On January 24th, 2018, COR became a TOP Employer in Saskatchewan! We are proud to receive this recognition and are truly grateful for all those who have supported us on our journey! A special THANK YOU to our 185+ team of young, passionate professionals who are dedicated to nurturing a culture of compassion in the work place. We too are grateful to our partners, funders, supporters, family members and the people we serve for their continued support. I invite you to read our story below…
COR is proud to be recognized by the Service and Hospitality Safety Association (SHSA) for our efforts to incorporate Mental Health within our Safety Management System. To learn more about Mental Health in the Workplace, watch their SHSAtv video segment.
Lisa Chavady, SHSA’s Senior Advisor will guide you through the first four steps to implementation, from gaining leadership commitment, conducting a baseline assessment, devising a plan, to measuring and revising. Remember, what works for one organization may not work for another. Find out what is required at YOUR organization, and do what works for you!
Special Guests Experts:
- Elizabeth Rankin-Horvath, CSA Group Project Manager for the development of the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace
- Rory McCorriston, Mandy Boersch & Kristyn White from Creative Options Regina, who tell a first-hand story of how they have successfully integrated the mental health aspect into their safety management system
To learn more, visit the SHSA Website.
The true integrity that Gentle Teaching is related to creates an atmosphere where people are truly loved, feel safe and can embrace a culture of gentleness. Given these elements of John McGee’s philosophy of Gentle Teaching as teams of support people at Creative Options Regina we have created positive places for supports and the people who we serve to grow together. My personal contributions to my team’s culture of gentleness relate to true caring for the woman I support. They are fostering positive relationships between her and the team who supports her, including myself, as well as promoting independence in unique ways. These elements of support help to create a culture of gentleness where everyone feels safe and loved.
Creating and maintaining good relationship among the team and with Angie is extremely important when considering the support to an individual and support to Support relationships, as well as the inter-reliance of both relationships. Coming into my employment opportunity with Creative Options Regina I thought that maintaining so many positive relationships was going to be difficult. This was not the case because the nature of Gentle Teaching with the four pillars (safe, loved, loving, and engaged) and the four tools (presence, words, hands, and eyes) helps everyone to maintain positive relationships that help us to better work together to provide support. With everyone working together, bringing ideas, concerns to one another and the ability to be honest with each other creates a positive team atmosphere for us as supports, which in turn results in the ability to provide better support.
Promoting Angie’s own form of independence and what she wants to do, as well as achieving what she wants is one of the best ways of maintaining a culture of gentleness. Whether it is playing dominoes all day or venturing out on the town, it is important that the people who we support have the most impute in their every day lives and that we are there to help them — not do for them. Another element that adds to Angie’s form of freedom is creating a home that truly reflects her personality. Whether it is blasting Christmas music in July, helping her decorate her house for holidays, or bringing my guitar, the thing we are there to do is help her achieve what she wants and be her companion every step of the way. Although her way of independence appears different from that of most people, what is important is that we create a culture of gentleness that helps her to be independent in a way that involves help from her friends. After all, the founder of Gentle Teaching John McGee stated:
“Loneliness is not freedom. Decision-Making is not freedom. Independence is not freedom. Autonomy is not freedom. These are only expressions of possible freedom. It is each persons becoming the author of his/her own life-project, but in the context of being-with-others, feeling at home with others, feeling safe within oneself, and feeling connected and engaged with significant others.” (McGee. 2.)
As a support person, I feel that being there for what Angie wants is my biggest contribution to creating a culture of gentleness.
Given the kind nature of Gentle Teaching, the goal of creating a culture of gentleness and kindness is made easier if one follows the teachings of John McGee’s philosophy. Two of the ways that I try to encourage this culture of gentleness are by fostering positive relationships between the team of supports, Angie and myself, as well as helping Angie to create her own form of independence. Encouraging this gentle community of people leads to a better experience for anyone who enters Angie’s house and more importantly improves Angie’s quality of life.
Andrew, COR Support
Austin is an example for us all to follow. Austin has set a goal, worked hard to learn the skills, spent the time mastering his skills and finally achieved his goal through persistence. He never once slipped up and was always prepared to try again when a challenge arose. Austin was not afraid to ask for help when he needed it and was always ready to help others with their challenges. When you put your time and effort into a goal, anything is possible!
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 the recycling field at Sarcan could not be better suited for him.
What started as a self-directed three month work term for his high school work experience class, turned into near full-time paid employment for the summer months. He was 16 when he set his sights on future employment with Sarcan and he is now 18 years of age still passionate and proud about this role.
