ASCS Members and Friends,
We have had a very different year as Covid-19 has impacted the world and our organization in unexpected ways. Through the strong leadership of our Executive Director Sylvia Cholodnuik, we maintained our services and took advantage of technology to continue to provide our programs to educate people in Saskatchewan, and to support families in our province.
We also added some new staff. Mackenzie McNinch joined us in September as our Family Development Coordinator, and in January we hired Kelsey Elliott as Programing and Marketing Coordinator, and Bobbe Poncelet as our Administrative Assistant. They join Leah Deans, our Resource Director whom we are very honoured to have had with us sharing her vast knowledge and compassion as part of the Adoption Support Centre for the past 20 years!
We were very sad to receive Sylvia Cholodnuik’s retirement notice, as she has worked passionately for our organization and our families and youth, but wish her all the best in her well-deserved retirement. We were happy to find ways to thank her and honour her 5 years with us, although we were disappointed that Covid-19 safety protocols made us unable to celebrate her in the traditional ways. We look forward to the new ideas and passion our new Executive Director, Denise Mildner, brings to our organization and the Executive Director position.
ASCS staff is steadily busy with phone calls for information, or to borrow books from our Carol Bothwell Library, and have seen an increase in electronic communication. The Domestic Adoption Orientation (DAO) program continues to educate and prepare many people for adoption in Saskatchewan.
We continue to work closely with the Ministry of Social Services, and our staff has been building relationships and bridges with other Community Based Organization’s (CBO’s) by working with the Poverty Reduction Strategy, serving on the Saskatoon Police Advisory and Diversity Committee. Along with 92 other organizations we are participating in the Reconciliation Saskatoon committee to network and further the dialogue on Truth and Reconciliation and the 94 Calls to Action. Our staff also has continued to meet with the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth, and have appreciated the time that Senator Elder Nora Cummings has generously contributed to ASCS.
I have been very honored to work with our current board. These women are always willing to step up and take on a challenge! I am happy to report after many years serving on our board that Amy Martel has taken on the Vice President role, Karla Yarie has agreed to serve as Secretary and Joanne Morgan continues to wisely support us through financial matters as our Treasurer. We appreciate Annette Lohse, Leona Wasserman, and Chrisa McDougall-Kasting, as they bring diverse knowledge and insight to guide us in our decision making. After many years of service to ASCS and the adoption community Leona has decided to step down from the board. We will miss her at board meetings, but would like to thank her for her commitment and the knowledge she has shared and look forward to the many other ways she will support our organization.
Our committed board has worked tirelessly this past year and has updated our bylaws, lobbied the federal government for attachment leave for adoptive families, as well as hiring a new Executive Director to replace our retiring one and working to prepare for the seamless transition. We have started to work with Wayne Hillquest from Future Quest on our new strategic plan that will guide us though the next years of growth of the Adoption Support Centre of Saskatchewan. So much ground work has been done in the past couple of years, that this is an exciting time to be a part of the decision making as we move forward. Please consider joining our board and donating a couple hours a month meeting with us to help us shape the future of adoption and family building with the focus on permanency for children to support them to grow and develop to their full potential. We are seeking board members with an interest in permanency for children from all across our province, and appreciate your consideration of devoting some of your valuable time and knowledge to this worthy organization.
Last spring during lockdown I took part in the online support group offered through our partnership with CFS, and I was reminded about how important the role of support is. My passion for this organization comes from the support our family has received, and have seen how it has impacted other people and families on their journey, and I believe “People gain so much hope when they know they are not experiencing something alone.”- Joyce Rupp.