Thanks to you …
Since opening its doors on February 15, 1928 with a single case worker and a $25 donation, Family Services of Greater Vancouver (FSGV) has grown to 477 staff and 83 programs. This year we opened our 13th location in Greater Vancouver. We have supported thousands of families and individuals living in need, in crisis, or with trauma. By meeting people where they’re at in their journey, we help individuals build resiliency, develop skills and knowledge, and gain confidence to make positive changes in their lives and create brighter tomorrows.
Family Services of Greater Vancouver is a charitable organization inspiring and supporting people in reaching their full potential. We rely on individuals, organizations, and businesses to provide their time, advocacy, expertise, and donations to help us continue doing great work. Running government funded programs is only part of what we do. We also rely on donations and grants to support many other innovative and important programs in the community. It’s because of committed donors and supporters like you that we are able to reach so many vulnerable people.
MESSAGE FROM THE CEO
It was 1928—Nellie McClung and the Famous Five, a group of women who had been actively campaigning for women’s rights, were in the Supreme Court arguing that “women were persons too.” It was a time of changing social attitudes, post-war family breakdowns, and a growing gap between the poor and the wealthy. Against that backdrop, the Central Welfare Bureau (now Family Services of Greater Vancouver) opened its doors with its first family support worker.
For 90 years, Family Services of Greater Vancouver has worked to support and advocate for those in our community in need. From the first support worker hired in 1928, to the most recent addition of our Directions Youth Haven—a safe low-barrier house for at-risk youth—we continue to make a positive difference in the lives of children, teens, families, and seniors in our communities.
I am very proud to be part of this great organization as it positions itself for the next 90 years.
FSGV Chief Executive Officer
MESSAGE FROM THE BOARD CHAIR
I want to take this opportunity to recognize the amazing work that has been done by the staff and management at Family Services of Greater Vancouver over the last year.
Their dedication to FSGV’s vision and mission has a lasting impact on the most vulnerable members of our communities—whether it’s homeless youth trying to secure safe housing, new moms struggling to raise a child while living with trauma, or isolated newcomers to Canada in need of crucial support systems. The passion and drive they bring to their work every day can be seen in the quality of service they provide to individuals, families, youth, immigrants and refugees.
I also want to extend my thanks to the many volunteers and donors that provide support to FSGV’s 90+ programs and services. With your partnership, we can continue to empower every member of our community with the hope, confidence, and resilience they need to build a brighter tomorrow.
FSGV Board Chair
Because of your support …
We are able to help thousands of people across Greater Vancouver every day through our four key impact areas:
What our clients said about our services
95% overall satisfaction rating for our services
95% experienced a moderate to great improvement in situation or behaviour as a result of our services
95% would recommend our services to others
FSGV’s programs and services supported over 10,000 people
Over 30,000 hours of counselling was provided to vulnerable individuals and families
Directions Youth Services Centre saw 30,445 visits from at-risk and street-entrenched youth
FSGV’s Employment Services Centre had 9,564 visits by individuals seeking support in finding a job
377 incredible volunteers, donating 17,000 hours of time, helped FSGV build strong, inclusive communities
600 donors made it possible for FSGV to help to those in need
Finding the courage to reach out for support is often the hardest part. FSGV helps victims of violence find their voice and work towards a safer, healthier future.
I felt heard, not judged. I know I don’t deserve the abuse and don’t accept it now. I am more hopeful for myself and my kids. I feel like I have options, I feel stronger. I have more confidence. I feel way more optimistic.
—Client, Counselling, Trauma, and Victim Services
Narinder arrived in Canada eight years ago with her husband following an arranged marriage. While trying to learn a new language and struggling to make friends, she found her husband becoming increasingly abusive towards her.
With the goal of gaining some independence, Narinder began the process of getting her driver’s licence and Canadian citizenship. At every turn, she was discouraged by her husband, met with violence, or called “too stupid” to achieve her goals. Isolated, she struggled with anxiety and depression. But, each time she looked at her daughter’s face, it gave her the will to persevere. Along with her increasing independence came an increasing fear for her and her daughter’s safety at home.
