Meet our Team Leaders: Jenna Wray

Team Leader Jenna Wray takes a break in her office.
Team Leader Jenna Wray takes a break in her office.

We are very excited to introduce you to one of our Team Leaders, Jenna Wray, who is in charge of our Comprehensive Care Team. Comprehensive Care provides respite care and community support services for people of all ages with developmental disabilities or chronic conditions, and their families.

How long have you been with the DDRC?
I started working at DDRC in August 2014, so two-and-a-half years now. And six months as the Team Leader for Comprehensive Care.

What made you want to work here?
I wanted to work with the DDRC originally as I was interested in the Client Services Coordinator position. I had never seen a role quite like it, and I could tell the Agency is ahead of the times by having a communication hub [for clients and their networks] like that. I continue working at the DDRC because of their willingness to grow and develop to better the lives of the individuals we support. I am also happy to work in a positive environment with such kind and friendly people!

What’s the best part about being a Team Leader?
My favourite part about being a Team Leader is being able to converse and be actively involved with the team. I enjoy being able to coach others to better themselves, and the people they support. That’s both with the frontline staff (Community Support Workers) and the office staff (Comprehensive Care Service Coordinators).

Can you tell us about a recent Comprehensive Care Team success?
A huge success is how we’ve been able to streamline our processes and having everyone working as many hours as they would like, with steady and consistent schedules.

What is a winter activity that you enjoy?
I really like snowshoeing in Kananaskis Country. It is so beautiful out there, and only an hour jaunt out of the city. I could happily go out every weekend!

Meet our Team Leaders: Denise Aquino

Denise Aquino, South Team Leader
Denise Aquino, South Team Leader

We’re pleased to introduce you to our newest Team Leader, Denise Aquino, who is in charge of our South Team. The South Team is one of our four community-based teams for Career and Leisure Services (CLS), which provides part-time and full-time support to adults with developmental disabilities in their communities.

 

How long have you been with the DDRC?
Three months, almost!

What made you want to work here?
DDRC has good policies and processes in place that align with my professional values and practice. The organization is forward thinking, efficient, vibrant, creative, and Level 2 ACDS CET accredited!

What’s the best part about being a Team Leader?
Working together with Community Resource Workers to develop tools that can positively impact the quality of service we provide to our clients.

Can you tell us about a recent South Team success?
We recently formed a bowling group, which every client on our team seems to want to be a part of! Also, the employer of one of our clients has committed to doing a “staff picks table” on a quarterly basis where our client gets to choose and gather items and books from their store, and engage with customers about these featured items. This means a lot to the work that we do because it shows how the community sees the talents, interests, and strengths of our clients.

What is your favourite thing about summer?
Longer sunlight hours which means being able to do multi-pitch trad [a type of rock climbing] or sport rock climbing routs in the mountains the whole day. Also, it does not feel too cold while flying single engine airplanes [one of Denise’s hobbies].

 

Meet Our Team Leaders: Doug Tryon

IMG_3134We’re pleased to introduce you to our Northwest Team Leader, Doug Tryon. The Northwest Team is one of our four community-based teams for Career and Leisure Services (CLS), which provides part-time and full-time support to adults with developmental disabilities in their communities.

When did you start at the DDRC?

I did a “government grant” position in 1986, and in 1987 I was offered a permanent position.

What made you want to work here?

I enjoyed working with the people at DDRC when I did the government grant position. I wanted to return so I could assist people to learn skills, and help them be the best they could be.

What’s the best thing about being a Team Leader?

I feel being able to share my skills and knowledge with others has been one of the best parts of being a Team Leader, but I must say also that learning new things from clients, families, and CRWs has been a growth experience for me.

Can you share a recent success story from the Northwest Team?

A client was having difficulty taking the initiative to work on his goals. Over time, with support and encouragement, one day he took the initiative to approach an employer for work. He was offered a part-time position doing recycling, which is an area he was interested in working in.

Tell us about a hidden talent that you have.

As I have gotten older, I am discovering talents I did not know I had. We’re renovating our house, and I have been enjoying drawing up the plans for it. I am actually doing the woodwork and using power tools, which I used to be terrified of.

Meet Our Team Leaders: Shannon Mills

PACE Team Leader, Shannon Mills
PACE Team Leader, Shannon Mills

The DDRC’s PACE program has been offering support to young adults making the transition from high school into the post secondary or working world since 1996. Team Leader Shannon Mills has shared a bit about herself and why she works here.

