Rolling Out of Bed, Happy

I was a man without a path until I found SAI.

I was a coaster in high school. Grades meant absolutely nothing – really just laughing and having a good time was why I went to school (well I guess the girls had a little part in it too).  University wasn’t on my radar, and making a significant amount of money wasn’t either.  I was just looking for something that was fulfilling and something that made me smile when I rolled out of bed in the morning.

I went to broadcasting school and did my practicum at a radio station in North Battleford in the early 2000’s.  It was fun, but I’m not the best reader and I came to realize that there is a lot of reading in radio.  When I accidentally played a Christmas Allan Jackson song in the middle of April, well, my radio career was all but over.

My path took me right to SAI after a few years of supporting at other agencies.  I was supporting an individual out of his home, and we were lucky enough to both move over to SAI.  Before moving over, the perception of SAI (to the uninformed outside world) was a hippy hug fest.  Now don’t get me wrong, a hippy hug fest can be a great thing, but there was so much more that SAI offered.

First, the individuals were happy and at the centre of their own world.  Totally 100% person centred.  Beautiful!  Secondly, there was trust, respect and a true friendship between fellow supports and also with the management team.  To find these 2 things was a dream come true.  It’s something, not only did I think I wouldn’t find, but something I didn’t think existed.  The philosophy matched up perfectly with my, “life’s too short, let’s enjoy everyday” type of thinking.

All of these things and more are why I continue to smile when I roll out of bed in the morning, even with 2 screaming kids at 5:35am!

-Tyson Elliott, Home Supports Coordinator

Why SAI?

When I arrived at my interview at SAI I was out of breath and soaking wet. It was pouring rain and parking had been a nightmare, I figured I would save some time by taking the stairs up to our office. Upon walking in and greeting Laura (our Admin Assistant) I instantly hoped that this would be the job for me. I spent the next 30 minutes or so with Melanie, who asked me all sorts of questions that had my mind racing with excitement about the possible opportunity to learn more about the agency and the people they support. When I arrived (in heels) to my second interview I was immediately regretting my choice of footwear as we spent the entire morning walking, talking, and delivering flyers. But I was hooked! I knew this was the place where I was going to spend my time building relationships and exploring who I was a support person. Over the years my idea of what role a support person plays in the life of the person they serve has changed greatly with the deepening of my understanding of Gentle Teaching. I have learned to appreciate the teams I have a been a part of and all they have taught me, not only about what being a successful team looks like but also how to help each other during difficult times. However, I must say that I have learned the most from the people that I am privileged to support. Their willingness to allow me to be a part of their lives reminds me to be thankful for the opportunity to learn from their pasts, and celebrate their futures. It is encouraging to see them reaching their goals and knowing that you may have been a part of that. My sister recently said to me, while talking about SAI and Gentle Teaching, that some people have a job but that what we do here is a lifestyle. I couldn’t agree more!

– Toni Klassen, Director of Support & Mentorship