It has been my privilege to serve as President of the Board of Directors for the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo (SPCKW) in 2010-11. The organization’s increasingly rare combination of good thinking and action continue excite me personally and motivate me to do what I can to see that information is cultivated for social justice in Waterloo Region.
As I reread the President’s report from 2009 in preparation for writing these words, it struck me again just how similar the issues that SPCKW faces continue to be in recent years. There is still much to do. There continues to be fewer resources than we would like to do these important things that strike at the heart of the community. Knowledge is power. And local information leads to empowering choices and decisions for everyone, including people who face issues in their daily lives which tend to marginalize them.
As a Board, we looked at the mission, vision, values, and goals of the organization to continue the board’s quest to lead the organization in the best direction possible for the foreseeable future. Some of the challenge is to find language that makes what we do understandable and motivating for others, some of whom would not share our outlook for a more informed, inclusive, and democratic Waterloo Region.
The Social Planning Council continued in its work to bring respect to those with lived experience. In the fall, a number of our board members and community members took part in the Put Food in the Budget Challenge to eat on the budget which social assistance provides for food. Could you eat for a week on $20? Many of our challenge participants struggled to do just that. Presently, we have yet to see any increase to the amount of income which social assistance recipients receive. The work on eliminating poverty in the province of Ontario continues for SPCKW and our colleagues throughout the province.
New approaches utilized in the Festival of Neighborhoods, a longtime partnership of SPCKW, saw activities taking place in neighborhoods throughout the entire year. Community animators hired by SPCKW also took some events to neighbourhoods this year as a means to engage interest and participation.
The staff and volunteers of the SPCKW have continued the excellent and professional services that they have long been known for. If you have had anything to do with delivering SPCKW services or attending SPCKW activities in the past year, I thank you personally. The organization could not be the same without the contributions of each person.
Trudy Beaulne, our Executive Director, continues to be an amazing and insightful leader, responsible for all the practical operations of SPCKW. Her lifelong involvement in community development sets an example, which many folks in the community would do well to strive toward. A mere thank you seems inadequate.
As we strive for a better Waterloo Region community,
Respectively submitted, Brad Ullner