Distinctives

Parented Group Care
Each group home has house parents who are the primary caregivers for the children/youth in the home. They are the ones who form the deepest relationships with the boys because they are living in the same house and modeling positive family interactions.

Rural Setting
There is a peacefulness about being in the country – less distractions, more space. A place where boys can be boys, and a place that requires physical work to maintain. It’s also a place where children/youth will not be able to run so easily from their issues.

Recreational Programming
One of the keys to helping boys relieve stress and to positively channel their excess energy, is through outdoor physical activity. It’s also a great way to teach social skills. When is the last time you played ‘rabbits and wolves’, our version of hide and seek in a big field at night with flashlights?

Circle of Courage®
One of the key aspects of our treatment model is found in the teachings of the Circle of Courage®.

“The Circle of Courage® is a model of youth empowerment supported by contemporary research, the heritage of early youth work pioneers and Native philosophies of child care. The model is encompassed in four core values: belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. The central theme of this model is that a set of shared values must exist in any community to create environments that ultimately benefit all.”     (exerpt from http://www.reclaiming.com/content/about-circle-of-courage)

Spiritual Opportunities
Like the infamous 12 Step program acknowledgement of a ‘higher power’, and like aboriginal expressions of spirituality, we believe our lives and our world make the most sense within the context of the spiritual. For us, this is best expressed in following the teachings and the example of Jesus. We offer spiritual guidance through going to church together, through informal conversations about God, and through praying with the boys if they want. 

Community Participation
Depending on their interests, abilities, and needs we try and connect the boys with community opportunities outside of group home life. Besides attending school in one of the communities, we have boys who attend Cadets, swimming lessons, youth groups, soccer teams, BMX racing, taekwondo, and anything else we can find that will give them a sense that they are a part of life in their community.

Cabin at the lake
One of the highlights of living in a Renascence group home, particularly in summer, is the trips to the cabin. Just a 3 hour ride to a boys’ paradise of swimming, fishing, tubing, kneeboarding, campfires, hikes, and adventure! Many of the boys comment after their first trip to this retreat, “I wish I could just live here all the time”.


In addition, we do other camping trips to the mountains or to remote lakes where we learn to enjoy and respect nature. 

Mission & Philosophy

Renascence Homes Association is a Christian organization founded on the belief that we can provide quality care and services for children in need.

Our mission is to provide Christian family care for behaviourally challenging children and adolescents, giving them an opportunity through structured living, education, recreation, and work to become mature, responsible individuals in healthy, functioning families.

  1. We believe the traditional family is the primary system in the socialization of children and youth.  We will provide care and services within the context of the family.  Our definition of the traditional family, for foster care purposes, consists of two Christian parents, born male and female, who are lawfully married and emotionally stable, and who will exemplify the behavior expected by society and by Christian principles.
  2. We believe that a ‘Christian’ is one who professes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and has committed his/her life to following His example. We believe that Jesus was crucified as the sacrifice for our sins, was raised from the dead, and that by believing in Him we have eternal life. We also believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
  3. We believe that a life and testimony which is Christian is one that is characterized by a love for God and for others, as evident to friends, acquaintances, and the children in their home. Regular attendance and participation in a church give strong evidence of a sincere commitment to Christian principles. Christian life and testimony are also exemplified in moral integrity, and in the absence of vices which may be detrimental to oneself or to one’s family. We do not require perfection, but rather we maintain the quality of our homes by striving for high personal standards of conduct.
  4. We believe that structured living embodies the best of loving and caring parenthood in a home that is orderly, clean, and comfortable.  The necessities of life are guaranteed in the form of food, shelter, clothing, and transportation.  In this setting a child can grow up in peace knowing both praise and rebuke when it is appropriate, and be taught respect for the privacy, property, and rights of others.
  5. We believe in education as a means to achieve the best opportunity for career choices for the children in our care.  We promote educational achievement within the abilities of each child, and will provide access to educational alternatives such as regular and special classrooms, private schools, and tutoring.
  6. We believe in the positive use of leisure time.  We organize recreational activities and encourage participation in community recreation.
  7. We believe in providing age-appropriate work experience through regular household chores and appropriate employment outside of the home that will teach life skills, the value of work, and the proper management of personal finances.
  8. We believe that children or adolescents should be responsible for the decisions they make to teach them accountability for their actions.
  9. We believe in assisting the children in our care in becoming mature, responsible individuals who will become contributing members of society.
  10. We believe that people exist with spiritual needs.  We make available to the children in our care the opportunity to fulfil that need through church attendance and related activities.
  11. We believe that appropriate discipline is crucial to the development of the child, while at the same time recognizing their need for personal dignity. We do not use corporal punishment as a means of discipline for children in care.

