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Meet Jess 1

Working as an Early Childhood Educator – Meet Jess

A career that is both rewarding, challenging, and inspiring – being an Early Childhood Educator for 10 years.

Jessica (more commonly known as Jess) Hoffman has been an Early Childhood Educator at Hope’s Home for 10 years. Year after year she welcomes new faces to Hope’s home, watches them as they grow and see the world with complete fascination and curiosity, and then has been there as they say goodbye to daycare. She’s truly witnessed it all. So we took a moment to look back on her career and get her perspective on the changes within the organization.

Meet Jess 21. How long have you been at Hope’s Home? What positions have you all held here? Give a little explanation about each one.

I have been at Hope’s Home for 10 years. In those years I have worked with all age groups as an Early Childhood Educator. The age I enjoy most is Preschool and School-age children. I love the way they discover and explore new experiences each day. The last two years I had the opportunity to be the Early Learning and Childcare Manager at the JPII Daycare location. Currently, I am an Early Childhood Educator for Preschool/School-age children as well as the Relief Manager at the Regina South location. My favorite thing to do with the children is science and arts!

2. What is the main factor that’s made you stay at Hope’s Home this long?

The main reasons I’ve worked for Hope’s Home for so many years is the children and our inclusive programs. Our programs support every child and are set up to include everyone no matter your ability. The best part of this is watching the children reach milestones and build relationships with each other. Nothing is more gratifying than watching a child succeed and concur challenges all while having fun with their peers. The amazing staff are the other reason I have worked for Hope’s Home so long. It’s like a family here and everyone is here for the same reason, to support the kiddos. Working in this field is challenging at times but is also the most inspiring and rewarding job I’ve ever had.

3. How have you seen the organization change from when you started to how it is now?

I first started at our College Ave location with around 25 children and a few staff. Fast forward years later, we have more locations throughout the province that support children and their families. With these locations came new programs and more supports for the children. In 10 years I have seen a lot of successful change that has helped this organization grow immensely. Through all the changes in the past few years we have kept our Vison, Mission and Values, of loving, supporting and accepting every individual equally, while creating an enhanced environment for all children. I am proud to be a part of Hope’s Home and to see our community and families come together to support and teach these young humans. It’s pretty incredible and really highlights the hard work and advocacy of our staff and families at Hope’s Home.

Meet Jess 34. How have you seen Hope’s Home impact the community you live and work in?

When I first started not a lot of people knew about Hope’s Home or very little at that. Now a large amount of people in our community know about Hope’s Home and I always get the response of, “Wow what incredible work you do! What an amazing place to work.” And I couldn’t agree more!  Throughout the years I have seen the community come together and support our Early Learning programs, Respite and daycare services by inviting us to their businesses to tour with our classrooms, by visiting us to see how our programs run, making donations, volunteering, the list goes on.

5. What is your favourite Hope’s Home memory or moment?

It’s impossible to have one favorite memory! But I would say that each year we have an award for the “Child of The Year” and we highlight that child and all their milestones, success and hurdles they have overcome. Being in that moment of listening to the stories, telling the stories of that child, how hard they have worked to overcome challenges, and to see the relationships and acceptance that each child has is truly the best memory I can ask for. I am the lucky one who gets to experience this each day and be a part of such an amazing organization.

 

Have any questions for Jess about her career with Hope’s Home? Or just want to tell her she’s amazing? Let us know in the comments!

 

That’s why there’s no place like Hope. ❤️

First time swimming - hopes home

Supportive Living – Celebrating firsts as a Family

For the kids that live with us at Supportive Living, our staff members are their second family. 

Not too long ago, our Supportive Living Home took this little dude swimming for the first time. Our staff made sure that his oxygen tube wouldn’t stop him from participating in the activity that he chose. At Hope’s Home we celebrate the everyday miracles, and this is one of them. Each day we are in awe of the inspiring victories our kids achieve, only made possible by the incredible staff there to help them, encourage them, and support them along the way.

