The 2015 Caldwell Family Centre (CFC) Annual General Meeting was held on Monday May 25, 2015 at the Carlington Recreation Centre, 1520 Caldwell Avenue.
Board Chair Yolaine Münter welcomed guest speaker Riley Brockington, Ottawa City Councillor for River Ward. Councillor Brockington was elected in October 2014, replacing Maria McRae, who had served River Ward for the previous 11 years. With deep roots and family ties in River Ward, his sincere interest and commitment to the Carlington area were evident as he talked about his own life and his goals as a City Councillor. Since his election, he has already made more than 30 visits to the Carlington area, more than to any other part of River Ward. He was gracious in his appreciation of the CFC, thanking volunteers, board members and staff for their dedication, and reminded the audience that the positive impacts of the centre on the community continue to be well recognized at City Hall. He did voice some concern that people in Carlington feel neglected by politicians, and committed to prioritizing finding resources to help the community, addressing local issues (particularly safety on the streets), and meeting regularly with people and businesses in the community. He talked specifically about traffic calming “flex sticks,” which will be installed along Caldwell Avenue between Morisset and Medford as a pilot project during the summer months. Other traffic issues relating to the proximity of the neighbourhood to the Civic and Royal Ottawa hospitals are also being addressed.
Councillor Brockington presented the 2015 Caldwell Family Centre (CFC) Scholarship to Dat Le, a grade 12 student at Glebe Collegiate Institute. A beaming Dat accepted a plaque and $1000 towards college or university tuition costs, with his father and sister looking on proudly. This is the third CFC scholarship award, given annually to a student living in the Carlington catchment area who demonstrates both academic excellence and a commitment to giving back to the community. Dat, who attributes his success to perseverance, maintains an academic average of 90%, and has volunteered with various organizations during his time in high school, including Saint-Vincent Hospital and the MS Society of Canada. He will be attending Algonquin College in September 2015 to take an Electrical Engineering Technology program.
David Walsh, executive director of CFC, then invited staff members Edith and Maurice to present a CFC Staff Award to their colleague Helen Synek. Edith described Helen as a special lady with the “spirit of all spirits”, an ever-present smile and respect for everyone. Helen, who later this year will celebrate working at CFC for 30 of the 31 years that the centre has been in existence, graciously accepted flowers and a memory album, promising to share the latter with everyone after the meeting. Ottawa Citizen columnist Kelly Egan was in attendance – his interview with Helen can be found here: http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/ean-30-years-later-irish-ma-still-tends-caldwells-poor
Following the presentations, there was a short break for refreshments, kindly provided by Chances R restaurant.
The Business Meeting followed. Four new Board Members were elected— Birgit Nielsen, Patrick Girard, Renée Stewart and Kevin Williams — and Michael Van Dusen was re-elected for a new three-year term. Yolaine Münter, Eileen McGregor, Valerie Mullen and Diane O’Gorman will continue on as board members in their current terms, and Jean Meldrum has resigned from the board.
Yolaine Münter presented the Chair’s report, highlighting some new areas of focus that came from strategic planning sessions earlier in the year—building on strengths, increasing visibility, and assuring availability of resources so that the center can continue to address ever-increasing needs of the community.
David Walsh presented the Executive Director’s report, highlighting work with agency partners, in particular an exciting new partnership with Children’s Village of Ottawa-Carleton to facilitate new summer day camp placements for children in the Caldwell area.
Patrick Girard presented the Treasurer’s report noting that the financial statements had been audited independently and found to be in good order. All reports shone a positive and optimistic light on the Caldwell Family Centre, which continues to make a difference in the lives of many in the Carlington Community.