Meet Our COR Family: Dillon Schmidt

Hi. I’m Dillon! I began as a support on the adult side of COR in 2018. Approximately six months after starting, I was approached to join a new team on the youth side. I jumped at the opportunity and within that team, went from support to Key Support to Team Leader. I spent a little over a year as a Team Leader before taking a three-month parental leave. When I returned from leave in June 2022, I stepped into my current role which is a Youth Experience Advisor. My main role is capacity building within the youth teams. I work directly with supports to help build competence and confidence both as individual supports and as a collective team. I work with everyone from new hires to Team Leaders to accomplish this goal. I have also recently become a trainer for multiple pieces of training and workshops. I became a certified ASIST trainer in the fall of 2022. I also created an FASD workshop with the goal of filling what I perceived as an organizational knowledge gap. I’ve begun facilitating both and will be quite busy with them in 2023! Unlike most people in COR, I was not referred by a friend or family member. I wanted an organizational switch while still staying in the same field of work and happened upon COR in my search!

It has long been a goal of mine to become a training facilitator. In the fall of 2021, I was offered the opportunity to enroll in an online university certificate class centered around FASD. I did so with the goal of creating an FASD workshop to be disseminated within the organization. With the class and my parental leave completed, I was then able to create the workshop from the ground up. While I’ve only facilitated it a couple of times, I’ve received very positive feedback thus far and look forward to sharing my knowledge further in 2023. Additionally, I was also given the opportunity to become a certified ASIST trainer. Again, I’ve only facilitated ASIST a couple of times at this point but I look forward to continuing on a journey toward a goal I’ve had for several years!

COR is not a traditional job, nor is it a traditional organization. The organizational culture is unlike anything I’ve experienced elsewhere. While we expect a lot from all of our support, hard work is always rewarded. Positions and promotions are merit-based and you can be assured that going “above and beyond” will be recognized in tangible ways.


Fun Facts about me!

My favourite book is the Black Company series by Glen Cook.

I’m the father of a 15-month-old girl so my free time is spent guiding and watching a human being form before my eyes. Her being hilariously entertaining at all times is just an added bonus for me!

Meet Our COR Family: Kristyn White

Hi! I’m Kristyn, the Literacy Facilitator for Inclusion Regina/Creative Options Regina. I began my journey at COR as an undergraduate student at the University of Regina. Jim Temple came to one of my classes to talk to us about COR and the philosophy of Gentle Teaching, and before the class ended, I had already sent in my application. A few weeks later, I was hired as a Support Worker. As 2023 approaches, it will mark my 8th year with the organization! WOW, time flies, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the COR family still.

I was a Support Worker for several years and eventually transitioned into the role of Team Leader. During this time, I also began facilitating Tell It Like It Is – a sexual health and wellness initiative that COR offered. I became passionate about supporting the sexuality of people living with disabilities, and this led me to pursue a Master’s degree at the University of Regina. Shortly after becoming a graduate student, I started my role as Literacy Facilitator! My role involves the development and facilitation of Inclusion Regina’s literacy initiatives. People with disabilities and those within their support networks deserve access to comprehensive, accurate information on sexual health, financial literacy, technology use, reading, and much more. The opportunity to connect with the people we serve and those in the community is the best part of my role!

I am incredibly proud of the growth I have experienced at COR, not just with my career but also with myself! I was in my early 20s when I started at COR, and when I turned 30 this year, I realized I have quite literally watched myself grow up with the organization. My experiences at COR have been invaluable. This past October, I had one of my proudest career moments when I helped to organize a Sexuality & Disability conference that COR, Inclusion Saskatchewan, and Saskatoon Sexual Health hosted in Regina. The conference featured presenters from Saskatchewan and Alberta, a self-advocate panel, and over 100 attendees who came to learn about supporting the sexuality of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The event was a first of its kind in our province, and I am still beaming with pride as I reflect on the day. I am so lucky that I get to work alongside colleagues who I not only admire and learn from but who also support me and my aspirations. I am excited to see where my role at COR takes me in the future!

Fun Facts about me:

I was born and raised in Regina, and although it might not be the warmest or most exciting city, it is home. I have always believed that where you are doesn’t matter; what matters is who you are with. Spending time with the people I love is what makes me the happiest! In my free time, you can find me at our family cabin at Moosomin Lake, up North in Waskesiu, or camping with my partner, Jon. I love to explore new places and am always down for an adventure or road trip. I am obsessed with our pets (Sienna and Luna), and if I am not at the lake, I am likely spending my time telling them how cute they are.

