As part of our new strategic plan, we are looking to improve communication and provide updates more frequently to our CVS community. We have decided to begin writing to you on a quarterly basis to give you updates on how we are doing at CVS and highlight our progress in terms of our three strategic commitments - Agency of Choice, Employer of Choice & Leading the Way for inclusion in the Tri-Cities. This 1st quarterly update will highlight the past few months as we close out 2019.
The past year has been an incredible one for CVS - we have accomplished much and I am prouder than ever to be the Executive Director of this incredible organization. In rolling out our new strategic plan, we have created a range of staff sub-committees to work on improving engagement with families, our staff and the wider community. This has been working well and we are excited to continue the work we are doing into the New Year.
Agency of Choice
- Since the summer, CVS has been involved in a wide range of activities that we’ve hosted within our CVS offices as well as out in the community. This includes Car Free Day in Port Moody, a number of summer BBQs, our Picnic in Rocky Point Park, a Pub Night during Community Inclusion Month in October and another successful Paint Night in November. We strive to increase our evening entertainment for the individuals we serve and our Events Committee has been working hard to do so.
- We have created lots of new employment opportunities for the individuals we serve. For example, one person started a volunteer position at Hudson’s Bay with the hopes this will turn into a paid position. He also started a new job at No Frills. Staff prepared him for his first day by creating a task list to help him learn the routine for his position. He did an amazing job and said he could not wait to go back.
- Our social enterprises are thriving - DisDaBomb has been selling out of its bath bombs across all major events they’ve participated in the community and has increased sales to retailers such as Pomme Natural Market and Coastal Collective over the past few months. Additionally, DisDaBomb launched a new product called Potty Bombs at Car Free Day in Port Moody in August which has been a big seller and attracted new customers. Our card business has also grown now offering companies branded cards and creating cards out of a beautiful painting the team coloured in advance of the holiday season.
- We also launched a new social enterprise in the summer - adVentures Dog Walking. After receiving dog walking training, the business has been growing consistently since July. The individuals in our program who are walking dogs are loving the experience. We have managed to increase the number of dogs we are walking monthly and we see that this business will continue to grow throughout the winter season.
- At the end of the summer, the Children's Services Team closed out another summer of Camp Alexandra and it was a huge success. Over the course of 3 weeks, we were able to provide a week long respite break to 18 different families from all over the Greater Vancouver area. Each day, the children experienced the invigorating fresh ocean air at Crescent Beach and were surrounded by a team of caring, compassionate and experienced camp counsellors 24 hours a day. Many members of our camp counsellor team were returning staff from previous years which provides us with assurance that the children were given optimal care.
- We just had our Family Christmas Party this last weekend at the Port Moody Recreation Centre and it was well attended. Much fun was had by all with a turkey dinner, presents, music and dancing. CVS was presented with a donation for $10,000 in honour of Sara Ewen who sadly passed away in November 2017. The donation will go towards unfunded evening programming such as music, paint, ladies and men’s nights.
- We have continued to invest in training for our staff through staff orientations, in-person training, and online formats in Positive Behaviour Supports, Augmentative Communication, The Mandt System, Gentle Teaching, Trauma Informed Practice and Mindfulness. We expect to continue to learn together in 2020 and improve the level of sophistication we provide to the folks we support.
Employer of Choice
- Since September, we have made headway with recruitment and hired 13 new employees in our Children's Residential and Community Inclusion departments.
- Our HR team have met with staff to get insight into our on-boarding process. As a result of these focus groups, we are now developing plans to address some areas for improvement. Part of this plan includes piloting a new orientation on an employee’s first day that includes on-line training but no direct support.
- In order to provide more incentives to staff, a team is working to pull together more perks and partnerships with local businesses for CVS staff. So far, we have been able to offer staff some great incentives for fitness and through our membership with the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce.
- We continue to support and encourage staff to help facilitate growth and professional development. More work will continue in helping to promote individuals’ career interests in 2020, including the launch of a mentoring program.
- At our staff celebration we gave awards to Leanne Isaacson, Cindy Browning, and Mai Bui for service that was Above and Beyond. For Exemplary Practice we gave awards to Urszula Konik and Lela Shaban. In the category of Visions and Values we gave awards to Kaarina McLeod, Kylie Isaacson, and Alex Toews. For Leadership, we gave awards to Pete Stone and Gillian Reyes. We very much appreciate the hard work and outstanding dedication that all of our 2019 award winners bring to CVS and the people we serve.
Leading the Way for Inclusion in the Tri-Cities
- Some of the people we serve have been out in the community and sharing their talents - one of the individuals we serve is talented in playing the piano. Ayat has performed at many community events, including performing at the Mayor's BBQ in Port Moody on September 5th. CVS Sponsored the Employment Roundtable to attend and present an Inclusive Employer’s Award at the Mayor’s BBQ to Gabbi and Jules.
- After receiving a grant from the Federal Government to enhance our CVS Sensory room, we have begun work on designing the room. Once the sensory room is complete we will look for ways to give access to the people we serve and also the outside community. More details of this initiative will be shared in the New Year.
- For the second year in a row, CVS was awarded as the A-List Winner for Best Community Services Organization in Port Moody. We are honoured to carry this title and are proud to operate in Port Moody and across the Tri-Cities.
- We continue to educate the public about the work we do through extending our service to others in need. In mid-November, three individuals from our community inclusion program helped with Caring Hearts Foundation. They collected and delivered toques and mittens to needy children in Vancouver. In addition, two of these individuals received Certificates of Recognition from House of Commons, signed by two MLA members, for their hard work with Caring Hearts.
- Every year our Children’s Services team spearhead an initiative to help families at this time of the year and I want to thank you all for your generous donations to that cause.
As you can see, the past few months have been busy for all of us at Community Ventures Society. It has been a very fulfilling time to be working at this organization and a pleasure to work towards supporting the individuals we serve. I also want to thank our staff team for their hard work over the past year in creating opportunities for inclusion and better lives for the people we serve. I am always amazed at the work staff do.
We also want to take this time to wish you all a wonderful time over the holidays and we look forward to serving you in 2020.