• Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
  • Mon - Fri 8.30 - 16.30

Category Archives: Quote

Our Stories: Victoria Kingston

This is Victoria’s story, our Communication Coordinator

Hi! My name is Victoria Kingston and I have been providing one-liners and clever quips to the general public since the 4th Grade when Mrs. McCaig was forced to add “sarcasm” to her list of prohibited classroom activities on the blackboard.

Initially aspiring to become a world-renowned chemist, I switched programs to marketing and communications after I realized I really hated math and Bunsen burners.

I started working for ASLS in November 2017. Up until then, I had only ever worked in the commercial sector. The biggest change I experienced working for a non-profit was a shift in purpose.

In previous positions, the main motivation behind marketing campaigns, projects, and deliverables were to drive revenue. At ASLS, the purpose behind my work is to generate awareness, create documents and templates that make my colleagues work easier, broadcast victories and, above all, improve the quality of life of some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

My work environment is one of cooperation, compassion, and growth.

Although I was born in Grande Prairie, I only recently relocated here a couple of years ago. I suppose you could say I’m like salmon and have returned to my spawning grounds. I rent an acreage from my aunt just outside of Sexsmith where I live with my boyfriend, Brandon. Our two rescue dogs, Yoshi and Zelda, love the space and every day is an adventure in identifying what they drop on my doorstep.

Yoshi and Zelda

When I am not typing, I like to sew teddy bears by hand. My grandma taught me how to do it and it’s a tradition I have carried on. Recently, I started a small enterprise where I turn shirts and blankets with sentimental value into teddy bears.

Our Stories: Jane Weber

This is Jane’s story, a CSW in Grimshaw.

I’ve been with ASLS for just over a year. I’ve worked with individuals with varying degrees of challenges for most of my life. I remember at 6-years-old helping my mother (she had a brain injury before I was born).

I have 2 children and 7 grandchildren. My husband, Dan, and I enjoy spending time with our family whenever we can. We also enjoy camping and will sometimes camp and go to work from the trailer!

In my spare time, I do many crafts. I sew, quilt, knit, crochet, weave and do needlepoint. I just finished making a queen-sized quilt for my husband and a king-sized quilt for my daughter.

I also donate chemo caps to those who lose their hair to cancer. So far, I’ve made and donated 400 chemo caps (or chemo hats) to hospitals in Alberta, Ontario and some in the USA.

Our Stories: Annette Williams

This is Annette’s story, our Advocator for Individuals ASLS supports

Annette has been with ASLS for two and a half years and was hired as a CSW.

Born and raised in Newfoundland, she lived in Ontario for 20 years before moving to Grande Prairie.

Annette has been married 32 wonderful years, has five children and 13 grandchildren!

Why do you stay?

“This is the most caring and supportive place I have ever worked for. They genuinely care for the individuals and the employees. When ASLS says we work as a team, it truly is a team and the best team I have ever worked for.”

Why did you want to take on the challenge?

“I love to work with people, and I hope at the end of each day I made everyone’s day just a little brighter.”

What is one of your fondest memories so far?

“There are so many fond memories but one that sticks out the most is the work I did with an individual getting him ready to move out on his own and prepare him for being on his own.”

What do you tell yourself when it is a stressful day? How do you practice self-care?

“I tell myself that no matter how stressful it is on me it must be so much harder for the individual. I was very bad on self-care in the past but recently I have learned to take time for myself just to relax and sit.”

What would you say to the founding parents if they were here right now?

“I would tell them that the work and support they give to everyone from the employees to the individuals cannot be matched by any other organization. They really give you the tools and support to do your job to the best of your ability.”

How has ASLS impacted your personal life?

“I can’t begin to say the positive way ASLS has impacted me personally. I have had so much support and care from everyone at ASLS especially in the past 10 months. Knowing that I had such a caring employer who supported me through that time meant more to me than words can say and I could never thank ASLS enough.”

Quick facts about Annette:

– She loves spending her spare time with her family

– She was a figure skater for 18 years AND played hockey for 8 years

Celebrating Our Diversity on Multiculturalism Day

It is Multiculturalism Day #MultiDay in Canada (June 27) and we would like to recognize and celebrate the multiculturalism at ASLS.

