Our Story

How it all began: Back in 1995, a group of parents gathered to discuss the life they wished for their adult children with intellectual disabilities. The dream: to develop an organization where people could play a major role in their own life decisions, living in their own homes with the freedom to make choices for themselves and find a meaningful place within their communities. A pilot project began, supporting one individual through a temporary contract with the Community Living Division of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services. This was the beginning of the SAI vocational/daytime supports program.

By 1997, SAI became an official non-profit organization, rooting itself in the philosophy of Gentle Teaching and offering vocational, daytime and home supports designed with the individuals’ values, desires and goals in mind. Since then, the success of SAI’s unique approach to support for individuals who’d previously struggled to find their place in community has continued to gain momentum. SAI has grown into an organization employing over 150 people and supporting over 60 individuals.

SAI has provided training and mentoring to other agencies throughout Saskatchewan and beyond. In 2008, SAI partnered with CLSD to create a new agency in Saskatchewan: Creative Options Regina. SAI continues to grow and receive requests for expansion of services to individuals whose support needs are currently unmet in our province.

SAI values community, companionship and interdependence – with those whom we serve and those with whom we work. This has resulted in lower employee turnover rates than the provincial sector average. In addition, SAI’s provincial and international profile is growing due to a continued leadership role with Gentle Teaching International.

As large institutions prepare to close in Western Canada and the need for community-based support continues to grow, SAI remains committed to its founding values that centre on the dignity and human value of all individuals.

We Admit It. We’re Different.

At SAI, we seek to ensure that:

The individuals we support feel safe with us and loved by us, so that they are free to be loving and meaningfully engaged with us and others.

We spend a lot of one-on-one time with people to really get to know their interests and abilities. From there, we develop individualized opportunities for each person within his or her community. Vocational/daytime supports utilize local services and business to maximize options and ensure that the appropriate safety nets are in place. Home supports reflect each person’s personal lifestyle preference, community norms and equality of citizenship.

Learning to make choices is an important aspect of a person’s life, as is learning responsibility for those choices. Those supported by SAI access and utilize the same local options as any other citizen of our community.

We also commit to each other:

That our team members will feel equipped and valued, so that we become active, participative members who take initiative.

SAI offers services to people with intellectual disabilities in a unique way that celebrates the value of each individual. At SAI, we embrace a language where subtle word choices represent a deep philosophy of valuing those we support, as well as our colleagues:

Instead of running group homes, SAI supports individuals in their own homes.

Instead of placing clients into programs, SAI helps individuals live according to their own values, discover their talents and interests, and reach their personal, individual goals.

Instead of employees working shifts, SAI team members provide support hours.

Our Team

Tim Jones

Tim Jones

Executive Director

Tim began his journey as a support person, supporting the first person served by SAI in 1995. He has moved up over the years to his current role as the Executive Director. Tim believes in the philosophy of Gentle Teaching with his whole being, and was fortunate enough to be mentored by Dr. John McGee from 1999 up until John’s passing in 2013. Tim is a certified Master Mentor, and is currently serving as the Board President of Gentle Teaching International. You can always find Tim with a Coke Zero in his hand, ready to discuss his vision for SAI or who got voted off on Survivor. Tim is a married to a great lady who shares his passion for Gentle Teaching, and is a proud father of three children, and two puppy babies. Tim is a certified Color Spectrum Trainer, holds a graduate certificate in Valued Based Leadership and is a certified CTT consultant with the Barrett Values Centre.

Melanie Loroff

Melanie Loroff

Associate Executive Director

After working in various areas of the disability sector Melanie found her true fit at SAI in 2002. She started out as the Vocational Coordinator/Team Leader who was instrumental in the growth of SAI’s community based day program. She now serves as the Associate Executive Director (which is really code for a little of this and a lot of that). Melanie is committed to those we serve and their personal networks. She works hard to ensure that the values of SAI are present in everything from working with funders and families to interacting with team members and community partners. When Melanie isn’t bopping around SAI she is often found in the stands cheering on her girls, spending time with her husband or cuddling with her schnauzer. Melanie has successfully completed the Effective Executive program through Edwards School of Business and is recognized as a certified Gentle Teaching Mentor.

Toni Klassen

Toni Klassen

Director of Support & Mentorship

Toni - who is a fabulous wife, learning mom, and the world’s biggest Nickelback fan - recognized her desire to be involved with people with developmental disabilities at a very young age. She has been employed with SAI since 2009; started out providing direct support, advancing to Team Leader and finally Coordinator all within our Vocational program. Upon finding SAI Toni realized her passion for Gentle Teaching and pursued becoming a certified Mentor and Master Mentor. After obtaining her Master Mentor Certificate from Gentle Teaching International she accepted the role as SAI’s Director of Support & Mentorship. She is currently participating in a curriculum development committee with members of the Gentle Teaching International community.

Jenny Lewis

Jenny Lewis

Director of Human Resources

Jenny, born and raised in Southern Saskatchewan, moved to Saskatoon in 2007 to attend Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan. After sufficiently becoming a caffeine dependent life-form she worked in the world of Human Resources for 4 years before joining the SAI family in 2015. Jenny has since completed the Effective Executive Leadership Program at the UofS and is a member of the SAHRP. Jenny’s outgoing and approachable personality makes it easy for her to make a connection with others. She is passionate about making a difference in people’s lives, giving back to her community, and putting a smile on your face. Jenny is the main contact for all HR needs, which range from hiring and promotion to fantasy football and Doritos.

