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Giving Patrick Independence – A Video by The Saskatchewanderer

The Saskatchewanderer spent some time this spring hanging out around COR capturing some footage of Patrick and his friends! Here is what he had to say:

“No two people are the same. That is the philosophy behind Creative Options Regina (COR), an organization that provides personalized support services for people with disabilities. The staff at COR tailor supports for each individual to help them discover their talents and interests and to help them reach their personal goals. COR has helped Patrick find full time work, develop an active social life and live independently in his own home. I first had the pleasure of meeting Patrick during a sports night at the Core Ritchie Community Centre in Regina, and I immediately understood his nickname — Energizer Bunny.”

A special thanks to the Government of Saskatchewan (Ministry of the Economy) and Neil Fisher (The Saskatchewanderer) for making this video possible!

Click here to learn more about The Saskatchewanderer.

-Michael

Who am I to come into this person’s home with demands and unrealistic expectations?

I consistently strive to build and maintain a culture of gentleness among the individuals I support and spend time with. When I am in someone’s home I try to put myself in their shoes. Who am I to come into this person’s home with demands and unrealistic expectations? Trying to be mindful of what I say/how I say it and how I present myself to the person receiving support is always at the forefront of my thoughts. By using the four tools (presence, eyes, hands, and words) positively, I continually try to build on the relationships I share with the individuals I serve.

I continually try to build on the relationships I share with the individuals I serve

Ensuring that person feels safe where they are and who they’re with is an important first step. Afterwards is the point at which the person can begin to be stretched and grow. Remembering that the relationship I have with the person I’m supporting is one of interdependence, allows me to teach as well as learn. This is an attitude that I attempt to maintain both within COR with the individuals being supported as well as in my other social circles.

 

Jordan, COR Support

 

COR Support Appreciation Night 2016

Every year we celebrate the people who are committed to making our organization great! This year, COR Supports gathered for an evening of fun and gaming at a Casino Night hosted by the Tartan Lounge!

I cannot express how fortunate I am to work alongside such a dedicated, compassionate group of people. You are all remarkable individuals and I sincerely appreciate your determination and commitment to creating a culture of gentleness within COR.

I know our work can be challenging at times, but I truly believe that by working together, remaining strong and committed to our mission, we will succeed in achieving our goal of building a brighter future for those we serve.

Thank you for everything that you do. You are all truly a source of inspiration.

-Michael Lavis

I believe it is extremely important to remember that we are all equal regardless of our ability level.

When I think about COR and the individuals I serve in relation to a culture of gentleness, I think it is extremely important to remember that we are all human beings and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Treating people like people, and not like patients or clients shows these individuals that they are loved, important and cared about. By doing this, it ensures each relationship I have with the individuals I serve to be authentic and meaningful, and in turn allows for this culture of gentleness to develop and flourish over time. I approach each individual support time with a positive and friendly attitude, because I know that this will let the individuals I serve know that I want to be there, and I am happy to be in their presence every time I am with them.

I also believe that in order to maintain a culture of gentleness I need to love the individuals I support unconditionally. It is often easy to get frustrated, angry or upset when unfavourable incidences arise, but as a support I consciously make an effort to show that my respect, love and loyalty will not alter regardless of the situation. As a support, I always encourage the individuals I serve to pursue their passions and become involved within their community to not only enhance their own lives, but also the lives around them. By doing this, it shows these individuals that they are both capable and important members of our team and community. Those within COR that I support learn that they have the ability to positively impact someone else’s day. The safety of the individuals as well as the team is very important to me, and I believe that if I am able to provide a gentle environment through my words and my actions, everyone is able to feel much more safe within their home and with everyone around them. When situations arise that may not be safe for myself or the individual, I make sure to stay calm and remember to respect everyone involved not only to act a positive role model, but also so that a safe and positive outcome occurs.

