This year has been a busy, challenging, exciting time with some sad moments and some great moments.  I would like to begin by thanking staff for their unwavering dedication over the past year and congratulate them on achieving success despite a challenging economic landscape.  You are our greatest resource and I am proud to lead such a great team of people.  I have appreciated your support over the year and your patience with my focus on projects that may not be a priority for all of you.

We were all very sad to lose our board chair, Velma McKay who succumbed to cancer on April 9, 2011.  She inspired many and her contributions and her beautiful spirit will always be missed.

This year we have welcomed two new programs to our continuum of services.  Candice Bennett has led the development of Just 4 Kids After School Program at Amy Woodland School and Janice Reid has coordinated the implementation of the Behaviour Intervention Program.  Both of these programs will bring additional support to children and families in Cranbrook and the region.  We have also partnered with Access Pro Bono to bring free legal clinics to people of limited means in our community.

We happily moved our Administration office, the Travelling Poverty Advocate Program, Settlement and Integration Program and the Homelessness Outreach Program to a larger space which we now share with Axis Family Services and Summit Community Services Society.  The Behaviour Intervention Program also shares this space until the Kootenay Child Development Centre is available.  This space has given us much needed room and has provided easier access and more visibility to the community.

Financial pressure and a lack of funding caused the Women’s Centre to close for two months until funding was found that allowed us to open the centre for another year.  It was a very difficult time for staff and for the women who find solace and support at the women’s centre.  A newly formed committee of the board, Friends of the Cranbrook Women’s Centre, is working to find sustainable funding to keep the centre open.

The construction of the Kootenay Child Development Centre has been a large project that has required a lot of time and energy.  Thanks to the support of all of you and a great community fundraising committee, construction has finally begun and we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  We are cautiously optimistic of a March 2012 completion date and the day when we can celebrate this huge accomplishment. 

There is no doubt that this has been a difficult financial year.  Every program has had to tighten their belts, be very aware of spending and make some tough decisions.  Each and every one of you has taken this in stride and have been very conscientious in this regard and for that I thank you. 

I am looking forward to another productive year and predict that we will have a good year with lots of great successes to brag about.