Night, to lighten the winter blues.

In collaboration with the Gentle Teaching Symposium that was taking place in the city, a handful of us at COR set out to create a party atmosphere: bringing together both employees and guests to enjoy a few drinks, good food and great conversations. During the evening there was a buzz throughout the room—conversations were flying, laughter was boisterous: the energy was undeniable.

As part of a volunteer group of employees self-titled as the “Fun Club”, we set out to assist in planning social event’s within COR, for its employees and the individuals we serve. With our guests present there was no better time than to honor some of our own with employee awards. Not wanting our awards to be simply be accepted and then disposed of as soon as the winners walked into the front door of their homes: we thought that we would add some spunk and creativity of our own to the mix. In order to make things fair, we sent out the five categories and requested that fellow employees nominate those whom they thought deserving of the award. The categories, descriptions and victors are as follows:

    1. The Mother Hen Award was to be awarded to a person who gave freely of themselves to not only the supported individual, but also others around them. This person was to encompass a spirit of selflessness. The winner of this award went to Elaine Godon: a sweetheart through and through.
    2.  The Mentorship Award was awarded to Krystel Eddy for investing her time and energy into the lives of other supports, with the intent of building a stronger support system within COR.
    3. Kelsey Tiechrob walked away with the Swiss Army Knife Award. Over the course of his time with COR, Kelsey has dazzled his onlookers with his ability to be a multi-functional team player: being adaptable to new situations while being able to support almost anyone.
    4. The Sunnyside Up Award, was to be given to a person who exhibited a continuous spirit of optimism. When it came down to deciding a winner, the judges were unanimous, Ryan Robinson was the man! With his ‘perma-smile’ always locked and loaded, the choice was easy.
    5. The Gentle Giant Award was endowed to Matt Chin for exuding a spirit of gentle teaching: not only in his work life, but also in his personal life. 

And then there was one! A surprise award for Michael Lavis: to acknowledge all of his hard work and contribution to the organization as well as give a little praise, where praise is due. The award that Michael received was entitled, ‘The Sleepless in Seattle Award’: for getting the most done (and being successful at it) on the least amount of sleep. Did I mention that along with a small token of appreciation, came personalised tacky yet tasteful trophies? Embellished with ‘gold plated’, one of a kind figurines they were the envy of the ball.

The night was fun and with a great turnout of supports and guests it left everyone in anticipation for the next COR social gathering. If you want to join the ‘Fun Club’ pre-approved applications can be found by contacting Michael Lavis at michael@creativeoptionsregina.ca 

Ben, COR Support