In this interview, CFSSC Board Member Maureen Shave explains what it is like to be a board member for a charitable organization and shares her passion for making a difference in her community.
Maureen is an educator who has worked with the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board as a teacher and an elementary school principal.
How did you get connected with Catholic Family Services of Simcoe County?
Through my parish, I had the opportunity to serve on the Parish Council. Once this ended I was searching for a new volunteer opportunity and I saw CFSSC was recruiting board members. From my experience as a principal, I understood the need for family counselling and how Walk-in clinics could support a family in need. I contacted the Executive Director to explain my work history, experiences, and interest in getting involved with the organization. After our meeting, we saw a mutual fit and I have now been a CFSSC board member for 6 years.
What does being a board member entail?
Board members support the agency in a variety of ways. We support by organizing staffing and going over recommendations to improve the services offered to clients. We go through the financial documents that come with CFSSC staffing and services.
Another main component is building relationships with stakeholders. This includes Catholic Charities, community members, school boards, and other agencies with whom we work in partnership.
The board of directors meets monthly and all of these components are involved in that month’s discussion. When we are not meeting, we represent CFSSC throughout the community as agency ambassadors at a variety of events throughout the county.
We are advocates to support mental health initiatives and encourage people in need to get the professional help that is available.
We are passionate people who understand the need for counselling services in Simcoe County and know the important impact local organizations make on the community. We work hard to remind the community that our services are open to everyone, not just those who are Catholic.
What does it mean to you to be a board member for a charitable organization?
It means a lot to me to be able to promote and increase positive mental health. I have seen mental health awareness go up recently thanks to programs such as Bell Let’s Talk and Ontario’s Well Being Strategy for Education. I know through my experiences working in this community that there is a need for the support services CFSSC and other community organizations provide.
This is a way, as an individual, that I can support positive mental health within my community and being part of a group with CFSSC we can support mental health throughout Simcoe County and Muskoka.
Overall, being a board member gives me the chance to contribute to my community and make an impact on families that live and work in Simcoe County. Those who are going through crisis do not have the time to be put on wait lists or be referred.
What do you like most about CFSSC?
I admire their Walk-In clinics and the fact that all CFSSC services are available to anyone living in Simcoe County. There is no criteria needed for their services, no confirmed diagnosis. When the client calls for help, CFSSC is there to answer.
When I was worked as a principal, I would see some families in crisis when they would come into my office. They needed immediate assistance. The services offered through CFSSC such as the Walk-in clinics support these families in their moment of need. Being referred elsewhere or being put on a waitlist is a major problem and Walk- In clinics help reduce this. Sometimes one session is enough and the issue is resolved right away without that individual or family waiting in an emergency room or to see a family doctor.
Counselling is a special thing. You can go in and talk to an unbiased third party, so you do not have to feel guilty or as if you are putting a burden on someone by sharing your feelings.
If I am looking to become a board member at CFSSC what is the process?
We are currently looking for three new board members. There is a board nomination form on the website under the careers section that you can complete and send in along with your resume to the executive director. The next steps would be meeting with the Executive Director and the Board President.
Orientation for new board members is provided before beginning with CFSSC.
Become a member of the CFSSC Board of Directors
If you are passionate about making a difference in your community and making mental health services accessible to anybody of any income level, you should consider serving on the Board of Directors of Catholic Family Services Simcoe County. The time commitment is about 3 – 4 hours in an average month.
If you are interested please review and fill out the CFSSC Board Nomination Form. If you need any assistance you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please sign/date and return a completed copy of the application form, along with a copy of your resume via email to email@example.com or Board of Directors, Catholic Family Services of Simcoe County, 20 Anne Street South, Barrie ON, L4N 2C6.