When did you start at the DDRC?

I started with the DDRC in October 1993.

What made you want to work here?

I was a student at Mount Royal University in the Rehabilitation program (now Disability Studies), and answered an ad to work in the group homes that the DDRC used to own.  I have been with the DDRC ever since in a variety of different roles, but I must say that the Team Leader role is so far my favorite!

What’s the best thing about being a Team Leader?

What I like best about it is the people that I get to see and work with on a daily basis. All of the management team, members of Career and Leisure Services teams, a variety of people from other departments, the PACE team Community Resource Workers, and of course the clients! Every day is a new and exciting day and I love the DDRC community as a whole.

Can you share a recent success story from the PACE team?

PACE has been growing rather fast, and we are currently supporting 48 clients. The team has been very welcoming and has embraced the growth with eagerness and excitement. We have many clients successfully pursuing their education and career goals, and to share a comment from a newer client when asked how things were: “PACE is just blowing my mind!” (In a good way.)

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I love to travel and have been lucky enough to do so! I have been to many places, but still on my list is Australia!

 

Meet Our Team Leaders: Matthew Denhoff

NW Team Leader, Matthew Denhoff
NW Team Leader, Matthew Denhoff

We’re pleased to introduce you to our newest Team Leader, Matthew Denhoff, who is in charge of our Northwest Team. The Northwest Team is one of our four community-based teams for Career and Leisure Services (CLS), which provides part-time and full-time support to adults with developmental disabilities in their communities.

When did you start at the DDRC?

I started at the DDRC in December 2014.

What made you want to work here?

I decided to work with the DDRC because I was looking for an opportunity to re-enter the non-profit sector. When I met with Kim and Helen during my interview, I was impressed by how they described the culture at the DDRC. The DDRC ideal of everyone belongs struck me as an incredible vision for an organization. Not only does it describe a valuable model for engaging clients in the community, but has also created a positive and caring organization that supports its staff so they can support others.

 What’s the best thing about being a team leader?

The best part of being a Team Leader is the flexibly to meet clients and community members from so many walks of life. That, and every day I get to come in and work with an amazing group of staff. It would be quite the challenge to not love this job!

Can you share a recent success story from the Northwest Team?

Having recently joined the Northwest Team, I am amazed at the amount of success my team has on a daily basis. From helping support clients with finding new career opportunities and excelling in them, to helping clients remember to laugh. I think we have important successes every day.

Tell us about a hidden talent that you have. 

One of my skills that people are least likely to see at the DDRC, but that I’m most proud of, is my ability to build things with my own hands. I try to set an hour aside every day to look at drawings or work on my own projects. These have included building a wooden ladder for a summer camp, and for a few years keeping the monstrosity that was my ’98 Ford Windstar running by replacing everything that broke or fell apart. By the time old Windy hit 300,000 kilometres, I’m pretty sure that what kept it moving were things I’d put in.

 

Meet Our Team Leaders: Tobi Lynne Fowler

You may remember the interviews we conducted with Northeast Team Leader Cassandra Therens, Central Team Leader Selma Gearhart, or Northwest Team Leader Rochelle Hughes. Now it’s time to head south and get to know our South Team Leader, Tobi Lynne Fowler.

Tobi Lynne
South Team Leader Tobi Lynne Fowler

How long have you been with the DDRC?
A little over two years. I started as a CRW for the PACE team, and became the South Team leader just over a year ago.

What made you want to work here?
I’ve been in the industry for about 20 years. Before coming to the DDRC, I was providing in-home support. And after a couple of years I decided it was time to get back into the industry outside of my home because I wanted to make sure that my skills were kept up, and all of my training was up to date. I just didn’t get the same kind of opportunities when I was only working out of my own home.

I had always heard wonderful things about the DDRC. I applied to several agencies, and the DDRC was of the ones that returned my call, and here I am!

What’s the best part about being a Team Leader?
Getting to know all of the staff and clients, and just the contact that you have with everybody within the agency.

Can you share a recent client success story from the South Team?
We have many people that have started new volunteer and employment positions. We’re also seeing a lot more clients advocating for themselves.

What is your favourite thing about fall?
The weather. It’s not too hot, and it’s not too cold. You can still do a lot of things outside, and you can barbeque without having to wear a winter coat!