We are proud to say we have a diverse team working at this organization and also support a diverse group of Individuals.

In our most recent internal Cultural Competency and Diversity Survey, we found that 23% of our team members that took the survey hold a Citizenship in a country other than Canada and 20% shared that they were Landed Immigrants.

When asked what diversity means to them, some responded with:

“To me diversity is an acknowledgment of the characteristics that make each of us who we are. I feel that what makes me diverse has never been a determining factor of progression in my career with the organization. I feel I have been treated equally and with respect despite any differences.”

“Diversity is full inclusion of anyone’s background or belief system, it’s supporting and encouraging everyone to be individuals and express their differences.”

“Having a wide range of people, race religion, sexuality, or disability, but being as one community.”

At ASLS, we strive to learn more about cultural & religious traditions and customs of the Individuals we support as well as our Team Members, as laid out in our Accessibility Plan and Cultural Competency & Diversity Plan.

One way we are making that happen is by education through Cultural Diversity Training Sessions.

The purpose of each session is to help ASLS Team Members be equipped and empowered, build skills, and gain the tools necessary to be culturally flexible and sensitive to the needs of different people.

Recently some of our Team Members took part in Aboriginal Cultural Training. It was an opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding to further support Aboriginal Individuals in our care. A local Elder taught us about Ceremonies, Traditional Values, Family Structure, past present and future.

Multiculturalism – the presence of, or support for the presence of, several distinct cultural or ethnic groups within a society

Our Stories: Zainab Ashiq

This is Zainab Ashiq’s story, our Administrative/Clinical Support Assistant in Grimshaw

Zainab has been with us for just three months and was hired on as a CSW and applied “because a lot of people had said ASLS is an amazing organization to work for.”

Why do you stay?

“I love my job. I’m working my hardest in hopes to get hired again next summer.”

Why did you want to take on the challenge?

“I thought it would fit well with my degree choice. I wanted the work experience.”

What is one of your fondest memories so far?

“Sharing an office with Laura. She taught me so much.”

What do you tell yourself when it is a stressful day? How do you practice self-care?

“To take deep breaths and stay calm. I love to self-care by taking a bath (lush bath bombs are my favourite) and spending time with my family.”

What are you most surprised about working here?

“How easy everyone is to get along with and how hardworking this team is.”

What would you say to the founding parents if they were here right now?

“That they’ve built something incredibly special.”

How has ASLS impacted your personal life?

“I’ve learnt to appreciate a lot more and be more open with myself and others.”

Quick facts about Zainab:

– She has two older brothers and no pets, yet!

– She loves to shop online and spends a lot of time at the gym

– She would eventually like to work at an accounting firm somewhere in the city

– She is surprisingly good at jumping hurdles for how short she is

– She would love to have lunch with Michelle Obama and it wouldn’t matter where. “She’s one of my biggest inspirations and I would love to sit & chat with her.”

Any message you would like to share?

“I would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been so welcoming and kind since I’ve started here.”

Our Stories: Amanda Werny

This is Amanda’s story, our Residential Administrative Coordinator

Amanda has been with ASLS since September 2018 and was hired on as the Food Program Coordinator.

She grew up in Red Earth Creek before moving to Slave Lake in 2006 and settling in Grande Prairie in the summer of 2015. Amanda has a sister and is a dog mom to Daisey.

Why did you take on this challenge?

“I took on this challenge because I have a passion for helping people with disabilities and improving their quality of life.”

What do you tell yourself when it is a stressful day? How do you practice self-care?

“When I have a stressful day, I remind myself it is just a bad day, not a bad life and the reason we are all here. I self -care by going hiking with my dog.”

What are you most surprised about working here?

“I am most surprised at how everyone in the office is like a little family and always willing to help each other out.”

How has the company changed/evolved since you started?

“Since I have been here my role has evolved from the food program and administrative to now Residential Administrative Coordinator (PCP, over-seeing food program, assisting the Program Manager and other tasks for the organization).”

What do you do in your spare time?