Here are some facts you may (or may not) know about me: I have been vegan for over five years and love to cook, I taught myself how to build outdoor furniture, I hate watching people brush their teeth, I drink too much diet coke, I always forget how to spell the word ‘definitely’, I was once on the same flight as Pamela Anderson, and I hope to one day own a cabin in the mountains!

I hope you learned something new about me! Come and say hi next time you are in the COR Studio!!

Kevin- Meet the COR family

Meet Our COR Family: Kevin Mclean

Hi, I’m Kevin! I am a Home Team Leader! I have been a part of the COR family for four and a half years! I first heard about COR when one of my friends was previously a member of the board of directors. I started at COR as a home support and then after a year and a half, I moved on to support within COR’s Supported Living Program for another year and a half! I was then approached to apply for an aspiring team lead position which I ended up getting! After one year of learning and supporting, I was offered the role of Team Leader! I have also been an encourager at the studio and a facilitator for a roleplaying group for Dungeons and Dragons!

My favourite part of COR has to be my encourager position at the studio! It was just so much fun! My proudest moment was helping Michael and Peter, old roommates and friends that had a falling out, to start talking and going out together to events. If I had any advice for people who are interested in joining the COR family, I would have to say to come in with an open mind and an open heart!

Fun Facts about me:

  • My favourite series of books is The Legend of Drizzt by R.A Salvatore! I am on book 38 of the series.

My favourite quote is “All right, All right, all right” Matthew McConaughey, Dazed and Confused.

  • My son also started supporting at COR
  • In my spare time, I love to play games! Video, board games, and tabletop miniature games.

Meet Our COR Family: Tai Shier

Hello! I am Tai! I am a Team Leader at COR and have been here for just over 2 years! I heard about COR while supporting at a different agency. COR had come out with a video for 100 acts of kindness and was giving back to members of the community that made a positive impact around them. It was such a heartwarming gesture; it didn’t take long for me to realize that I would have a very fulfilling career at COR. I have had the amazing opportunity to facilitate some classes. I’m not great at public speaking, but COR and Inclusion Regina gave me the opportunity to facilitate Tell It Like It Is, and the COR Studio allowed me the chance to host an art class in preparation for the Cathedral Arts Festival. I have lots of projects in the works for next summer and can’t wait to get working on them.

I am most proud of my team; we faced a very challenging year and everyone did well in facing the challenges with kindness. The growth I have seen in the individuals we serve has been quite impressive and the credit goes to all the supports! My advice to new COR candidates is don’t be afraid to try new things, and allow yourself to think outside the box. You can make your support times very exciting, and fun with the right mindset.

Quotes that I love:

a reminder to myself that everyone starts in the learning stages and the most important thing to do is try regardless of the outcome. It may work the first time but, highly unlikely.. so it’s okay to get messy.

“Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy”
– Miss Frizzle

Meet Our COR Family: Keir Trainor

Hi, I’m Keir! I’m the People and Culture Advisor! I mainly work within recruitment alongside our Employee Experience Advisor, Casey! In addition, I facilitate payroll for all COR employees alongside Lill! I began my journey with COR working as the Payroll and Benefits Specialist, but quickly moved into what I was really passionate about – people!

I recently celebrated my 2 year anniversary at COR! I’ve been here since late September 2020. Time really flies when you love what you do! I first learned about COR when I was working at PEBA (Public Employees Benefits Agency). I met one of my great friends, JJ Mathieson, who was working full-time at PEBA and supporting overnights at COR. He told me about what he did and that he loved the organization and its culture. From there, I told him to let me know if there were any opportunities to work within COR in a business role! A few months later, he said to me that they were hiring a People and Culture Advisor. I applied for it, didn’t get it, but I was offered a benefits and pension specialist position (very in line with what I was doing at PEBA) and I took it!

My favorite project at COR so far has definitely been Healthy Workplace Month. I spent time over the past year filming different shorts for the COR socials and it was a blast! I’ve realized I’m very camera-shy, but getting out of my comfort zone really stretched me as a person. This year, we’ve decided to garner as many recipes from everyone across the COR family and compile it into a cookbook that everyone can use in their daily life. I’m super stoked to see what recipes come in from who, and try them all out! There are a few major projects at COR that have really strengthened my ability to move through adversity and plan for the future. Before moving to COR, I didn’t have much experience in implementation and planning. I felt very privileged to be able to come into a role that would impact the organization as a whole, as well as to work with incredibly supportive individuals who always had my back through thick and thin!