24 childrens care home

This little guy turned 2 last week, and he’s been with Hope’s Home for almost his whole life. Our staff have celebrated his first steps, first taste of food orally, and his first swim, along with so many other accomplishments. He’s come so far from when he was first brought to Hope’s Home. Now the staff have to chase him around the house while he’s running and playing. We are so grateful everyday that we get to be apart of these children’s lives as not just their caregivers, but as their family.

 

That’s why there’s no place like Hope. ❤️

donations regina

Where Does My Donation Go?

One of our most commonly asked questions we get is “Where does my donation go?”

Our fundraised dollars are vital to the operation of our non-profit organization and ensure that all locations across Saskatchewan get proper resources. It helps improve our programming and allows us to provide a completely inclusive environment to our kids. As generous donors, you deserve complete transparency when you donate to a non-profit.

Below are the top 6 most common areas where the fundraised dollars are allocated:

Respite

Due to high operation costs and absence of government funding, Respite is one of the main programs that we fundraise for. Hope’s Home has one respite bed in Regina that is constantly booked with families who access our services to get the break they deserve from the care their child needs. 

respite regina - hopes home regina

Recreational Program

Our Rec Program is for school aged kids who have complex medical or developmental needs. This program receives no government funding, but is in high demand in the community. Read more about it here.

after school program

Nursing Costs

Because of the nature of our organization, nursing salaries attribute to a large part of our operational costs. Fundraised dollars help us staff more nurses across the province in order to provide high quality health and safety for all children in attendance.

complex medical needs

Classroom Supplies

Classroom supplies include items such as area rugs, books, shelving, puzzles, and art supplies. Having money allocated for classroom supplies allows our ECE’s to create projects based on topics the kids have expressed interest in to keep up with their growth and development.

donations regina

Sensory Equipment

Sensory equipment helps calm and focus children so that they can better participate in learning and activities, and also help children work towards personal goals in specific areas of development. Some examples of this equipment include bubble tubes, light or water tables, switches, adaptive seating, and sensory boards.

sensory play - daycare

Community Involvement

Fundraised dollars also goes towards getting our kids out and involved in their community. Costs are associated in order to explore our community which may include entrance/program fees, activity supplies, and transportation costs. There are a variety of activities and outings children can be involved in, such as the below where our children got to meet and play with Saskatchewan RoughRiders players.

community involvement

Where to Donate?

If you are interesting in donating to Hope’s Home and helping fund these areas, you can click here. We appreciate each and every donor. Without them, we would not be able to provide these kids with the care and development that they deserve.

 

That’s why there’s no place like Hope. ❤️

 

Nikki from Hope's Home

Working at a Non-Profit – Meet Nikki.

The benefits of working at a non-profit: Let Nikki tell you why she has been with Hope’s Home for over 10 years!

Hope’s Home has been a registered non-profit organization for 14 years. Throughout those years we have grown the business to include a 24 hour home for children with complex medical needs, which we call Supportive Living; inclusive Early Learning & Childcare centres in Regina, Warman, and Prince Albert; and a respite program to support our families. With all the expansions and changes, we have had some amazing staff members that have stuck with us since (basically) the beginning.

We felt that those staff members deserved to be highlighted and acknowledged for all the hard work and dedication they have shown. This mini series will showcase those staff members and why they chose Hope’s Home as their career.

We are starting off with the beautiful Nikki Hauck, who is currently our Administrative Assistant at our Regina South location. She is absolutely incredible – always helping out where needed, getting things back to you super speedy, and doing everything with a smile on her face. She is a joy to have at Hope’s Home.

Nikki from Hope's Home

1. How long have you been at Hope’s Home? What positions have you all held here? Give a little explanation about each one.

I have been at Hope’s Home for almost 12 years. I worked as a full time Developmental Worker for 10 years. In that time I also started up an art program with the kids. It involved planning different art projects with each group weekly. I did that for about a year and ended it off with a big art show held at the MacKenzie Art Gallery. It showcased all of the kids amazing art work and raised some excellent funds for Hope’s Home. I went on Maternity leave in 2018 and when I came back in 2019 I started in my administrative role.