“In my spare time, I enjoy spending time in the mountains with my dog. I love to cook and try new recipes.”

What do most people not know about you that you would like them to know?

“Most people don’t know I was Corporal Werny in Army Cadets in Slave Lake.”

What message would you like to share?

“My message would be, no matter how difficult things can be, always find a way to smile and laugh.”

Our Stories: Leah Larsen

This is Leah’s story, our Scheduling Assistant

Leah has been with ASLS for a little over a year and was hired for the Human Resources Administrator position.

Born in B.C., Leah moved to Saskatchewan in 1992 then Lloydminster in 2007 before settling in Peace River in 2013.

She is married to Baron and has two teenaged sons (Michael 17 & Nicholas 14) as well as a dog (Mercury 13) and cat (Jasmine 2).

Why did you apply?

“I had been in the accounting/office management field for most of my working life and wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and try something new.”

What is one of your fondest memories so far?

“There are so many. I always love listening to the Individuals tell me about their day and what was going on when I would walk through Stone Brook.”

What do you tell yourself when it is a stressful day? How do you practice self-care?

“On a stressful day, I remind myself to breathe and just take one task at a time. I remind myself that I am only one person and can get done what I can. I also like to make a list of tasks so that I can prioritize and that helps to keep the stress down.

Baking is a big self-care for me. I love being in my kitchen and creating wonderful treats.”

What do you do in your spare time?

“I spend a lot of my free time (which isn’t very much lol) baking. If you ask anyone that knows me, they will tell you that I bake a lot.

I also love knitting, camping, fishing and anything that is outdoors in the summer.”

If you could have lunch with anyone anywhere who and where would that be and why?

“I would have lunch with my Oma, and it could be anywhere.

My Oma passed away when I was young, and I didn’t get a chance to ask her everything I wanted to know about her.”

Cupcakes Leah made for the nurses at Stone Brook in Grimshaw

Our Stories: Julie Babbitt-Byrne

This is Julie’s story, our Program Manager- North

Julie has been with ASLS for six years this August. She began her career as a CSW and has been both a Supervisor and recently a Team Lead in Peace River. She is originally from Zimbabwe and I loves the heat. YAY SUMMER!

Julie has 2 sons and 2 dogs and more cats than she would like to admit.

What position were you hired for?

“I was hired as a working supervisor for Bluesky residence. I have worked as a PCAP Mentor, a Working Supervisor, a Team Lead and just recently as a Program Manager. For some reason, I am drawn to the behavioural homes.”

Why do you stay?

“I stay because I truly believe I am making a positive difference in the lives of people in my own community. I love connecting with people and there are LOTS of people at ASLS.”

What is one of your fondest memories so far?

“I have had the opportunity to make great memories with all of the clients I have worked with directly and equally as many great memories with the staff members I have worked with. Even when complex behavioural clients have rough days I feel like I have a connection to them and that we have made it through 100% percent of the tough days together. One of my favourite memories is having an impromptu dance party on the beach while some clients were fishing.”

How has the company changed/evolved since you started?

“I have been working at ASLS since ‘B.S.’ – before ShareVision. We used to have to document everything on paper and had binders everywhere. (I loved the label maker). ShareVision has been a huge change and it makes my job overseeing multiple houses MUCH easier. I also saw the building of Stonebrook in Grimshaw which was totally cool.”

How do you de-stress and self-care?

“I love to laugh and sing. If I can find something to smile about then the stressful days become less stressful. For self-care, I like to do something creative like paint by number or cross-stitch or I just get outside with my sons and fly a kite.”

What is your hidden talent that can be shared with the public?

“My mom taught me how to juggle silk scarves. Only three at a time. Nothing too crazy.”

Accessibility: Eliminating Barriers

Accessibility has more than one meaning to us and as such, we have Implemented an Accessibility Plan.