During my time with the individuals I serve, I make sure that they know how individually special they are

During my time with the individuals I serve, I make sure that they know how individually special they are, that they are loved and cared for by many and that I genuinely enjoy and cherish the time that we spend together. I do this not only with my words, but also with my consistent display of true unconditional love for each person that I support and support with. I believe this is critical in ensuring a gentle environment and relationship. Ultimately, I believe it is extremely important to remember that we are all equal regardless of our ability level. I truly believe that the only disability in life is a bad attitude! When we treat those we support, and support along side as equals, everyone is able to feel safe, supported and loved by one another and this is how true relationships are built.

 

Sawyer, COR Support

 

Festive Cheer! COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Holiday cheer was alive at the COR Christmas Dinner held at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Regina on December 18th. COR families, friends, employees and individuals served gathered for an evening of festivities.  A scrumptious holiday feast, along with music by our favorite east coast band, Jakey’s Gin, and a rockin’ Photo Booth by the guys at Strategy Lab made the evening that much more spectacular! The smiles, joy and laughter shared by everyone made for such a memorable night! THANK YOU!

From the Board of Directors and Leadership Team  at COR, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Angie and Richie Lookin’ Amazing!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

We’re not quite sure which one’s more naughty? HeHe!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Ben and Larissa rockin’ the Santa gear!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

We have an Elf, a Reindeer and Ms. Claus…. Happy Holidays!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Andrew and the ladies!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Who has the biggest beard? Jeph or Patrick?

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

And a HoHoHo to you! 🙂

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

What a beautiful group of people!!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

The dance floor was on fire!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Two handsome fellas!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Elise, Dave, Roger and Lill spreading some Christmas Cheer!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

HoHoHo! Sean (Mr. Coca Cola) and Jonathon!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Happy Holidays from the gals on Bronwyn and Gillian’s Support Team!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Dylan and Andrew making some holiday magic!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

A beautiful photo of John and his mom, Voula.

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Brother and Sister, Jarrod and Caleigh.

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Stylin!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Couples Pic! Looking Great Lexi, Michaela, Andrew and Jordan!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Jesse and the ladies!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Lexi and Jordan.

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Angie and her AWESOME Support Team!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Ho!Ho!Ho!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

What a stylish group!

 

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Naughty or Nice? hehe

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Some Christmas Fright!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Jessie and Jesse!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Spreading the holiday cheer!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Lisa and Diandra spreading the cheer!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Brooklyn and her family!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

John and his family.

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Who’s that peeking over Santa?

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Brenda and Marc spreading the holiday love!

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Holiday Door Prize by: Jason Robin’s Artwork

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

Holiday Carvers, the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Regina.

COR Christmas Dinner 2015

East Coast music by: Jakey’s Gin

 

 

Support Appreciation Night: February 28, 2015

COR Presents Support Appreciation Night

 

What Makes COR Different?

I began supporting with COR in April 2014. Being close to completing my Social Work degree and having years of previous experience in working with those with different abilities, I thought I had a good expectation and understanding of what this job would entail. Little did I realize that being a support for COR would not only change how I viewed working in this field, but also shape who I am as a human being.

I love working at COR because those we support are given so many opportunities to achieve, succeed, and feel proud of themselves in many areas of their life and community. Often people with exceptionalities have limits placed on them given their physical state or cognitive functioning, but rather than focusing on a ‘disability’, COR focus on the abilities that a person has and realizes their potential for achievement and fulfillment. I love that we are not ‘working with people with disabilities’, we are being a friend and extending support.

Working at COR has been very rewarding, but there have also been challenging moments. However, these challenging moments have always turned out to be entirely beneficial in the end because they have taught me more about myself then I could have ever imagined. COR is different than any other place I have worked because the philosophy is not centered around changing those we support – it is about accepting and loving them for who they are, and instead changing ourselves to better understand and care for those we support. Supporting at COR has taught me that although a person may be shaped by their past and their history, expressing unconditional kindness and acceptance has the potential to turn a person’s day and even their life around. The lessons I have learned at COR have transferred into my personal life, my professional perspective, and my overall understanding of human interaction.

Those I have met through COR and the philosophy and culture of gentleness that I have learned to practice will stay with me forever. Through supporting at COR I have learned what it truly means to be a friend, a caring professional, and part of the community.