My advice for prospective COR candidates would be to have an open mind and open heart! Since starting at COR, I’ve really tried to immerse myself in the philosophy of Gentle Teaching and I feel that it’s really impacted how I think, my values, and how I conduct myself on a daily basis. It’s interesting to reflect on prior years and positions I
held in different organizations and see how they compare to COR in terms of culture, philosophy, and structure. I know it sounds cliché, but I really do feel that everyone has my back within COR and that I’m free to take risks and make mistakes without judgment!

Fun Facts about me:
My favorite book is called “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins. It’s an autobiography-style book with some insane stories about persevering through adversity and creating mental toughness within yourself. I think I’ve read it about 3 or 4 times over. I would totally recommend it to anyone who is looking for a brutally honest story about
overcoming obstacles in your life!

I’m a major Dark Knight fan, and I always think back to when he fell down the well in Batman Begins. The quote goes, “Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves back up”.

I think this quote is insanely relatable to my life and I can honestly say I hear this quote in my head from Alfred at least once a day! I’m constantly falling down, but it’s having the strength to stand back up, dust myself off, and keep pushing forward that’s so important!

I once had to do a triathlon because I lost a bet with my partner! We were casually chatting about a video game that I play, and I told her it would be impossible for her to reach a “max level” skill in the game. Sadly, she took on the challenge with the prize being me doing a triathlon with her. I laughed in her face but ended up doing the triathlon a few months later…

Meet Our COR Family: Julian Seilman

Hello! I am Julian and I am a Key Support at COR and have been supporting at COR for 5 and a half years now! I first learned about COR through the Kinesiology Program at the University of Regina! Seeing the people I support grow and achieve milestones in their lives has to be one of my favorite moments at COR!

My favorite project at COR had to have been during my undergraduate studies! I was leading the Transit Travel Training Program, which helped people around the community learn conventional bus routes around the city! It made me feel proud to empower them and give them more opportunities for transportation. One of my favorite memories was being thanked as a team by one of the moms. She was emotional to see her son for the first time in around 30 years being engaged with himself and the community.

At COR, you really learn how to come out of your comfort zone. You build strong relationships and friendships with both the people you support and your co-supports. Everyone is so friendly and understanding, it really feels like being a part of one giant family. Seeing the smiles and the memories you make with the people around you makes you really take pride in being a support at COR!

Fun Facts about me!

I tore my Achilles two weeks after Kevin Durant.

My favorite book is “You Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins

Meet Our COR Family: Matt Chin

Hi, I’m Matt! My role at COR is the Director of Youth Support. I have the privilege of being involved with and overseeing all of the homes and programs that are specifically for Youth. I’ve been at COR for over 11 years now! It seems like a long time but it has all gone by incredibly quickly. When I finished my Kinesiology Degree I was looking for work while I made the decision of obtaining further schooling in the areas of occupational or physical Therapy. A couple of my university professors were on the Board at COR and I had heard them speak briefly about COR. That intrigued me to look into the disability field and I started searching for jobs in that area. Through my church, Shannon Weibe found out that I was looking for work and encouraged me to look into COR. I took her advice and the rest is history!

I’ve absolutely loved being a part of COR’s decision to serve Youth. From the very beginning, there was so much positive energy and excitement at the thought of being able to help kids and provide them with a loving home and stable environment. The prospect of possibly preventing years of unnecessary trauma and countless transitions really resonated strongly for me. Being involved in coordinating the first youth home in COR and seeing everyone come together and be creative in our approaches and with the unique hurdles that youth face was definitely one of my favorite projects so far. My proudest moments at COR come from my deep-rooted desire to be the best “cheerleader” I can possibly be. My role allows me to see different leaders come and go on a regular basis. There is truly no better feeling for me than seeing Leaders succeed and being able to cheer them on in whatever capacity I can. It could be as significant as taking time to coach and mentor someone, or as simple as sending an encouraging message or bringing food to a meeting to show gratitude. It is a core value of mine to be able to support people and give them the opportunities they need to succeed.

My advice to anyone who is looking to join COR is to embrace the challenge! I think people can sometimes see the work that we all do from a very superficial lens. It looks fun to accompany someone to the park or the mall. It seems very easy to share treats, give hugs, or enjoy a hobby with someone. The truth of the matter is that the work we choose to do is hard. It’s hard because we’re choosing to do things the right way. We’re choosing to invest in people and build on genuine relationships. When you can embrace the challenge and realize that the hard work you’re putting in is bettering the lives of the people you serve, it makes everything worth it.

