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Sep05

IMPACT SERIES: This Agency Helps Newcomers Settle into Peel Region

Categories // Strong Communities, Impact

IMPACT SERIES: This Agency Helps Newcomers Settle into Peel Region

It all started in 1993 when a group of concerned community members saw a need for settlement services for newcomers of African descent in Peel Region. This agency now provides free services to any community member that needs them regardless of race, color, ethnicity, religious background, gender, age or country of origin.

Drumroll, please, for this incredible agency!

African Community Services (ACS) of Peel provides parenting programs, community engagement and participation programs such as our annual race against racism, summer camps, field trips, recreational activities and income tax clinics. Their community wellness programs and activities have a focus on mental health awareness and violence prevention.

Here’s what Wambui Karanja from their Community Wellness and Development program has to tell you:

“Our services are provided through group sessions, supportive counselling and referrals in our office and in the community. Our goal is to support our clients with information and services that enhance their feelings of wellness and sense of community and to also ensure they get access to community supports and services. What I love about our agency is its commitment to its mission and to ensuring access to services to our target community. I like the culture of our organization because we ensure that everyone who comes to our office feels respected and valued. We maximize our resources, work professionally and provide culturally sensitive services that have positive outcomes for our clients. I love the work I do at ACS and get the most satisfaction when I see a client become empowered with information and can access the services they require to facilitate their wellness and community integration and when they communicate their appreciation of our services to me.

Our agency's United Way funded programs are the Youth Leadership Development and Community Wellness and Development programs. I work in the Community Wellness and Development Program. These programs are important because they enhance the long-term health and wellness of our target community and help our youth achieve positive outcomes for themselves. They also help enhance personal and community development, well being, self esteem and self confidence of our community members so that they can improve their lives and become more engaged in their communities.

One of our most recent success stories is of a female client who experienced violence and family breakdown that resulted in separation from her husband. She was at risk of losing the home that she shared with her husband and four kids as she is unemployed. Because of the mental, physical and emotional abuse from her husband, her children were also experiencing issues at school and were almost being taken over by CAS. ACS was able to assist in providing supportive counseling, referring her to legal Aid and supporting her in her communication with her lawyer and the school. We were also able to work with the school, CAS and CAM-H to assist the children with mental health issues and the family remained together and is now thriving. The mother is empowered with VAW information and can now advocate for herself and the children are happy and engaged in our youth and children programs and services. “

When you give to United Way, you allow ACS to run their programs across the community!

Register for our Campaign Kick-off on September 15 here.

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Would you like to be a contributor to this blog? Reach out to tford@unitedwaypeel.org for more information.