The plan addresses accessibility barriers in the following areas:

· Attitudinal

· Architectural/Physical

· Environmental

· Financial

· Communication

· Transportation

· Technology

· Community Integration

Just recently, one of our Peace River homes faced an Attitudinal barrier from a neighbour with one concern raised being We no longer feel safe because of many visits by the RCMP to the home.” Our Director of Programs addressed the concerns in front of the Subdivision & Development Appeal Board Hearing and in the end our Development Permit was approved. (You can read more about that in our blog post)

We have tools in place to ensure Individuals receiving ASLS supports are able to access their community without Architectural/Physical, Environmental or Transportation barriers.

That comes in the form of two 4×4 trucks at our rural property in the County of Grande Prairie. This means that no matter the weather or road condition, a safe, reliable vehicle is available to transport Individuals to and from their home.

At Stone Brook, our Designated Supportive Living Facility in Grimshaw, there are two vans able to transport Individuals with their wheelchairs to any location in their community.

Many of our homes are fully wheelchair accessible and have wide doorways with open concept designs.

One of our newest homes in Grimshaw has been renovated to accommodate wheelchairs.

A wheelchair lift gives access to the main level where two bedrooms have ceiling lifts; a system used to transfer a person from their chair to bed by way of a sling-seat attached to tracks on the ceiling. This system is also installed in a bathroom, making for an easier transition to those facilities.

Another main floor bathroom has a fully accessible shower with a movable powerhead.

Stone Brook is fully wheelchair accessible including elevators and two Spa Tubs. The facility is also home to a Community Garden that is accessible. It has raised flower boxes and paths that are wide enough for wheelchairs, walkers and strollers. This Community Garden is accessible to and used by the community.

Accessibility and Inclusion in the Workplace

Our #Accessibility week features continue with an Individual in our Independent Living Services program and his employer.

Les Schur, a Rocky Mountain Equipment employee

The following is a letter from Rocky Mountain Equipment in Grimshaw:

Les Schur has been working for Rocky Mountain Equipment since November of 2012, going on 7 years.

But he has been at the same premises for over 20 years, as he worked for Houlder Automotive ltd. Prior to the sale of the Farm Division to Rocky Mountain. He started April 29, 1998, for Bud & Ken Houlder so he has been here for 21 years.

Les has always been an eager employee and takes his job seriously. Over the years he has assisted the Parts Department, through Shipping and Receiving, running both the skid steer and forklift to unload the larger pieces from the trucks. He seemed helped the Shipping and Receiving department a lot more when that person happened to be female. He always said, “I’m nice to all my Sweeties.”

For Sales, he detailed the inside of the cabs of equipment and filled in at the wash bay when we were short a wash person. And for all the departments, he is paged often for various duties or assistance. He helps a lot but the odd time you will hear him sigh when he is paged because he doesn’t like to be interrupted from his daily routines.

Besides his janitorial duties, he makes coffee for us every day, opens the Parts and Service yard gates before anyone else gets to work. And Les is the main caregiver of our two resident cats Stumpy and Stripey.

Les is the yard maintenance person also. He runs the lawnmower, whipper snipper and the sprayer when needed. He does not like dandelions and the “white daisies” (scentless Chamomile) and he loves to “fix them” with the lawnmower and sprayer.

From Troy Houlder: Branch Sales Manager

Les has always been a key part of Special events with Houlder Automotive and then Rocky Mountain Equipment whether it was a combine clinic or Canada Day parade. Les was ready to help and participate. Les with his “Santa Suit” is an annual visitor to our Christmas parties along with some special karaoke songs including “North to Alaska”. He is a well-loved and special member of our team.

From Dusty Szmata: Parts Sales Manager

I have fond memories involving Les, but one of his proudest moments that I was a part of was when we all pitched in and bought Les a new TV and I delivered it and set it up for him. Another memory I have is when Les and I built the Tarp Shed together at work. We had a good time and got the job done. I also get to spend a lot of time away from the branch with Les on weekends in the wintertime. He helps with both my boy’s hockey teams. He is very reliable, and I can count on him being there to lend a hand. Les means a lot to me and my family. Thanks, Les!

Over the years we must confess that many a joke was played on Les, some very cute, some not so cute that made Les mad at us. But mostly jokes were in fun like hiding his Owl, greasing his closet door handle etc. But the is when Les tells us these stories again and has all of us laughing with him.

Thank you Les from the Rocky Staff.