In Every Season….

 

When Fall comes, school begins, Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day and suddenly it is Christmas. In between we have also enjoyed various other faith festivals and events, all bringing us closer to the winter solstice. What is everyone concerned about as the leaves change colour, the first frost numbs our gardens and we drag out our winterwear?

At March of Dimes it is the season of reflection, requiring us to produce mid year results reports, forecasts, strategic plans. We evaluate everything we have accomplished in the first half of the fiscal year. We celebrated at our Annual General Meeting, all the accomplishments of the last fiscal year, and by September we  completed a round of performance reviews, reports and analyses. In this way, we measure our outcomes and manage our resources. There are never enough funds to meet all the needs of people with disabilities who come to us. There are never enough staff to complete all the projects we dream of. There are not enough hours in the day to allow us to do everything and also reflect fully on how we are doing.

Yet, we do continue to do amazing work, creatively and with limited resources due to our committed and dedicated staff. We are experiencing significant financial  and structural challenges this year due to funding changes in Employment Services and the changing nature of the work. Our Independent Living Services will expand with a few new projects, and our Programs Dept has established several new initiatives while operating in new territory in Western andEastern Canada. The Fund Development Dept is eager to share the good news that donations have met or exceeded expectations at this time of the year, and our Accessibility Advantage proprietary activity and Non Profit Housing Corporation are both doing extremely well in meeting their goals.

These are unsettling times due to global, national and local economic constraints, regional conflicts, and significant unrest from an activist population throughout the world that wants to see significant improvements in the delivery of fair and equitable services and resources, and humane and just treatment of all people. These are big issues that hit home at the neighborhood level as well as internationally. Our vision too is of a society that is inclusive, where every person has an equal opportunity and is valued for their unique contribution.

May this season be one of goodwill, good cheer, good health for everyone, in peace and friendship.

Happy New Year to All.

About modcpresident
I grew up in Calgary, where I completed a BA at the University of Calgary, then travelled and taught in Kenya and the Canadian Arctic during the heyday of Trudeaumania, hippie travel and social experimentation. I settled in Vancouver to complete a Master of Social Work degree at the University of British Columbia, and stayed another 8 years. After graduating I was a Social Planner and eventually became the Executive Director of the Social Planning and Research Council of BC. Ontario March of Dimes recruited me in 1981, the International Year of Disabled Persons and the 30th anniversary of the agency. It has grown from a budget of $5m in '81 to $100m in 2010. Services have expanded drafmatically. We incorporated a non profit housing corporation in 1992 and a national charity in 2001, and since 2006 the latter has operated as March of Dimes Canada. We own and operate several properties that provide accommodation and independent living services to 77 people in 4 municipalities and will add another property this year. Two other exciting non profit entities have been incorporated in my 30 years (yes, it has been 30 years!) and we expect to hold our first fundraiser in the US this year and to initiate our first service south of the border also. My role as President and CEO continues to be that of creating a vision, fulfilling the mission and developing strategic plans to meet an increasing demand for services from people with disabilities and their caregivers. This is achieved through direct service, advocacy and peer programs. On a personal note, I live with my 17 year old daughter and two cats, and enjoy their company a lot. My two adult sons are doing interesting exploration in their own lives and I am intrigued with how they are progressing. In my spare time, I have various volunteer roles on several non profit boards and committees, and enjoy creating programs for building awareness of diversity and disability. I think it has become true for me that youth is, while not "wasted on the young," something that I appreciate more with age. Adventures are physically more challenging for me now, so they have to occur in new dimensions.

3 Responses to In Every Season….

  1. Gary Magarrell says:

    Andria:
    Thank you for your unfailing belief in what you are doing. Your determined push for the rights of disabled Canadians is an inspiration to us all. How you have kept your focus on the goal of equality for all is an inspiration.
    I look forward to spending some time with you to renew old friendships.
    Gary Magarrell

  2. Francine Collis says:

    Hi Gary. My name is Francine and my husband Barry, passed away August 15, 2011. He wrote to you previously and I am writing to you now. He had a very rare blood disease which affected his kidneys and he was on dialysis 4 times a week for 4 years. He had been sick for 15 years. We were married for 40 years, I loved him so much and I am trying to cope with the loss as well as a huge financial issues. His body had had enough and he died suddenly from a second blood clot, at home with me. He was on disability and had no insurance, savings or money. He left an electric wheel, almost brand new, not even a year old which can even be used for an oversize person that is worth about 11,000. I was wondering if you know of anyone that would need one. I would let it go for $2,500. I am sorry I cannot donate it because right now, I cannot afford the cost of where I live and have to move. Credit card companies are hounding me. I had perfect credit till Barry got sick and now that he is gone, I don’t get his disability and have received nothing from the government because they are taking 14 weeks to send me the official Death Certificate. Eventhen I have no idea what or if the widow’s pension will be, so I can then go to credit counselling and make arrangements to pay off the credit cards. I don’t have enough income right now.

    The Electric Wheel Chair is Quantum 6000Z Series battery operated. I need this money for the sale of the Wheel Chair so that I can pay my rent and food, while looking for a cheaper place. I can donate along with the sale of the WheelChair, raised toilet seat, bed rail, 2nd bed rail with straps to attach to the bed. Please direct this to the proper person, and let me know asap if you are interested. I need to remove the vehicle.

  3. Martin Gladstone says:

    As ususal, well though out, kind in spirit,and a joy to read.

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