Recently, a long-time client of our Day Program passed away. She had lived in a very dysfunctional environment, but every time she came through our doors she always bore a ready smile. We were ‘that place that cared’; that saw her as a person, not a problem. Over the years, we have often been ‘the people who made a difference’ in the lives of both seniors and of their families.
Our organization grew our of a simple idea, originated by a group of caring community members who wanted to help their neighbours. This idea took root. So much so, that by the end of our fiscal year, March 2016, we provided 75,527 connections through our 25 programs: a mere 48% increase over last year. We have been growing consistently for years, thus illustrating the need in our community for a strong safety net to be in place to support our older community members and their families.
Time and time again, our organization has stepped up to address emerging problems. One example is the Surrey Food Bank’s Seniors. A group of 80+ seniors often waited for hours outside the Surrey Food Bank, through rain and snow, to get their supplies. We asked why? And then we partnered with the City and with the Food Bank so that these same seniors, and the ever increasing number joining them, are now enjoying refreshments and social activities inside the Chuck Bailey Centre while they wait, going to the Food Bank only when it is their turn. This simple solution connected them to our programs, such as our Senior Connectors, Walking, and Share and Care program. “A feeling of belonging”, is how many describe their experience of these new connections.
The Guildford Day Program is another feather in our cap. The Guildford site will open it’s doors, not only to the Day Program, but also to the seniors and their families, in the Guildford area, providing them with access to our Caregiver support programs, education sessions and resources and services. Since the area is currently bereft of supports, our move there, represents more care and services for seniors and their families, closer to their homes. Our organization has built a good reputation in the community through which new doors continue to open, helping us further meet our strategic goals.
The last item to which I want to draw your attention, are the people who continue to build this organization and keep on growing it. Our volunteers, functioning in 317 roles, contributed 19,635 hours of time which provided a 5% increase from 2015. The monetary value of this time is $311,665.
We all know that it is the people who make or break an organization. The people on our staff care about the people we serve. This is often demonstrated by their on-going advocacy initiatives, and with their follow up with clients, especially those in hospital or recovery, letting them know that someone misses them. On our exit surveys with caregivers and clients, we hear all about our excellent team and how much our programs and people have made a difference in their lives and that of their loved ones. The caring people on our staff are supported by our Board of Directors, a Board that donates their time and expertise to guide the organization and to help open doors for it. Our Board is comprised of amazing, community minded, souls who enrich our organization and keep me on the straight and narrow.
Looking back at previous AGM reports I have written, I see that I often describe the coming year as a challenge – we seem to do well when challenged; so, I expect a great 2016/2017. Thank you to everyone for their contributions in making Seniors Come Share Society such a success.