Fun Facts about me:

I love food. I make it a point to travel based on opportunities to try new and intriguing foods. Sharing food with others is a Love Language of mine and most of my social interactions are based around the food that is involved.

I am an introvert at heart. I enjoy spending time alone recharging my batteries through video games and movies. When I’m feeling a bit more social, golfing and eating at new restaurants is usually how I like to spend my time with others!

Meet Our COR Family: Darby Kraus

Hey, my name is Darby! I am the Team Leader within COR Youth and have been at COR for just over 2 years! I first learned about COR while I was pursuing my Bachelor of Kinesiology at the University of Regina. Throughout my time at the university, I had the opportunity to see a few different presentations from COR in my disability studies courses, as well as listen to my professors talk very highly about the organization and the work that COR does. I knew from those experiences that working with people with disabilities was an interest of mine, but it took me a couple of years to fully figure that out after I obtained my degree. Upon completion of my degree, I worked as a Health Coach for a couple of years before realizing that my true passion was not helping people with their fitness goals, but connecting with them and building a relationship that was more meaningful than that. After some soul-searching and researching, I rediscovered COR, applied, then began my journey in 2020.

One of the best things about COR is that everything we do is rooted in building strong, healthy relationships. Whether that is with the people we support, with our team members, or with the community, everything we do is based on Gentle Teaching and that really allows for everyone to feel safe and valued in their relationships, which in turn creates an environment in which we can help support the people we serve to the best of our abilities. As a team leader, I love being able to create a safe space for my team to be vulnerable in as this helps us have more open and honest communication which I find then directly correlates to the strength of our team when supporting the youth that we support.

My proudest moment so far at COR has been around starting up a brand-new youth home with a brand-new team and seeing that team become such strong, incredible supports. I am so proud of my team for continuing to show up even when things were not always easy and constantly working at becoming stronger, more compassionate people both in the boys’ home and out of the home as well.

My advice to prospective candidates is always to be open-minded and ready to be vulnerable when it comes to building relationships with the people that we support. The key to success is being genuine and bringing the best version of yourself to the table. There will be times when things get tough and Gentle Teaching may not make sense, but don’t be afraid to ask questions and maybe sit in some discomfort to really begin to understand the beauty of Gentle Teaching.

Fun Facts about me:

If I were to choose a favourite book, I would probably have to pick “Radically Happy” because it was such a relaxing book to read and it gave me many tools to use when I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

My favourite quote is, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

Some things that I enjoy doing in my free time include working out, playing with my dogs, reading, playing video games, and having coffee/connecting with my friends.


Meet Our COR Family: Joana Valamootoo

Hi! I am Joana! I am the Employment Partnership Consultant for the 4to40 initiative which is to connect people experiencing disability with forward-thinking employers who embrace a flexible 4 to 40-hour work week. In this role, I am responsible for supporting both the employee (person experiencing a disability) and employer as people enter the workforce, many for the first time! I also support the hiring and training of job coaches who provide hands-on support and mentorship; my primary focus is to build strong, trusting relationships with current employer partners!

I also recently started a new role as Cultural Advisor. In this role, I deliver Cultural Awareness training to COR’s support teams, while engaging with our entire COR family to help bring awareness to and celebrate the many events, activities, and cultural traditions of the diverse people who make up the COR family! I engage our Leadership Team in cultural topics and discussions to strengthen our diversity and nurture a culture of belonging among our whole COR family.

Prior to COR, I was working as the Respite Coordinator and Admin at Inclusion Regina; when Inclusion Regina and COR merged together in 2019, I joined COR as the Employment Partnership Consultant. In 2020, I proudly led the development of a new program to support families in need: Short Breaks. It’s been 4 years since I have been at COR. Time flies when you are doing what you love. When I was working at Inclusion Regina, I remember meeting with Michael Lavis, COR CEO, and Ben Morris, Director of the COR Studio. They both made an impact on me and I went home and started researching COR. I wanted to learn more about Gentle Teaching and fell in love with the COR philosophy of gentleness. Even before joining COR, I started to use Gentle Teaching with my kids. It looks like I was destined to join COR!