2. What is the main factor that’s made you stay at Hope’s Home this long?

There are 3 reasons why I have stayed at Hope’s Home for so long: It’s the kids, the staff, and all of the families that we support. When you work with the same kids everyday, they become family to you and you love them as if they are. You become so close with the families because you are communicating with them everyday and are working with their kids to achieve the same goals and celebrating with them when they meet those goals! You also become family to your co-workers. Some days are hard and really challenging but when you work with great staff you become super close and are each others biggest support system. Some of the best people I know are people I have met at Hope’s Home.

3. How have you seen the organization change from when you started to how it is now?

When I first walked in the doors at our College Ave location there were about 8 kids and only a handful of staff. We took turns making lunch for the kids. It was like being a big family in a big house. A few months later the kids started to roll in and it just blew up after that. We grew out of the College Ave location pretty quickly and opened few classrooms at Regina Christian School to accommodate the growing number of children.  Then the new locations in the province began to open and it has just been growing ever since. With that being said, Hope’s Home has still kept its family feel.

4. How have you seen Hope’s Home impact the community you live and work in?

When I used to get asked where I worked, people didn’t know what Hope’s Home was. Now when I get asked, I always get the comments of “Wow what an amazing place to work. I have heard so many wonderful things.” It’s so rewarding to hear all the parents stories of how this organization has impacted their lives.

5. What is your favourite Hope’s Home memory or moment?

Nikki from Hope's Home ReginaOne of my favorite memories was watching a little boy I worked with, accept the Child of the Year Award for all of his accomplishments. He was the first little face I saw on my first day at Hope’s Home. He faced many hardships and I was able to watch him overcome them – like helping him learn to walk and starting to communicate. How lucky am I that I get to be a part of this wonderful organization?!

 

That’s why there’s no place like Hope. ❤️

inclusive childcare

How We Create Inclusive Childcare

Welcome to the first post to our Stories section: Inclusive Childcare Regina

Hi everyone,

This is the place where we will showcase achievements, industry tips, educational moments, and so much more. It will be a place to ask questions, share your thoughts, and learn a little more about Hope’s Home and what we do here. If you’re new to Hope’s Home, make sure to check out the rest of our website to see how we aim to improve the lives of children every day.

This first post will be apart of our Philosophy Series. This will focus on the concepts that frame our entire organization by guiding our actions in both our Childcare Centres and our Supportive Living Homes. Topic one is inclusion. Inclusion is what sparked the idea for the creation of Hope’s Home: Children with complex medical or developmental needs have the right to play and learn in the same environment as any other typically developing child. Fourteen years later, we have four Early Learning & Childcare centres to bring life to that fundamental idea. For more insight into what an inclusive environment means at Hope’s Home, we interviewed Nicole Shepherd and Jena Baldrey, two Nurse Supervisors at our Prince Albert location.

Nicole and Jena have both been advocates for Hope’s Home over the years. They’ve helped bring awareness to our organization and fought for the rights of families and children who utilize our services. Their dedication to Hope’s Home and desire to get each kid exactly what they deserve is inspiring to all of us. Thank you so much, Nicole and Jena, for everything you do. Our kids are so lucky to have you.

For more information on how Nicole has advocated for our kids, you can watch this video here.

 

“I witness inclusion happening every day at Hope’s Home, and every day I am overwhelmed by what I see. The staff and children are so creative in how they make an environment inclusive and I am so grateful and proud to be a part of Hope’s Home.”

– Nicole Shepherd.

 

1. What does the word “inclusion” mean at Hope’s Home? How is this philosophy implemented in day-to-day life?

Nicole: Inclusion at Hope’s Home means that every child is included in all aspects of programming, education, and everyday activities. Every child is treated equally despite varying skills and abilities and no child is ever left out or left behind. Inclusion is practiced every day at Hope’s Home and is an influencing factor when determining, developing, and implementing programming.

Jena: Inclusion is the foundation of our care. It means that the children, regardless of their developmental level or needs are part of the family environment created each day. It extends to the team of staff and caregivers and regardless of role, everyone is a mentor and a teacher.  

 

inclusive childcare regina

Because of our inclusive environment, our kids don’t see Nathaniel in a wheelchair, they just see Nathaniel.

