With summer-like weather, JVS Toronto held its 69th Annual General Meeting on September 21, 2016 at Beth Torah Congregation. We celebrated and reflected on a wonderful year, paid tribute to our outgoing Board Chair Susan Fremes, and welcomed Jeff Goldfarb, Incoming Chair, to his new position.
“It has indeed been a very transformative, powerful and enriching experience to serve as JVS Toronto’s Board Chair. For me it is all about the work our agency does, our amazing staff, and my fellow Board and Committee members,” expressed Susan.
Keynote speaker Brian Prousky, Executive Director, Jewish Family and Child, and Kim Coulter, President & CEO, talked about the critical impact poverty and unemployment has on the Jewish and greater community, and the united approach the Jewish social service sector has initiated to improve the lives of those affected.
Poverty doesn’t discriminate
“What do we know of poverty today?,” asked Brian Prousky before sharing startling facts about poverty in the Jewish community published in UJA Federation’s 2015 study, The Face of Poverty, emphasizing that being poor is not a choice but caused by unfortunate life events or circumstances. Brian explained how the social services community is working together to improve the lives of those affected by poverty through the UJA-led Collective Impact Steering Committee to End Jewish Poverty.
When you’re unemployed, all you need to do is find a job. Right?
During her speech, Kim Coulter said that like poverty, unemployment is not a choice but circumstantial. “Finding work today is a tough job,” Kim said, noting that permanent jobs with benefits are decreasing and contract, temporary or part-time jobs are increasing. Along with the difficult labour market, challenging personal circumstances like limited English language skills, employment gaps, a disability or a criminal record can greatly diminish someone’s chances of employment.
“Our vision is that every individual has opportunities for employment,” Kim stated, explaining that JVS Toronto’s employment programs support those most at risk of falling into poverty – youth, single parents, single adults, recent immigrants, and people with disabilities. Showing JVS Toronto’s 2015-16 annual report called The Power of Employment in Precarious Times; Kim encouraged attendees to read about the challenging circumstances that can lead to unemployment and poverty, and the community effort that takes place every day to help people become self-sufficient.
Tribute to Al Green
A great friend and supporter of JVS Toronto
Al Green, a long-time friend and supporter of JVS Toronto, passed away on January 22, 2016.
The Green family’s support of the agency spans three generations, beginning with patriarch Lipa Green who served on the Board of Directors in the 1950s. Lipa’s legacy is continued by Al and Malka Green, and David Green and Daphne Wagner, whose financial contribution led to the building of the Al Green Resource Centre in 2003.
In a tribute to Al Green, Karen Goldenberg, former JVS Toronto President & CEO, reflected that users of the centre are “so grateful to Al and his family, proving time and again to be long-standing and dear friends of the organization.”
“I like to think that the actions of his descendants, and those others whom he influenced, are and will continue to be one of, if not his greatest, gifts,” expressed David Green who spoke on behalf of his family about his father’s legacy.
The Board of Directors and staff of JVS Toronto are extremely grateful for the compassion and generosity of the Green family whose support continues to ensure that people with developmental disabilities lead richer and more fulfilling lives.
2015-16 Award Winners
Jeff Goldfarb, Incoming Chair, began the award presentations by saying, “Whether award winners are being honoured as an employer, a client or a volunteer each made a commitment to use our services to better their life, or the lives of others. Each recipient put trust in JVS Toronto and our ability to help them. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank you for instilling that trust in us.”
Congratulations to this year’s award recipients:
Avadis Jamjian, Joseph Skolnik Award for New Canadians
Ela Paz, Betty Skolink Award for Emerging Professionals
Bethel International, Eunice & David Mouckley Outstanding Employer of the Year Award
Mehran Vahedi, Manny Mitchell Award for Excellence in Volunteerism
Thamer Mite, Berger Family Inspirational Award
See you next year!
Thank you to all those who attended! We hope you found that the evening challenged your perception of those who are unemployed or affected by poverty; and along with the achievements of our award winners, you left us with a deeper understanding of JVS Toronto’s role in giving the power of employment!
Join us for next year’s AGM on September 13, 2017.