Austin and his supports have started to notice a change in his self-confidence. His numeracy skills and ability to count and understand money has also improved and he has no problem reading a schedule or earning his own steady paycheck. Much of this success can be attributed to his job at Sarcan and because of this success his independence has also increased. He recognizes that he can set goals for himself and can succeed in attaining those goals. With this new heightened self-awareness and his independence and confidence levels elevating it is my hope that new and exciting opportunities will continue to present themselves to him.
In addition to being a great employee, Austin is learning to be a humbly responsible young man. To be fair, at 18 one doesn’t have a lot of expenses but he manages to save most of his earnings every two weeks. “It’s nice to have money. Especially when I want to buy something big.” He does however splurge with twenty dollars on pay day to celebrate his hard work. At such a young age it is rare to find this level of dedication! Austin’s next chapter in life is sure to be bright.
Community Education and Outreach
Ted is always on the go! Whether taking an evening to race around town on his bike, or working as a cleaner and detailer for cars and trucks at Morsky; Ted is always on the move. His attention to detail helps make him an extremely gifted artist and his resourceful nature rivals that of Macguiver. In the first couple minutes of getting to know him I learned that Ted is playful and loves to joke around which makes him a good friend and well-rounded teammate.
When asked what his favorite part of working at Morsky is, Ted confidently stated, “saving money for things and [his] boss. I really like to have money for things I want.” Ted is a cleaner and detailer at Morsky and loves being part of the team. “Everyone I work with is really nice to me and when I do a good job, they hook me up with a bonus.” Not a bad gig if I do say so myself.
When the clock strikes 4 pm, Ted’s day isn’t finished. In his spare time he likes to tinker with new projects and fix broken treasures. If he can’t fix and sell it, he finds a way to repurpose it. One of Ted’s most recent projects is a mount for his iPod which fastens to the frame of his new bike. Now he can listen to tunes while he rips around town.
Looking around Ted’s home it is easy to see that Ted is passionate about creating. When he is not fixing up his ride he can be found drawing video game characters, painting fresh canvasses in his art class, and playing through games on his Xbox. One of Ted’s favorite games is Minecraft; a game where one builds and plays characters of their own design in a world which is also designed by the game player.
Finally, I asked Ted about his dream job. “I love cars,” he beamed. “I’d like to work with Monster trucks or clean Nascars. Maybe a mechanic.” It sounds like any pit crew would be lucky to have your creative vision and playful personality. Thanks Ted!
Community Education and Outreach
Often when I have the chance to catch up with somebody I have not seen for a while, the question always seems to pop up: “So, where are you working these days?”. This is a funny question for me to answer because when you truly find something that you are passionate about and enjoy doing on a daily basis, it’s no longer considered work – this is how Gentle Teaching has transformed me as a person. After graduating high school, I soon found myself at a job that did not offer any growth for myself as an individual. A cooking job that provided forty hours a week, but had me asking myself if this is really how I want to spend the next however many years of my life, at a job where I simply show up for a nine to five shift, then go home. I can imagine that I was among millions of people who couldn’t wait to be done work to get home and relax, dreading the thought of having to go back the next day. I needed a change, especially knowing that I had much more inside of me than that. COR was an option that I had considered applying for, but was ambiguous about at first. It’s the type of organization that was very unfamiliar to me solely because I was one of many who had the common attitude that people with a disability may be seen as troublesome and based my perception on the idea of their “behaviour”. I took a blind leap into Gentle Teaching and soon realized that a critical part of this culture of gentleness is shedding these beliefs and valuing people for who they are. Now, two years later, I have found myself buried so deep in the lives of the individuals I serve that the thought of not seeing them throughout the week is unnerving.
With COR, I now find myself getting lost in the moment with these individuals that I can honestly call my friends, forgetting about time all-together. From being part of a fast paced, aggressive work environment in the past, to now being a part of a community that practices Gentle Teaching in every aspect in life is truly a blessing. Gentle Teaching has helped me focus on building a sense of companionship and community with those that I serve and that there is no nine to five shift when it comes to being involved in others lives. The relationships you create and maintain with others directly revolves around the time you invest with them, being WITH one another is one of the main lessons I have grown to appreciate since being introduced to Gentle Teaching. This philosophy is truly something special, something you can’t just turn on or off when it fits. I believe it’s the unconditional compassion for others in which we all have inside of us.
Sawyer, COR Support