After a particularly violent incident, a social worker connected Narinder with FSGV’s Family Preservation and Reunification counselling program. With her then-3 year old daughter in tow, Narinder began attending the sessions. Despite her difficult circumstances, her warm personality helped her quickly bond with the entire Family Preservation team, who, on top of her counselling sessions, helped her practice for job interviews, study for her citizenship test, and build up the confidence she needed to start a new life for her and her daughter.
To Narinder, it felt like the FSGV family was her first real family in Canada.
After two years of counselling and participating in FSGV’s Family Day program, Narinder’s daughter, who was non-verbal as a result of trauma, began to speak—a huge breakthrough in her development and a boost to Narinder’s confidence as a parent.
Today, Narinder is a Canadian citizen and works at a job she loves. Most importantly, she and her daughter live in their own apartment, free from violence. With the skills and connections she gained through FSGV, Narinder is no longer living every day in fear, but from a place of strength and empowerment.
Narinder’s advice to other women currently living in violent relationships? “Never give up when somebody tells you can’t do something. See your strength from the inside because this strength will allow you to do anything you want to do in life.”
Photo credit (including cover photo): Amanda Palmer
Youth who experience homelessness face a harsh reality. FSGV’s Directions Youth Services meets vulnerable youth where they’re at and empowers them to discover their inner strength, make healthier choices, and get closer to the lives they want. This year, Directions’ A Night in the Life fundraiser raised over $36,000 for homeless youth.
[Thank you for] all the support and services that were provided to me, and the help that was given to me to accomplish my goals. How kind, friendly and amazing the staff have been to me.
—Directions Youth Haven client
Five years ago, Lauren was a youth struggling with an addiction. With a $500 a day habit, she lived on the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Lauren tried an adult detox centre, but found it challenging to navigate through the long wait times and lack of care resulting from a low staff-to-client ratio in the adult system.
Limited in her ability to advocate for herself, Lauren kept slipping through the cracks and inevitably found herself back on the street.
When she finally found the Directions Youth Detox program, she was relieved when staff responded immediately and picked her up at 2am that very night. Unlike the sterile medical facilities she had experienced before, Youth Detox felt like a home. For every 5 youth, there are 2 youth workers and a counsellor.
It took Lauren five stints at Youth Detox to get clean for good, but through all her efforts, the Detox team did not lose faith in her. During her toughest days, a youth worker continued to ask her what kind of cake she would like for her one year anniversary. To Lauren, the date seemed unimaginably out of reach, but the worker’s optimism gave her the strength to keep going.
Lauren’s success story has come full circle: she is now a Youth Worker at that same Detox home, where she now advocates for youth struggling with addiction and homelessness just like she once did. She is completing a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and considering pursuing law in order to influence social policy to better support youth and youth workers based on her own lived experience.
In 2017-18, Directions Youth Detox admitted 393 youth to the program, 126 of whom were first time clients.
Photo credit: Amanda Palmer
FSGV provides essential programs, workshops, and other services which help people build connections and supports to ensure that they don’t have to face life’s challenges alone.
My volunteer and I keep close contact with each other, sharing and supporting me a lot, especially in parenting my son. I have started to adjust to my new life in Canada. Life becomes more meaningful and fuller. Thank you very much for all your help making positive changes in my life
—Richmond Family Friends client
Shirley immigrated to Canada with her husband and her two children in 2017 from Mainland China. She joined FSGV’s Richmond Family Friend program soon after she arrived and was matched with a program volunteer-mentor who gave her emotional support and connected her with different resources and programs in Richmond. After her match with her volunteer was completed a year later, she trained to be a volunteer in the program herself, wanting to support a newcomer mom just like she was.
“Before I came to Canada, I led a very busy life with my own business. I felt a great sense of achievement, although that also came with high stress. When my husband and I finally decided to move to Canada, I felt that I had to start from zero—new country, new lifestyle, new environment, new people, new language. Everything was new to me.
When my kids started school in September and my husband went to work, I hit a very low point in my life. Having been used to a fast-paced life in China with many people around me, I felt alone, not knowing what to do or where to go.
Thankfully, I joined the Richmond Family Friend program. It was like my first stop in Canada that opened up window after window of discoveries and networking opportunities. I felt safe in the program. Trust was easily established with the staff and my mentor.
