Supports for Community Living
and Community

I started my career at REDI in 1998 after doing my Health Care Aide practicum with them. Being from Medicine Hat, I was aware of REDI and the services they offered with supporting people. To me, REDI was more than the big building at the bottom of the over pass where the bottle depot was. I had a more personal connection to REDI as it is where my uncle received services for many years. They helped him find his own housing, get support for his addictions and to become more independent. My family would often say that his workers were amazing people as they helped him in developing a sense of belonging, pride and ownership. With their support he was able to find employment which added to his self esteem. Whenever I saw him he would talk nonstop about his support workers and his job. When I did my practicum I knew right away that REDI was a place I would like to be employed at. I liked what REDI stood for as well as REDI's mission statement.

I really enjoy the community education aspect of my job. I created the concussion awareness and prevention program a few years ago. Since then we have shared the information with Medicine Hat Minor Hockey, Medicine Hat Soccer Association, school football, bike rodeos, safety days, Brain day, Alberta Winter Games and with other events in the community. I like educating others about BIRS, how the brain works and ways to prevent injuries. When we attend these events many people have commented that they didn't know there was place in Medicine Hat that helped people with brain injuries. People will sometimes share their personal stories with concussions and thank us that we are there with the much needed education. It is nice to know that we are reaching people and providing information that way by being out there in the community.

I am involved as a facilitator with the Brain Injury Wellness Group that was started two years ago. We are in the process of starting the fourth group in September. This challenges me as I am speaking in front of others which is something I have always found difficult. I like to research materials and I am always reading to increase my knowledge in finding new information that can be presented at the group. People have stated that they have learned a great deal about various topics regarding their brain injury and that they have had an opportunity to share with others. They have said that it helps being around others that are dealing with some of the same issues, that their not alone in their experiences and have the support from one another. It is good to see people learn strategies in coping with their injury, using community resources and having a better understanding of some of the changes they may be encountering.

I am thankful that I have a job I enjoy and feel passionate about. It has allowed me to try new things and expand my skills. I have been given awesome opportunities and these are some of the reasons I continue to keep doing what I do every day. I truly love working with people and all these things contribute to what drives, compels and motivates me to work at REDI.

What is BIRS? BIRS supports people with acquired brain injury which means they help people who have experienced a stroke, a concussion, or a severe traumatic brain injury from a fall, an assault or a motor vehicle collision. They work in cooperation with the individual's doctor, physiotherapist, speech pathologist and other practitioners. BIRS is funded Alberta Health Services, Alberta Human Services and the United Way.