Reflecting on the past year, the Board could not be prouder of the organization's
excellent performance. CHIRS remains steadfast in its mission of improving the
lives of those living with Acquired Brain Injuries, which continues to put the clients
first and guides the direction of the organization. Advancements continue towards
achieving the organization's strategic objectives:
- to be a centre of excellence,
- to develop strong partnerships with other organizations to better
serve clients and increase service capacity, and
- to strengthen financial capacity.
In 2021, the management team, staff and the Board of Directors participated in an
audit of the CHIRS organization by Accreditation Canada. Accreditation Canada's
role is to review in detail all aspects of the operation against the Canadian Quality
and Patient Safety Standards. The Board and staff are delighted that CHIRS
continues to maintain Accreditation Canada's Exemplary Status rating. The
ultimate compliment given by the senior surveyor was that she would not hesitate
to place her family member in the care of CHIRS. Maintaining an Exemplary rating
is a testimony to the resilience of all levels of staff and their ability to perform to a
high standard in the shifting and challenging work environment created by the
pandemic; it has been simply remarkable.
There continues to be strong leadership from the CHIRS Management team. A
notable milestone is Executive Director Hedy Chandler's celebration of her 35th
service anniversary with the organization - an extraordinary accomplishment. She
has shepherded the organization from a small transitional group home into a
multi-service agency that provides a broad range of supports to a clientele with
diverse and complex needs. Another notable milestone was the retirement of
Danny Caplan, former Director of Operations, after 33 years of service to CHIRS.
Danny's contributions to CHIRS over the years have been fundamental to the
growth and success of the organization.
Dr. Carolyn Lemsky and her clinical team remain a much sought-after resource.
Expanding the reach of the clinical expertise to partner organizations is done on a
fee-for-service basis. Over the past year both oversight and training to sister
agencies has expanded. This includes work with another agency to provide housing
to new clients. CHIRS is fortunate to have been able to hire an additional
Neuropsychologist for the clinical team. CHIRS is the only community agency in
Canada to have three Neuropsychologists on staff. This is quite noteworthy and means that the team is now reaching many more individuals. It has the capacity to
provide services to people CHIRS otherwise would not have been able to help
while simultaneously strengthening the CHIRS financial base.
In support of Adult Day Service (ADS) clients CHIRS created and has been delivering
a range of programs on a virtual platform during the pandemic. ADS programs are
now attended by people outside the typical CHIRS community - within Ontario and
beyond. Reaching clients virtually, in their homes, brought to light a number of
individuals who were experiencing food insecurity and lack of basic necessities.
Through donations and volunteers a Food Hamper Program was established which
distributes groceries free of charge to clients in need.
Over the past year and in furtherance of the objective to create meaningful
partnerships, CHIRS worked diligently to secure grants from the Second Harvest
Emergency Food Security Fund. These grants were used to purchase a new pantry
fridge and two big freezers, which will contribute greatly towards being able to
continue the several food programs, including the new Food Hamper Program. The
big freezers will mean that CHIRS can accept even more donations from the many
The rooftop garden, largely funded by the Trillium Foundation, at head office has
been completed. It will provide a calm oasis for clients, families and staff as well as
give residents a space to cultivate their gardening skills and grow vegetables for
meal preparation. CHIRS also received funding from Ontario Health - this to help
upgrade the physical space, as well as purchase new laptops and related software
for staff and clients so that programs can continue to be accessed remotely.
On behalf of the Board, we would be remiss if outgoing Board Chair, Samantha
Chapman is not appropriately acknowledged for her long and dedicated service to
the CHIRS Board. Her thoughtful approach and patience will be missed.
To end on a personal note, I feel fortunate to be taking on the role of Board Chair.
Our family can attest that CHIRS is successful in improving the quality of life for
persons living with the effects of Acquired Brain Injury. We are appreciative of the
many years of wonderful care our brother has received and the peace of mind that
comes with seeing him content.