PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: Updates from David Ikeda
David Ikeda, JSS President
Happy Canada Day!
Spring seems to have come late this year. The High Park sakura which usually bloom in April instead flowered in mid-May and the cool rainy weather seemed to continue into what should be summer.
We have been very busy here in the meantime. As our counsellor, Takanori Kuge noted at our latest board meeting the counselling caseload has increased. Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in the number of domestic violence cases. Whether this is due to JSS becoming more visible in the community — and hence more people now know who to call or be referred to — or whether there is an actual increase, the numbers are nonetheless disturbing. Domestic violence is I believe a major problem in our community.
However, as our caseload increases and our program participation reaches or even surpasses capacity, we find ourselves having to cut back on our services due to funding issues. As I noted in the previous e-newsletter, JSS has cut staff hours to reduce costs as well as scaled back so that we can safely say there is absolutely no waste; we are even using donated paper for photocopying. On top of that, due to increased work demands or health issues, we have lost several board members, although all have committed themselves to help the organization as either donors and volunteers. Anthony Liliefeldt for example continues to help at our Wynford Seniors’ Hot Lunch program and has laid out the paper version of the JSS newsletter even though he resigned from the board.
If you or someone you know would be interested in keeping this organization able to serve this community and hopefully grow, then please contact me and I will get in touch to see if and how you can help us.
Our board of directors unlike many social service organizations is an active one and participates in the running of as well as taking leadership of JSS. We perform fundraising, grant writing, policy making as well as hiring and overseeing staff and office operations. It requires more than sitting at monthly meetings. But if you could hear some of the cases our counsellor reports — I cannot say anything here and we ourselves on the board hear general details and nothing that would reveal an identity for obvious confidentiality reasons — you would realize what kind of work we do for some of the more vulnerable members of our community. So again, if you can help and are the type of person who can commit themselves to a good cause then please contact me and we can meet to discuss your possible role. We need you to help us keep running.
And speaking of running, our largest fundraiser, the Toronto Challenge started on June 9. If you can, please support us by making a pledge to our board members, staff and volunteers who walked or ran the one to five kilometre races on that Sunday.
So now that summer has finally arrived, enjoy the Canadian warm seasons and if you can, please think of us and maybe spare a little in the form of a donation or come see us at our table at the Natsumatsuri at the JCCC on July 13 and taste our sumptuous takoyaki (octopus balls) and yaki-onigiri (grilled rice balls).
David Ikeda, JSS President