Agency Profile – Catholic Community Services of York Region
You might think that an agency called Catholic Community Services of York Region would be more interested in serving people of the Catholic faith, but executive director Roger Manning stresses that this is not the case. “We are not religion specific,” he says. “Two thirds of our staff are people of other faiths including Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Jain. We are involved in program partnerships with Jewish Child and Family Services and the United Church. We embrace and welcome people of all faiths and cultures throughout York Region.”
For the past 25 years, Catholic Community Services of York Region (CCSYR) has been helping the hundreds of thousands of new immigrants who have settled in this large geographic region just north of Toronto that includes the cities of Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, Aurora and Newmarket.
From their offices in the heart of Richmond Hill, CCSYR has grown into the largest agency serving newcomers in the region, with approximately 45 staff members providing services in over 30 languages at eight locations. Many former clients form the base of hundreds of volunteers who donate their time and talents to the agency. Some CCSYR staff-members are former clients of the agency.
CCSYR offers a wide range of community programs and settlement services including clinics for legal help, tax preparation, and much more. Individual, couple, and family counselling services are offered in four locations in the Region.
One of the agency’s largest programs is their Settlement and Educational Partnership in York Region (SEPYR), which provides school settlement workers to assess the needs of newcomer families. SEPYR helps newcomer parents better understand and become involved in the Ontario Education system as well as helping school administrators and staff better understand the culture and needs of newcomer families. This communication between parents and the education system gives your children a better chance to be successful in school.
Like most agencies, CCSYR understands how important it is for newcomers to find suitable employment. An amazing 93 per cent of people using their CIC funded Job Search Workshop are university educated. In addition to standard services like receiving information regarding credential assessment, overcoming systematic barriers, preparing resumes and learning effective job search techniques, CCSYR is considering in the future piloting occupation-specific workshops. *
The non-profit Coalition for Affordable Housing in York Region (CAHYR) began in 2003 as a research project of CCSYR. This Affordable Housing Initiative received pilot funding from Ontario Trillium Foundation for 2004-06 and set out on their mission to help renters to become homeowners. With the help of the non-profit developer, Options for Homes (which has completed 4 complexes in Toronto), CAHYR has begun its first project in York Region at Old Kennedy Village in Markham which will provide 21 condo units for qualifying families with annual incomes of $40-45,000.
One of the most popular offerings at CCSYR is their unique Focus on Fathers program. It began as a management skills program for fathers of children from birth to six years of age – helping them deal with issues like stress and anger management, nutrition and caregiving, time management and the value of playing with your children. The program is now offered in a number of languages including Tamil, Cantonese, Farsi and Korean, and welcomes mothers as well as fathers who are unable to attend other existing parenting programs.
To find out more about their services and special events to celebrate their 25th Anniversary, contact CCSYR at 905-770-7040 or visit their website at www.ccsyr.org.