From the words of SSVP Brant President Pat Lenz:
“Each year we of SSVP Brant “come together as family” near the April 23rd birthday of our founder Frederic Ozanam to celebrate and to thank our outstanding volunteers. As one of a handful of Councils in Ontario comprised entirely of volunteers, even in our large (and growing) Store operation, our ability to support our neighbours in need in Brantford and Brant County is entirely dependent on efforts of these volunteers.
At last year’s gathering then-President Anita Reansbury also invited a specific group of our community supporters to be recognized, the BHNCDSB – in the person of their Director Chris Roehrig. In organizing this year’s celebration it struck us that inviting partners provides an opportunity to thank them, to introduce them and their support of our work to our Vincentians – and to brag about our Vincentian volunteers to them. So we will be continuing that practice this year and in years to come.
This year we have chosen to highlight the support we receive from our referral partners. These community agencies provide a range of services to those whom we serve – or seek to serve. Just as we have worked very hard in the last few years to improve the practices of our home visitors and Store personnel to smooth the process for our neighbours in need – so we have reached out to these community agencies for the same purpose. Workers who understand the needs of their clients and understand how SSVP Brant may be able to help, use referral letters to connect those in need with our organization. In turn, this assists us in fulfilling our mandate to “seek the poor”.
The specific agency that we recognize this year is our longest-serving referral partner. Since the early days of its establishment over 20 years ago, workers at Nova Vita Domestic Violence Services have reached out to SSVP Brant for assistance for their clients who are attempting to move on with their lives. That contact began very informally (phone calls, scribbled notes) and evolved into a variety of letter forms dependent on the sender. The process of formalizing this connection, in the interests of smoothing the process for Nova Vita clients in need of our support, lead to similar discussions with Brantford Social Services, St. Leonard’s Community Services, Pregnancy Centre of Brant, Gahnokwasra, Welcome In Resource Centre, Victims Services – with more connections in the works. In addition, and more recently, faced with an abundance of clothing donations, Nova Vita reached out to us to accept their overflow donations for our Store – creating a true two-way partnership! Tonight we present to Nova Vita representatives a certificate of appreciation for this long-term partnership.”