Our History

RHA was formed out of a vision that we could provide quality care for children/youth who were not able to live in their family of origin. Errol Dohms had encountered several children/youth without families through his work in the Youth Guidance program of Youth for Christ, and then also as a Child Care Counselor at the Youth Development Center. The impact he could have on youth, as an occasional mentor or as a staff member on shift work, was minimal compared to times when he was with them 24-7 like on a camping trip. This became even more evident when Errol and Jennifer became temporary foster parents for boys they had known at ‘work’.

When it was initially discussed about whether to bring difficult youth into their home, Jennifer’s response was ‘not in my house with my children’ (of which there were already three). But one morning, while reading Scripture, Jennifer read Isaiah 58 and received a different ‘calling’. Notice especially verses 6 and 7 of Isaiah 58:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:To loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him …”

The chapter goes on to remind us of His blessing and protection when we do His will – the assurance that Jennifer wanted most as a mother of three. So we started to bring children/youth into our home, and we started the lengthy process of applying for non-profit status in Alberta and as a charitable organization with Revenue Canada in 1981. We added two bedrooms in the basement of our condo on the NE end of Edmonton, and when that was getting cramped we started praying for a larger house in the country (because it was too easy for the kids to run away in the city when they didn’t like something ).

At the same time we began all of the incorporation processes – becoming a not-for-profit society in Alberta, and a charitable organization in Canada. This also required us to formulate a Board of Directors, and to begin having regular meetings. In June, 1981 we officially became Renascence Homes Association.

An opportunity to rent Jennifer’s parents’ home on an acreage came in 1981 – 6 bedrooms for the 5 Dohms’ and 3 foster children. We did this for one year, then purchased another acreage nearby. One more son was added to the Dohms family, and several foster placements. When the economy went into recession in 1983/84 it had several immediate ramifications for us – funding from Social Services was cut by 50%; we couldn’t make the mortgage payments and had to move out; Errol took an outside job at Oakhill Boys Ranch; and, we moved back into the Rolleman acreage which we now purchased. We were now up to 4 of our own children and 3 or 4 foster children.

After 2 years of Errol working evenings and weekends, with Jennifer left at home with 7 children and no extra help, we had to change something. Either Social Services would have to begin paying us more so Errol could stay home full time, or we would have to stop being foster parents. We were offered a specialized foster care contract that would allow us to commit to this full time. After a few years of full beds (5 or 6 foster placements at a time) and cramped quarters, we were able to build an addition onto the house with 3 extra bedrooms and an office. We also hired some help with cleaning and cooking (Gramma Dohms), and eventually added one youth worker to help with the boys. It was a very busy season – raising children, driving school bus, and Errol returning to school to get his B. Ed and eventually his M. Ed in the Educational Psychology program at the University of Alberta.

In 1996 our fee for service contract was converted to a Group Home contract, which definitely simplified our financial situation but created more accountability and way more paperwork. We purchased another acreage in 1998 right next door, and eventually began offering foster care and then group home care in this house. The house parents changed in 2006 in this house, and then again in 2010. Meanwhile, Errol and Jennifer moved out of the original group home in June, 2009 to allow Byron and Andrea Dohms to take over in what would be called Forestview Group Home. Errol and Jennifer moved into Gibbons for a year while in the process of subdividing and starting construction on a new house. They moved out to the acreage and lived in a holiday trailer from May – August of 2010 while their house was being built, but moved into Riverside Group Home as house parents in August 2010 when the house parents resigned. New house parents began living in the group home in June 2011, allowing Errol and Jennifer to move into their own house. Another house parent transition started in December 2015, and continues into 2017.

 

On-Site Activities:
NOTE: No children were harmed in the following photo shoots!

Questions? Contact via telephone at 1 (780) 923-2570 or send us an email.