31st Annual General Meeting

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Joanne Young Evans, executive director of FCSSGW, at the podium

Joanne Young Evans, executive director of FCSSGW

Family Counselling and Support Services for Guelph-Wellington held its 31st Annual General Meeting on September 24th to celebrate the important work and accomplishments of the agency in 2017-18.

Sandra Ellis, outgoing board president, at the podium

Sandra Ellis, outgoing board president

Among the representatives for FCSSGW were executive director Joanne Young Evans and outgoing board president Sandra Ellis. According to Young Evans, “Achievements, accolades, speaking engagements, we experienced it all. New programming and increased staffing created an agency that is evolving and expanding. This change and growth will continue throughout 2018—with many exciting announcements to come. Stay tuned!”

During this period of heightened awareness around mental health and public efforts to reduce the stigma surrounding seeking therapy, FCSSGW is busier than ever. Thanks to government, WWLHIN, community donors and United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin funding combined with partnerships with local family health teams, mental health agencies and post-secondary learning institutions, FCSSGW makes the best services available to the residents of Guelph-Wellington, like Quick Access Walk-in Counselling.

In fact, over 40 per cent of clients who use Quick Access Walk-in services attend because of a serious incident such as self-harm, which includes suicidal ideation. This statistic comes from client assessments and demonstrates the exponential demand for accessible mental health services, as it doubled from last year’s serious incident assessments rate of 20 per cent.

Frank Austin, keynote speaker and author, addresses the crowd

Frank Austin, keynote speaker and author

One of the highlights from the evening was Frank Austin. Austin is a stroke survivor, author and founder of The Expressive Café, a group he started to help himself and those with aphasia improve their communication skills in a safe and supportive environment.

In his keynote address, “Have you lost your marbles?”,  Frank used his out of the box approach to teach audience members to “take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communications skills.” Through his volunteer work and patience, Frank has helped many people find the right words. He is also the recipient of the 2017 Toastmasters D86 Communication and Leadership Award.

Plans for next year’s AGM are already underway. Save the date for the 32nd Annual General Meeting on September 23rd in Guelph. Click on the link for a copy of this year’s annual report: FCSS2018AnnualReportFINAL.



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