I have had many favourite projects during my time at COR so far! I always learn something new with every project and try to make it my own! I always put pieces of what I know, my values, and my education into each project. I have a Bachelor of Science with honours in Sociology; I am also working to complete another degree in Justice Studies at the University of Regina. I have always tried to incorporate both my learning and experience into my work. I love the 4to40 Initiative because I have seen how employment can transform the lives of the individuals we serve. Particularly, one project I love is the Job Club training that I co-facilitated with Peco Nagai, Educational Facilitator at Campus for All at the University of Regina.

I also love the Short Breaks Program, which is a new program in partnership with the City of Regina and Hope’s Home. It has a special place in my heart because we started this program in October 2020 when we were going through the Covid Pandemic. It was a scary time for so many people, but mostly for the individuals we serve and individuals with Intellectual disabilities living in the community with families, as at that time, all programs/activities were on hold or moved online. Short Breaks was one of the only programs where people were still able to come and socialize. It helped people navigate the uncertainties related to Covid and having a place to come to do art, participate in activities, and mostly socialize – it had a positive effect on everyone. I value connection, socializing, and being part of the community; the individuals we serve are equally the same, they strive for social interaction.

Lastly, I love the Cultural Awareness training which I had the opportunity to develop and have started to deliver to COR employees. I am able to hear first-hand lived experiences and understand how we can better support employees that work at COR. It has also been a lot of learning for me. I am grateful to be able to facilitate this training and get to know our COR family on a deeper level.

Some advice I have for people who want to join COR is to have an open mind and an open heart to receive, share and grow as an individual, but also as a team player in the community. What I have learned working at COR and through the many learning opportunities such as Gentle Teaching 1 and 2, SafeTALK, Person-Centered Thinking, and Coaching; I am able to apply it in my personal life and the lens through which I look at people and situations have changed. We all have a cultural and diversity lens and through the years of being at COR, I have been able to develop both cultural competency and cultural humility. They are both important, even essential in the field we work.

Fun Facts about me!

I love reading biographies of individuals that have influenced the world; Becoming by Michelle Obama is one of my favorites! Being a person of color, it’s inspiring.

One of my favorite quotes is:

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi.

This has stuck with me because as one individual we can all influence change and we can do so in gentle ways and it starts with us. As a mother, I want to be a role model to my kids and as a woman of color and a first-time immigrant in Canada, I want to influence and inspire people around me in small ways. After all, this is all we need, right? Making and influencing small changes that can have a big impact on society, at least on our own family and kids.

I love spending time in nature with my kids and my husband, going on long walks and going hiking are my favorite activities. I also love watching a good movie based on real life. I just discovered Hot Yoga and I love it too.

Meet Our COR Family: Casey Sakires

Hello! I am Casey! I am the Employee Experience Advisor. Primarily I am that familiar face for new supports as they are interviewed, on-boarded, and begin their journey with COR. I have been at COR for 3 years now! The way that I found out about COR was that I actually saw a posting for the Director of People and Culture role. I began exploring the website and inquiring about the organization – everything resonated with me. I don’t even know how much time I ended up spending watching every video and reading all about COR. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of COR before! I ended up applying; I didn’t get hired for that role, but ended up being offered a new position – Employee Experience Advisor! And…. here we are 3 years later…. Time flies!

I have many favourite projects that I am involved with at COR! Most notable would be 100 Acts of Kindness, the Golden Ticket, and Employee Appreciation. I think the 100 Acts of Kindness would be my favourite! Shifting internally last year through Covid – doing a 3-hour Facebook Live Event where we read nominations for our awesome #CORFam for being awesome and seeing people come to the office and receive their nomination and receive their COR swag was awesome! It was amazing to see everyone again and there was a buzz around CORhq!

I think my proudest moments are seeing people grow through the organization. There have been people we have interviewed as supports who we hired and who have grown into Key Supports and Team Leaders. Seeing them grow through COR has been inspiring! Some advice that I have for people who want to join the COR family is that we always try to keep our interviews as relaxed as possible and more of a conversation while getting to know each other – just be your true authentic self. Our interviews are all values based; just be yourself and don’t stress about the ‘interview’. I would also recommend anyone who wants to make a difference in someone’s life to check us out and apply to be a support. When we are looking through resumes we are looking for that heart and genuine interest and passion in being that positive person in someone’s life, so make sure that interest and passion shine through! I’ve never been part of an organization that genuinely cares so much about its employees and community!

Fun facts about me:

  • My favorite book is 4 agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • In my spare time I like to be with my family, Workout, play flag/touch football, or do anything active!