Haley Ralko

Haley Ralko

Director of Mental Health Services

Born and raised in a farming community in southeast Saskatchewan, Haley has grown up seeing the value in community involvement. After volunteering at summer camps and embracing her compassionate side, she packed up her horse and moved to Regina to attend nursing school. With a wide range of clinical experiences under her belt this enthusiastic Registered Psychiatric Nurse spent 3 years on the Mental Health and Addictions unit in Regina before relocating to Saskatoon to join the SAI team. Haley embraces every opportunity to support, advocate, educate and learn as she continues on her path to become a Super Nurse. She welcomes you to stop by the office anytime for a chat... or a free hand-washing tutorial!

Jacine Gyug

Jacine Gyug

Vocational Coordinator

Jacine started her SAI career in the Vocational program as a Support Worker and then moved up to Team Leader. After a term position as a Home Supports Coordinator, she finally found her true fit as the Vocational Coordinator in early 2016. Jacine fully believes in community based day programming, and feels that everyone we serve should find value and joy in their day. Her commitment to working alongside families and teams to bring everyone together is clear as she continues to facilitate growth in the vocational program. Jacine is committed to bringing Gentle Teaching to everyone that she encounters and is currently on the path of becoming certified as a Mentor through Gentle Teaching International. Jacine does all of this great work, with a witty sense of humor, deep standing love affair with Star Wars and being a talented musician extraordinaire who can be found jamming at various events throughout the city.

Tyson Elliot

Tyson Elliot

Home Supports Coordinator

Tyson burst on to the SAI scene in 2010 as a strong Team Leader, and in 2015 he accepted a position as a Home Supports Coordinator. Tyson is one of the few men around the SAI office so he has had to become skilled at carrying on a conversation about the latest hair colour trends and what the new spring styles are. Tyson is an avid sports guy, whose passion for teamwork, commitment to Gentle Teaching, and ability to carve out a strong teams is evident as his helping hand is always at the ready. Tyson has played a key role in organizing many of the SAI Dream Fund activities such as the Glow Curling Bonspiel, the Slow Pitch tournament, and the annual Roughrider bus trip. Tyson, alongside his amazing wife, is the proud parent to 2 beautiful daughters and 2 rambunctious dogs.

Serena Russell

Serena Russell

Home Supports Coordinator

Serena is the ever patient, ever loving, proud parent of four children and doting grandma of two. In 2004 Serena joined SAI as a support person and moved to a Team Leader role within the same year. Serena’s natural connection and belief in SAI’s philosophy enables her to be a successful Home Supports Coordinator who others look to for guidance. Serena embraces everyone in a loving and genuine relationship and they are truly seen as an extension of her own family. She is always ready to go out for lunch with a coupon, organize a fundraiser, create a list, or share a funny video online. Serena serves as the chair of the Occupational Health and Safety committee, is a certified Person Centered Thinking trainer, and is a certified Transferring Lifting and Repositioning instructor.

Amanda Chabot

Amanda Chabot

Home Supports Coordinator

Amanda’s kicked off her journey at SAI in 2002 as a support person. She made her way into a Team Leader position where she worked hard to develop strong leadership skills and lasting relationships. This experience prepared her for the position she holds now as a Home Supports Coordinator. Amanda is actively involved in the Dream Fund, eagerly organizes the Rider trip each year, never fails at planning someone an amazing birthday lunch, and is passionate about joining any committee that may be forming around the office. Amanda is one of two Mandt trainers and she enjoys getting to know new support people in various parts of the agency. She met her handsome husband Trevor in the early years at SAI, and they have recently welcomed their first, beautiful baby girl Elowyn.

Heather Foster

Heather Foster

Home Supports Coordinator

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Heather attended the University of Saskatchewan, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts and Science, majoring in Psychology and completed an Honours degree. It was in her final year of studies that a friend introduced her to SAI with the phrase, “this agency is like nothing out there”. On that note, Heather has been employed with the agency since 2000 where she has been a support person, a Team Leader and is currently a Home Supports Coordinator. Heather is passionate about the values and principles of Gentle Teaching and the positive impact it has on the individuals served at SAI. Heather is and active parent and mother of two. In her “spare time”, Heather runs a BMX track, snowmobiles, and runs her kids to volleyball, drama, hockey, dance, curling, basketball and anything else they may join on a whim.

Russell Weyland

Russell Weyland

Payroll & Benefits Administrator

Russell, the sports guru of SAI, is always ready with any random sports stat that you may (or may not) be seeking. Before joining the SAI team in 2010, Russell completed his Business Management diploma from Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. Russell worked in both the public and private sector for eight years before settling into the world of non-profit. As the Payroll & Benefits Administrator, Russell has formed close connections with various people throughout the organization and finds value in not only a balanced budget but also the services that SAI provides. The love of Russell’s life is his cat Bucky, second only to his beautiful wife and growing son - who is taking strides to be the future pitcher of the New York Yankees.

Laura Beck

Laura Beck

Administrative Assistant

Laura relocated from Alberta to Saskatoon in 1991 with her husband and two children. She was a stay at home mother who was extremely active in her children’s classrooms. Laura began at SAI in 2007 as the Administrative Assistant and little did she know how badly they needed her. Laura enjoys the time she spends helping SAI’s Leadership team and Supports with all of the administrative aspects of their roles. She takes pride in building relationships and spending time with the people we serve. She can be seen answering the phone, stocking the candy dish, creating employment opportunities within the office, or anything else that is thrown at her. Laura embraces the Gentle Teaching philosophy by making time for everyone she encounters, regardless of how busy she is. Laura goes above and beyond to impact the lives of everyone at SAI, and dreams of retirement on a tropical island.

The Board of Directors

Barry Halliday, President
Bob Regnier, Vice President
Sylvia Regnier, Secretary/Treasurer
Duncan Jolly, Board Member
Pete Wiebe, Board Member
Shelley Stevens, Board Member
Maureen Jolly, Board Member
Donna Hume, Board Member
Kaylie Borchardt, Board Member
John Wickett, Representative

Our Partners