Earning Trust through Authentic Village Connections

Stephanie Maki has been a regular fixture at The Village of Wentworth Heights since she joined the Village team as a personal support worker student doing her clinical placement in 2018. When she graduated from Mohawk College, a job in the Village was instantly on offer and her smiling face has been a comfort for residents ever since.

Stephanie’s dedication, compassion and her ability to connect with residents and offer them not only exceptional care but also the comfort of friendship is one of the reasons she was recognized with a Success Award in the fall of 2022 for her ability to “earn trust.” 

Stephanie stands with a broad smile, displaying the success award she received for "earning trust."

About five years ago, Schlegel Villages launched CONNECT The Dots, a unique team member training program developed to provide the service skills and knowledge required to provide residents with meaningful experiences each and every day. The CONNECT the Dots program is built upon a philosophical foundation of five key values:

  • KNOW ME- as a unique human being
  • BE PRESENT- in all communications
  • WALK IN MY SHOES- try to understand how I feel
  • EARN TRUST- be clear, genuine & transparent
  • FOLLOW THROUGH- all the way

Schlegel Villages has always had Success Awards to recognize exceptional team members along similar lines, and they are now presented to team members who embody the spirit of the above values. These leaders are our direct care partners, and they are invited each year to participate in the annual Schlegel Villages Operational Planning retreat, offering key insights into the enhancement of care and services.

This fall was the first in-person event since 2019, and Stephanie says she was honoured to be part of it.

“They gave us a brief idea of what to expect but it was nothing that I was expecting at all,” Stephanie says, reflecting in the Operational Planning event. “It just felt like one big family coming together. Everyone has their own role to play and everyone has to come together to get that big goal to the finish.”

The goal, she says, is simply “to provide the best care – to all come together and just show who we are and that what we do is for a purpose.”

connect with people from across the organization together, she realized just how many opportunities there are within it. “You can grow so much and your eyes really opened to what actually goes on behind the scenes and what’s available to everyone.

“It shows (Schlegel Villages) cares about their team members. There’s always room for growth if you want to become something new or try something new in the Village. They are there to support you, no matter what.”

She is now looking into other opportunities within her Village and is eager to take advantage of any new training opportunities that can help her continue to enhance the lives of the residents she serves.

She shows up early for shifts, just to spend a little extra time with residents, even five or 10 minutes, because it helps her understand what they are going through.

“It feels so rewarding to me to see them smile,” Stephanie says. “Spending that extra time with them makes a big difference in their life.”