 

2. What is the benefit of typically developing children experiencing an inclusive environment such as Hope’s Home?

Nicole: Typical children at Hope’s Home are not afraid, scared, or intimidated by a child in a wheelchair or a standing frame, or who may have tube feed meals or oxygen, as they see these things each day. Typical children are educated on developmental and medical equipment and procedures and are always wanting to help with all aspects of program and care delivery. They learn how to communicate in many different ways and languages and are always celebrating each others successes, no matter how big or small.  I am confident that the typical children at Hope’s Home are going to be the first ones to offer assistance to someone in need in the future, as they demonstrate how to be loving, caring,  and accepting of everyone in the inclusive environment at Hope’s Home every day.

Jena: I have seen first hand the profound learning that comes from an inclusive environment. My own children that attend the programs have developed into kind, generous, understanding individuals that believe above all else, everyone is special in their own way. They learn to embrace change and differences and acknowledge the resilience of their amazing friends that overcome challenges and succeed in their own special way. 

 

“Although there has been much improvement, there is still a lot of stigma around special needs and judgments passed on parents who care for them and their struggles. I feel that we are a safe place for these families.”

– Jena Baldrey.

 

 

3. How does an inclusive childcare environment change the quality of life for children with complex medical or developmental needs?

Nicole: An inclusive environment provides an opportunity for them to interact, socialize, and learn within their peer groups. The love, belonging and acceptance I see these children receive and give to the staff and typical children each day is amazing. Children learn from their peers and they make great strides developmentally through observation and by the therapies that are provided to them in an inclusive environment. The continuity of nursing staff at Hope’s Home improves the overall health and safety of the child with complex medical needs. I have also seen the inclusive environment at Hope’s Home improve the mental health of children with complex medical needs as it provides them the opportunity to be a child during times they do not have to be isolated at home or in the hospital due to illness.

Jena: Although there has been much improvement, there is still a lot of stigma around special needs and judgments passed on parents and families who care for them and their struggles. I feel that we are a safe place for these families. A place where the children can just be kids and their families can get a well deserved break and the understanding and support they need. 

inclusive childcare regina

A medical condition will never prevent a child from doing what they want to do. All activities are given the green light with a little bit of help from our staff.

 

4. Describe a moment where you witnessed inclusion happening? Why was this moment special to you?

Nicole: I witness inclusion happening every day at Hope’s Home and every day I am overwhelmed by what I see. The staff and children are so creative in how they make an environment inclusive and I am so grateful and proud to be a part of Hope’s Home. The moments that stand out for me as being special are the ones where the children with complex medical needs are not in the Early Learning and Childcare center or at home due to illness. The other children and staff always inquire about them and make cards and crafts to send to them that wish them well and lift their spirits. There were a few times where children went to the hospital with staff to read or play cards with their friend who was not able to be with them. The inclusive environment is not limited to centers or homes, it is outreaching to wherever the children of Hope’s Home may be. That is special.

Jena: I have seen so many. One very memorable moment was when one of our SL children began attending daycare. Everyday that she came in, initially with her walker, every child in the room rushed to be her helper and all were always so encouraging and excited for every milestone she met and all her hard work. I was able to witness this multiple times in a day.

 

5. What is the biggest challenge of offering an inclusive environment?

Nicole: The biggest challenge is finding and adapting different ways of doing things to meet the needs of Hope’s Home staff and children. I witness staff being creative and thinking outside of the box every day, which is both challenging but can also be rewarding. There is an added challenge in creating an inclusive environment when there are limited or inappropriate community resources available to provide support. I have been a part of advocating for and have witnessed the positive change over the years regarding community resources and hope to see more changes soon.

Jena: Ensuring that the funds are in place to allow for extra staffing and resources to ensure all children get the time and support they require to continue to develop and grow to their full potential.

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Jena: I have always been someone who was a very firm believer in inclusion and equal opportunity; however, I don’t believe I even understood the full meaning until I started at Hope’s Home. I have learned so much, not only from my mentors and managers but from the amazing, passionate, selfless individuals that care for our children every day and celebrate all the victories no matter how small. I am forever in awe of the amazing work that everyone in this organization does.

 

And that’s why there’s no place like Hope. ♥️