Caldwell Family Centre 2016 Annual General Meeting
by Claire Callender
The 2016 Caldwell Family Centre (CFC) Annual General Meeting was held on Monday May 9, 2016 at the Carlington Recreation Centre, 1520 Caldwell Avenue.
The meeting opened at 6.35pm with a short prayer led by Father Daryold Winkler from nearby St. Elizabeth parish. Board Chair Yolaine Münter then welcomed guest speaker Deborah Thompson, CEO of the Children’s Village of Ottawa-Carleton. Deborah gave an interesting and heartwarming account of the successful Transitions Summer Camp program that ran out of the CFC last summer and will run again this year from July 4–August 26. This year the program will expand to include a Junior Program for children aged 5–7 years.
Deborah noted that this year will be the 20th anniversary of the Transitions program, which runs at various locations across the city. Her passion for her self-confessed favourite program was evident as she described how the camp is designed to be “all about kids.” In small groups, with a small amount of cash and some bus tickets, kids get to make all the decisions about which activities to do each week. A counsellor guides and oversees behaviour in the group but for the most part adult input is minimal and all decisions are made by the kids. Deborah described the joy and excitement they get from planning themselves: “The camp gives them the gift of learning to be an adult in a safe world,” she said. Participants learn planning and organizing, listening and respect, collaboration and negotiating, as well as practical skills such as learning how to use the bus system, managing money and researching where to find free activities. Kids gain confidence, self-esteem and pride, all while having lots of fun. All the kids must plan one community activity. She read a letter from a 9-year old who had participated, reluctantly at first, in the program the previous year. “Really fun,” “neat stuff,” and “a summer to remember” said it all.
River Ward Councillor Riley Brockington then addressed the meeting. He gave heartfelt thanks to the staff, board and volunteers of the CFC, commending everyone for their unwavering commitment and noting that the community needs the CFC more than ever. He then shared updates of several City of Ottawa initiatives that may impact the Carling Community, emphasizing that they all offered potential benefits.
Carlington has been chosen as one of three neighbourhoods to be the initial focus of The Building Better Revitalized Neighbourhoods Program, a City Council Strategic Initiative for 2016 aimed at improving the health and liveability of low-income neighbourhoods.
Helen Synek, staff member of CFC presented a gift of appreciation to guest speakers Deborah Thompson and Riley Brockington.
Kathy Mitchell, school and program manager presented staff service awards to Gabriela Grabetz (15 years service), Eva Peralta(10 years), Bibi Kamal (10 Years) and from the Drop–In Day program Edith Moloughney (20 years).
Sister Lorena Morris, one of the founders of the CFC, then presented the 4th Annual CFC Scholarship award to Tianna Geddes, a grade 11 student at Glebe Collegiate Institute. Tianna has worked very hard at high school, taking extra summer and night school classes to allow her to apply to Algonquin College with grade 12 completed a year early and an average of over 80%. She has been accepted into the Community & Justice Services program and will start in September 2016. During her time at high school Tianna also found time to work as a cashier at Real Canadian Superstore and to volunteer in the school cafeteria and for the Canadian Cancer Society. She has participated in the Kiwanis Leadership program and in Students Will All Graduate (SWAG), an after-school program at Carlington Community Health Center. Sister Lorena congratulated Tianna on her achievements and presented her with a certificate, telling her that “Every day is a treasure hunt; every path is covered with jewels. GO FIND YOURS”.
Following the presentations, there was a short break for refreshments, kindly provided by Chances R restaurant.
The Business Meeting followed and was then adjourned at around 8pm.