I learned about FSGV’s Nobody’s Perfect parenting program in Mandarin. That was the first structured program that I attended, and every Friday for six weeks, I finally had something to look forward to. I would dress up more nicely to attend the class, looking forward to seeing the other moms and the facilitator weekly, learning and sharing about the joy and challenges of being a mom. I clearly remember when the facilitator talked about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, where the top stage is “self-actualization.” It really struck me. That was like an ah-ha moment for me and I started exploring and expanding my love for making crafts.
I am very thankful for the Richmond Family Friend program for giving me the opportunity to teach a craft workshop to other program participants. I gained confidence through sharing my passion and knowledge with other people, doing what I love. I made many new friends and felt acknowledged by others. I found meaning in my new slower-paced life in Canada where I have embraced the ability to have the time to enjoy my family and my relationships with others. Even though I do not make money now, I feel satisfied and happy.
The Richmond Family Friend program enlarged my social network. I do not feel lonely anymore. I encountered kind and caring people. I hope I could help others too.”
I came to Canada three months ago and have been staying home with my child. We rarely went out, we did not have friends. Since we joined the [Nobody’s Perfect] program, I made a lot of new friends and it opened up my social network. They helped me a lot, and also took me to different community activities. Through the facilitated discussions, I gained self-awareness and learned better ways to parent my child. I feel grateful.
—Nobody’s Perfect program participant
Raising a healthy family can be a challenge. By addressing each family’s unique needs, FSGV’s programs help families grow stronger today so that they can continue to thrive tomorrow.
Despite being a low-cost service, the level of professionalism and quality of the services surpassed my expectations.
As a Financial Counsellor with FSGV’s Family Services Employee Assistance Program (FSEAP), Jose Jaime Guerrero knows that one key to building a strong family is the ability to manage money. Every day, Jose empowers families in Vancouver to plan for a bright, financially secure future. He enjoys watching his clients become more confident as they get closer to meeting their financial goals.
Recently, he worked with a family of Syrian refugees. The woman and her five children had moved to Vancouver after her husband had been tragically killed.
Having endured significant hardship, the family persevered to make a new life for themselves in Canada. With the oldest daughter acting as translator during their sessions, Jose learned that the mom was an avid baker—not only had her homemade sweets become a hit at her daughter’s school, but they were also in high demand in the family’s neighbourhood.
When the teen encouraged her mom to produce these sweets on a larger scale in order to sell them, the family sought out Jose’s help in getting a micro-loan for a mini-industrial oven. He helped them prepare a business plan to present to a bank and they were successful in getting a loan to start their new business.
The families Jose works with each come with a unique story and challenge. In helping them overcome their challenges and gain new skills, Jose also helps strengthen their confidence so they can support each other no matter what the future may hold.
FSEAP is an FSGV social enterprise which helps businesses care for their employees by providing short-term problem resolution counselling to address personal, family, work or finance related concerns. FSEAP’s profits go back into supporting FSGV’s community programs.
THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS
We would like to thank all of our supporters—individual, community, corporate and foundation—for their generosity, and are pleased to acknowledge them in our 2017-18 Donor Listing (PDF).
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
FSGV would not be where it is today without the dedication of our Board of Directors. As unconditional supporters of FSGV, they generously provide countless hours of time and expertise to ensure we can continue providing critical support to those in need. Below is a list of Directors that served during the 2017-18 fiscal year.
FSGV Board of Directors
- Lyle Viereck (Board Chair)
- Terry Anne Boyles (Vice Chair)
- Keith Bergner
- Linda Dempster
- Brian Forward (Secretary)
- Katey Grist
- Joanne Hausch (Immediate Past Chair)
- Marina Katusa
- Tony Kirschner
- Werner Knittel
- Jocelyne Legal
- Iris Lo
- Stephanie Mui
- Rick Pozzebon (Treasurer)
- Shane Siva
- Trevor Zeck
FSGV Foundation Board of Directors
- Kayvon Besharat
- Geoff Brooks
- Lav Chadha
- Judith Dawson
- Ian Doyle
- Mary Gilzean
- Joanne Hausch (joint)
- Susanne Kingshott
- Werner Knittel (joint)
- Tony Kirschner (joint)
- Steven Lee
- Marcela McBurney
- Stewart Muglich
- Emily Parson
- Brian Radburn
- Doug Walden