Kasey, COR Support

It’s the little things that make the biggest difference in all relationships

Throughout my nearly three years as a Support Person with COR I have had the pleasure of supporting several individuals with varying interests, strengths, challenges, and needs.  The one thing that has always remained constant is that each and every person I have supported has needed to feel safe and loved unconditionally.  I am fortunate in that I have been able to support a few individuals for the entirety or better half of my employment at COR and have been able to build amazing relationships with them.

Every Support Person will have a different relationship with the same individual, and every Support Person will approach building that relationship in slightly different ways.  While at first I found it challenging to build relationships, by choosing to be myself and treat the individuals I support like my close friends and family members I found things flowed as naturally as any other relationship would and true friendships were born.  People can sense when you are not being genuine towards them and they will withdraw from you because they do not feel safe.  Just because somebody has an intellectual disability does not mean they deserve to be treated as less of a person or talked to differently than anybody else you interact with in your day.

Throughout my employment at COR I have considered the people I support to be real-life friends and I have really tried to show them that I value their friendship and truly believe we are all equals.  I know that a lot of the individuals COR supports still call their Supports their “Workers” because their entire lives they have known that most of the people in their lives are paid to be there.  While I am employed by COR I do my best to tell them through my words, actions, and body language that we are friends first and foremost and nothing they can do or say will make me not want to be their friend.  Friendships may have ups and downs, but unconditional love doesn’t falter.

I also truly believe that it’s the little things that make the biggest difference in all relationships.  Introducing the people I support as “my friend” instead of “the person I work with”.  Offering hugs and not shying away from them after a challenging day.  Actively listening to how they are telling me they feel in that moment instead of dismissing it.  Not altering my voice to sound like I’m talking to a small child.  These are all little things I make a conscious effort to do to help grow my relationships and over time I have seen the people I support reciprocate my offerings of friendship and love.

Allison, COR Support

Watch out Gordon Ramsey… COR is in the Kitchen

Over the course of my time supporting at COR, I noticed that with different supports came different quality of  foods being prepared.  I know, I know this is a strange thing to notice. But for a foodie like me (one who loves to eat and cook!) it raised a few questions.  I knew that we were supporting our individuals and friends relationally  and emotionally, but I continued to question whether or not we were  physically equipping them with healthy options for meals and snacks. Perhaps though a greater question was looming in my mind: Do all the supports know the basic’s of cooking?

After a couple conversations with Michael Lavis and a few months of pondering how to get started, I threw caution to the wind and hosted a night of food and fun at my house. It began with my team! There were six of us in attendance and the meal plan was set!

It was my goal to create a four course meal, that could easily be transformed into several different meals by making slight adjustments in cooking techniques.

 

APPETIZER: Guacamole & Chips

We picked this as a healthy snack alternative. This 5 ingredient dip is not only simple to make but a healthy alternative to a store bought dip. The dip also pumps a person full of nutirents and helps fill you up more than a traditional cream based dip.

 

SALADS: Coleslaw and Potatoe Salad

These are two salads that are staples to any summer picnic. I picked these salads to make as a healtier alternative to store bought dressings and premade salads. It was a  great way to show supports that both salads have the same ingredients but by adding relish, the coleslaw dressing is transformed into a dressing that defines  potatoe salad.

 

MAIN COURSE: Chicken Shishkabobs and Rice

Using the ingredients for chicken shishkabobs I was able to explain how cooking them in a different way (on the stove top) you could easily make a stirfry. The marinade then becomes a sauce when boiled over the stove.

 

DESSERT: Chocolate Brownie with icing

My mama told me that dessert is for when friends come over: case and point!

 

We had a  blast! It was fun to learn together, laugh together and make mistakes together. Cooking doesn’t have to be scary and when done with friends it lends itself to be more than a meal, it becomes a memory.

If you are interested in participating in another COR Support cooking class, watch for emails and updates on the COR Facebook page and from your Team Leaders. This is a great way to get connected within COR and get a free meal out of it as well!

Ben, COR Support